With Tom Cruise now the ripe old age of 56 and Mission: Impossible – Fallout representing the sixth instalment in the face-swapping spy franchise, fans would be forgiven for thinking things might be slowing down a little.
But after sitting through 2+ hours of exhilarating action, it’s a joy to report that not only is Mission Impossible Fallout the summer’s best blockbuster but quite possibly the best Mission Impossible movie yet.
Much of that is down to the winning combination of Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie.
This is the pair’s fifth collaboration together, with that run including two criminally underrated Jack Reacher movies and the similarly enjoyable Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
It’s the best too, with McQuarrie getting the very best out of Cruise while delivering a film and script that doubles down on everything that makes the Mission: Impossible films such fun in the first place.
The action set pieces are bigger, faster and more exciting than any previously seen in the franchise, while the plot delivers the right balance of laughs, espionage, and exposition that helps proceedings zip along at an enjoyable pace. There’s plenty of face-swapping a double crosses too.
Each set piece feels more exhilarating than the last, full of ingenious action and some surprising twists while building to a breath-taking helicopter-led finale and puts the icing on a delicious piece of action cinema.
Cruise, meanwhile, delivers another winning performance, proving age is just a number. An engaging, magnetic presence, this is proof he’s still more than capable of helming an action movie of this size and scope.
The rest of the cast deserve plenty of credit too with Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg lending proceedings an ensemble feel and adding some humour and emotional depth to the unfolding events.
Henry Cavill is the biggest revelation here though in what might be his best performance to date as CIA bruiser August Walker – that bathroom fight scene alone is worth the admission – while Sean Harris’ Solomon Lane also returns in a familiarly creepy villain role.
It’s Cavill’s mix of physicality and characterisation that makes him such a watchable presence alongside Cruise and suggests his meant for more than just Superman. He’s a fine actor and this proves it.
The plot, which sees Ethan and his IMF team trying to track down three nuclear weapons stolen after a mission gone wrong, is well developed too, weaving thought-provoking and relevant themes in alongside a plot that takes the gang all over the globe.
It’s the film’s breath-taking action set-pieces and Cruise’s central role in them that steals the show here though and stand as a testament to the actor’s insistence on keeping things real with his own stunts. CGI has got nothing on the real thing and this is the proof.
The locations and stunts are expertly shot while the action remains fun and engaging throughout, along with the characters who add to the taut tension at the heart of proceedings.
McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible movies may adhere to a formula but it’s a winning one that feels like a throwback to a time when blockbusters were genuinely great.
This might be the sixth Mission: Impossible movie with Cruise well into his 50s but, after this explosive bit of popcorn chicanery, we want to see more. Roll on Mission: Impossible 7.