Franchise-fatigue can be a real issue. Hollywood churns out sequel after sequel, which often lead to nothing but diminishing returns. Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the 6th entry in a franchise that has been going since 1996, and so you might wonder how Tom Cruise and his co-stars could create yet another worthwhile follow-up. Well, they haven’t done that. What they have done is make, not only the best instalment in the series, but one of the best action films of the past decade.

Following on from the previous entry, Rogue Nation, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team must prevent the Apostles, a shadowy global terrorist organisation, from using stolen plutonium to set off a nuclear attack that could devastate millions.

One of the most exhilarating elements of this series is the dedication of its lead, Tom Cruise, to carry out increasingly daring stunts. These films don’t rely on clever editing or cheap-looking CGI; if it looks like Tom Cruise is hanging from a plane or climbing up a skyscraper, that’s because he is. Fallout is no different, with consistently well-choreographed action shot terrifically by Christopher McQuarrie. It proves to be exhilarating as our lead runs from one scene to the next, with McQuarrie’s direction never slowing or falling into a slump.

Cruise should be complimented not only for his stunt work, but also his talents as an actor. This may be the first film in the series that reveals Hunt’s vulnerability. August Walker (Henry Cavill), a CIA agent accompanying Hunt’s team, in effect represents Cruise at his prime, and thus creates a foil to our lead. A thrilling action film that also explores the nature of action protagonists like this is unexpected but refreshing.

The rest of the cast put on similarly excellent performances. Simon Pegg is funny as ever as Benji, while Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust returns in top form as a heroine not there to be rescued by Cruise but one who has agency of her own.

If there is one criticism that can be levelled at the film, it’s that the plot isn’t very original. ‘Terrorists steal nukes and our heroes have to stop them’ is nothing new, and Fallout won’t be lauded as having revolutionised the spy genre. Yet this barely matters, because the tropes presented are utilized in a way that is both technically superb and incredibly fun. The ‘rooftop chase scene’ is a standard element in the action genre, for instance, but a combination of stellar direction, editing and acting creates the best version of this typical sequence.

Mission Impossible: Fallout therefore proves what many may have thought impossible: a franchise still going from strength to strength, continuing to thrill in familiar but exciting ways with the definitive blockbuster of the summer.

5 stars

Image Credit: Movie DB

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