Another help­ing of real-life ex­cite­ment

MIS­SION: IM­POS­SI­BLE – FALL­OUT (12A)

Sunday Herald Life - - Film Review - By Demetrios Matheou

TOM Cruise must be a film in­surer’s night­mare and a source of con­stant grief for any­one who loves him. When the star in­sists on jump­ing off he­li­copters, mo­tor­cy­cling at high speed in city streets and hurl­ing him­self over rooftops – for real – hearts un­doubt­edly skip a beat.

That, of course, is the point. For ev­ery in­di­vid­ual with a per­sonal in­ter­est in Cruise sur­viv­ing his in­sane stunts, there will be a mil­lion au­di­ence mem­bers open-mouthed with awe and feel­ing that they’ve had their money’s worth.

Mis­sion Im­pos­si­ble is an ac­tion movie fran­chise built around the fact that, with ob­vi­ous safety pre­cau­tions, what we’re see­ing are real stunts and not green screen fan­tasy. As such, the age­less Cruise and his col­lab­o­ra­tors have their own mis­sion – to be big­ger, bolder and bet­ter ev­ery sin­gle time, or else they’ve failed.

So I’m happy to re­port that the sixth in the in­stal­ment is, in­deed, big­ger and bolder, more elab­o­rate and more ex­cit­ing than any­thing Cruise and his team have given us be­fore. The fact that Cruise did ac­tu­ally break his an­kle in one dare­devil leap is small pota­toes. Some se­quences are so spec­tac­u­lar they beg­gar be­lief.

Fall­out feels like a re­union. There’s the Im­pos­si­ble Mis­sions Force team – Cruise’s Ethan Hunt joined by love­able, bear­like com­puter whizz Luther (Ving Rhames) and geeky sys­tems an­a­lyst turned field agent Benji (Si­mon Pegg). Then there are the women in Hunt’s life: his for­mer wife Ju­lia (Michelle Mon­aghan), last seen in MI:3, be­fore the pair parted com­pany to keep her from harm’s way, and the Bri­tish spy and lover Ilsa Faust (Re­becca Fer­gu­son), who re­turns from the last in­stal­ment, along with the ter­ror­ist Solomon Lane, played by one of Bri­tain’s most de­pend­ably fright­en­ing char­ac­ter ac­tors, Sean Har­ris.

There is al­ways an emo­tional di­men­sion to th­ese films – loss, be­trayal, re­venge. But by bring­ing th­ese old chums, ad­ver­saries and lovers to­gether, star/pro­ducer Cruise and writer/direc­tor Christo­pher McQuarry up the ante con­sid­er­ably. Hunt’s defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic – the fact that his con­cern for sav­ing the in­di­vid­ual is as strong as that for sav­ing the world – now be­comes the core theme. For as far as the vil­lains are con­cerned, this ad­mirable quality is also his Achilles heel.

The threat is nothing new: ter­ror­ists with their hands on some nukes. How you treat the ma­te­rial is what counts. New ad­di­tions to the cast add to the in­trigue and en­ter­tain­ment, no­tably a CIA agent shad­ow­ing Hunt’s team (Henry Cav­ill, on a break from Su­per­man du­ties and clearly hav­ing much more fun) and The White Widow, an arms dealer, who The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby turns into a cheeky, flir­ta­tious, amus­ingly un­likely vil­lain­ess. Imag­i­na­tive use is made of lo­ca­tions in Lon­don and Paris, be­fore both drama and ac­tion go off the charts in Kash­mir.

McQuar­rie is the first direc­tor in the fran­chise to re­turn for a sec­ond stab, af­ter the ex­cel­lent Rogue Na­tion. While he’s a dab hand at the ac­tion, it’s as a writer that he brings some­thing unique to th­ese films – af­ter all, the man penned one of the dark­est and trick­i­est thrillers ever made, The Usual Sus­pects. With the Mis­sions he makes it harder than ever to know who’s to be trusted, who’s play­ing whom, who’s got the upper hand and who re­ally ought to go home to the al­lot­ment.

In fact, the plot for Fall­out might be too twisty for some. But it keeps you on your toes, with a feast of zing­ing one­lin­ers to charm be­tween the thrills. “Hope is not a strat­egy,” ex­claims the CIA guy, on hear­ing Hunt’s lat­est plan, to which a more sea­soned mem­ber of the team quips: “You must be new.”

Tom Cruise doesn’t dis­ap­point in this lat­est out­ing as Ethan Hunt

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