Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby
Running Time: 147 Minutes
From the moment the fuse lights for the opening credits, there isn't a single second for you to catch your breath in Mission: Impossible – Fallout. This is the best, most relentless, most well-executed action movie since Mad Max: Fury Road.
Tom Cruise jumps out of a plane, hangs from a rope attached to a helicopter and leaps across London rooftops, all at age 56. And this is just a fraction of the jaw-dropping action scenes sprinkled throughout this two-and-a-half-hour thrill ride.
Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt, alongside Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames). They've lost a case of stolen plutonium, which is now in the hands of the Apostles, the remnants of the Syndicate from Rogue Nation. So the CIA adds Walker (Henry Cavill) to keep tabs on Hunt and make sure he doesn't lose any more assets.
But as Walker asks in one pivotal scene, "How many times has Hunt's government betrayed him? How long until someone like that has had enough?" It's a fair question, as moles and traitors have threatened his life and killed his team members in past movies. But that's nothing compared to the double and triple crosses in store in Fallout.
Much of the film takes place in Paris, and that chunk of the film is among the best 30- to 40-minute stretches of any film ever, including a one-shot HALO jump, the bathroom fight that features Cavill pumping his fists like he's reloading a gun, a nightclub brawl, a car chase/heist that's extremely reminiscent of The Dark Knight, and a subsequent motorcycle chase that tops Rogue Nation and M:i-2. I literally gasped on more than one occasion.
And this isn't even to women the terrific women of the cast, none of whom are leered at or used as pawns. Three in Ethan's orbit (Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby and Angela Bassett) do a great job of keeping their intentions murky, so we're never sure who's side they're on exactly. There's also a major reunion in the third act that Cruise plays with the right mix of happiness giving way to horror.
There's a lot of personal stakes in this film, which make it matter a lot more than the typical end-of-the-world stuff (which is also present). The inevitable bomb diffusion feels a little weightier because of the people Ethan feels like he's letting down, which could play as callous in the wrong hands. But Christopher McQuarrie had already delivered some solid action movies. Now, he's made a certifiable masterpiece.