MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE FALLOUT
The sixth instalment in the popular action franchise, Mission: Impossible - Fallout sees Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) attempt to track down stolen plutonium cores before a mysterious extremist uses them to prompt a major terror event.
Akin to some of the previous movies in this series, the prologue presents a new challenge to Hunt and his team and they lose, though they make up for that a bit before the opening titles kick in. The main character arc for Cruise's seemingly infallible character being the debate whether his attachment to individuals and the fact he cares about people makes him an asset or, in fact, quite the opposite: weakens him. It's an interesting look at a sometimes under-developed character and it gives the film a welcome amount of depth.
Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames are back as Hunt's sidekicks, as is Rebecca Ferguson's MI6 agent Ilsa Faust, with Henry Cavill's August Walker joining the team somewhat reluctantly in order to keep an eye on Hunt. Though the team is mostly dealing with the psychotic foe from the last movie (Sean Harris' Solomon Lane), they are also chasing a ghost, an elusive new puppetmaster who turns out to be behind that whole plutonium business and Lane's escape. The film clearly takes a page out of the last few Bond films by upping the ante while still having some semblance of continuity.
One could argue that this latest Mission: Impossible film didn't need to be as layered as it is, and some might find it to be needlessly convoluted. However, director/writer Christopher McQuarrie keeps the plot going at a brisk pace and delivers enough impressive, nail-biting action sequences to make it so that, even if you could easily cut bits and pieces out of this movie, you wouldn't necessarily want to take anything out of it. The action scenes are particularly good in this one: the motorcycle and helicopter chases are very intense and very cool.
This is a much more memorable and epic outing than Rogue Nation, which was competent and had its moments but failed to really stand out like the previous film did (or this one, incidentally). Cruise is his usual reliable self and Ethan Hunt's emotional struggle throughout gives the actor a bit more to work with while the supporting cast does a generally good job even if Benji (Pegg) is still nothing more than a one-dimensional bad joke making machine and has frankly overstayed his welcome at this point.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout breathes some new life into a franchise that was very close to, once again, falling into a bit of a rut. The set pieces are exciting, the cast is terrific, there are some clever surprises along the way and the third act is masterful.
One of the best in the franchise.