Hiding out in Belfast, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) receives an encoded message from the IMF spy agency. Listening to its contents, it seems that old adversary Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) has inspired a fanatical network of terrorists who are seeking to wreak havoc on a global scale. As the message self destructs, Ethan again has a choice. If he chooses accept this mission, what will happen to those closest to him?
Director Christopher McQuarrie’s ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ chooses to follow on from the events of ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’, in much the same way that the James Bond franchise has recently adopted an overarching storyline – but that’s where the comparisons stop. Whilst Neil Corbauld’s stunts and special effects share a heritage with his brother Chris’s work on Bond, the Mission Impossible series would seem to have now drifted away into predictability.
'...delivers exactly what you expect...'
With all the main themes and characters present from the previous three ‘Mission Impossible’ movies, ‘Fallout’ delivers exactly what you expect: a realistically performed stunt by Tom Cruise, witty banter from Simon Pegg and dead-eye cold stares from Sean Harris. However now having hit upon a formula, Tom Cruise’s ‘Mission Impossible’ movies seems reluctant to step away from its rigid story beats. For just as the Bond franchise is creatively walking in the opposite direction by embracing change – a question now hangs over the spy thriller genre: Do audience’s want to be reassured by the same story as before or do they want something new?
For whilst the ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise of late has become dependably entertaining, both the storytelling and (in particular with this latest sequel) the acting has suffered in the meantime. With a script that barely flirts with word play or glistening character development, many of its flat lines get extra pressing by its latest cast. The only exception arrives in the brief shape of Angela Bassett, who imbues her few moments with much more intrigue and believability than possibly the script ever suggested.
By its predictable climax ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ riches a yawning impasse. Does it continue with the same signature-opening-stunt-and-save-the-world motif? Or does it start hiring a real actors to deliver real gripping emotion as Eon did with Daniel Craig as James Bond? Six movies in – and you can be sure there’ll be a seventh – Tom Cruise will need to decide whether to take some real Ethan Hunt-like risks with this franchise or watch it tumble further into the chasm of obscurity where Jack Ryan awaits.