For those who are counting, it has been 12 years and six instalments in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Each one manages to ramp up the stunts and adds to the ever-expanding world of the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) and the life of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise). Even though five different directors have put their stamp on the valued property from Paramount Studios, the credit for its success remains on the shoulders of its star, Tom Cruise. Regardless of audience opinions of this Hollywood icon, credit must go out to his commitment to this character and his unique take on the world of espionage.
The question remains: Which will run out first, the ability to reinvent this franchise or Tom Cruise’s ability to recover from these life-threatening stunts?
Since the apprehension of Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) and the demise of the Syndicate, a new terrorist threat called The Apostles has taken the world hostage with new levels of chaos. During a botched exercise to infiltrate this network and to stop the purchase of plutonium for the use of nuclear devices, Ethan and his team must find the head of this organisation before they unleash death and destruction on the world.
With Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) working with him and the addition of CIA assassin, August Walker (Henry Cavill), the team head to Paris to retreive the radioactive cargo and discover the identity of the man behind this new band of anarchists. Upon arrival at the rendezvous point with the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby), they are intercepted by Elsa (Rebecca Ferguson) who warns them to avoid this assignment. They ignore the British agent’s warning and the team engages the threat head-on. It is at this point that the IMF team comes to the realisation that they are the target of the operation and that the CIA hopes to put the blame on Ethan and his crew for all of the terrorist events around the world.
Even with the multiple plot twists and turns, more chase scenes than most other action franchises combined and the ever-present disguises, director Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation) and crew have managed to deliver a dynamic and hard-hitting film that will leave audiences wanting more. The story manages to capitalise on the multiple twists from the past 12 years while adding some fantastic stunts for good measure.
Even with the inexplicable exit of Jeremy Renner from the team, the core of this ensemble continues to maintain chemistry that is contagious and entertaining. What differentiates this chapter from previous films is the humanity of Hunt and how they manage to string the story along with more action than any one film should deserve. By including Michelle Monaghan as Ethan’s ex-wife, it provides a much needed beating heart that the Bourne or Bond franchises often lack, giving the spy compassion to protect both his family and his team.
A key to making this tale of espionage intriguing is due to the moral fluidity of the various agencies involved, with the viewer left wondering who wears the black hat in this story until the bitter end.
Is Mission: Impossible Fallout the best of the franchise? This is hands down, one of the best action films in years and should be experienced in cinemas.
Sacrifice: Career before everything else?
A driving element of the script is the sacrifice of Ethan Hunt and his team. The stakes are high in this outing providing a much needed humanity and nobility amongst the high octane, death defying stunts.
Within the realities of life, jobs, and personal relationships, it is worth considering what sacrifices we all are willing to make for the sake of career or country. Audience members may not have to make decisions that impact the lives of millions of people, but everyday does present different decisions that may impact your family, friends and co-workers. How do you determine the line of how much of you are willing to forgo for the sake of moving ahead at work or getting a project online?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” – Romans 12:1
This is a bigger query that can be extrapolated in a film review, but a good place to begin this journey is to consider a biblical perspective on sacrifice. The God of the Bible gives us the example of Jesus to show us how to live a daily existence, regardless of the challenges, temptations and difficulties.
Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger.