Tom Cruise is back and THIS time breaking his ankle doing a ridiculously crazy rooftop-to-rooftop jump that’s IN the movie. Yeah, they kept the take ’cause it looked good and Tom kept going with the scene. Now there’s a man who’s serious about his craft… or he’s just plain nuts! You decide.
Picking up from the events of 2015’s M:I–Rogue Nation, things haven’t exactly gone as planned. Sure, Ethan and his team captured the dangerous Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), leader of the Syndicate, but this dangerous guy has something MORE in mind! It’s been two years after his capture, but Ethan (Cruise) is still picking up the remnants of Solomon’s past. Looks like his disciples (aptly called “The Apostles”) have acquired three plutonium spheres that can make nuclear bombs. Not a good thing. But after Ethan botches the buying of the spheres, he’s faced with the fallout of his actions.
To make good on the re-acquiring of those spheres, CIA director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) demands that her manly-beefcake and personal hammer, August Walker (Henry Cavill–sporting his infamous mustache) join Hunt’s team, along with Hunt’s stalwarts: computer-genius Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and comic-relief IMF field agent Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg). Tagging along outside their group is disgraced British MI-6 agent, Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who has a secret agenda of her own.
The mission? Find an arms broker named The White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) at a gala party in Paris and secure those darn spheres… again. But she wants Solomon in ex-change and, quicker than you can say, “Hey, that wasn’t supposed to happen!”, plans go south and Solomon is back in the wind! One thing you say about bad guys, they are pretty consistent, and Solomon means to stay true to his word about decimating part of the world (as he wanted in Rogue Nation), and that means Ethan and company need to stop him… again from detonating another ticking time-bomb.
Written & directed by Cruise’s golden child, Christopher McQuarrie, expect nothing less than action-action-action from the get-go, and at a butt-numbing 2 1/2hrs, you certainly get that in spades. The plot, with all it’s typical bad guys vs good guys storyline, does have its fair share of nice twists ‘n’ turns and reunites the ‘dream team’ of Hunt, Stickell, and Benji. While there’s an overall decent arc to the story, I gotta ask you McQuarrie, what were you thinking? A bomb that counts down to one as your ending? Seriously? That’s about as lame, boring, and overly-clichéd as they come!
Okay, I guess I can forgive that what with all the amazing, nail-biting, over-the-top, and death-defying stunts the rest of the picture offers. This movie should be called, “Mission Impossible: Stunts Galore! Jaw-dropping car, motorcycle, and helicopter chases, rooftop sprints & jumps (where Cruise broke his ankle), and insane fights that make you cringe.
McQuarrie is on his game with these, hiding the obvious plot holes & deus ex machinas that pop-up everywhere. And let’s not forget the new kid on the block, Henry Cavill, who was contractually obligated NOT to shave of his mustache and drove the producers of Justice League crazy! His August Walker adds great chemistry with Cruise’s Hunt and gives the story added depth and pun
Talk about your enduring franchises! Beginning in 1996, this Tom Cruise driven series delivers (for the most part) with intense thrills, crazy & unbelievably dangerous stunts, and always Cruise running (or sprinting) somewhere in the movie. And to think it all started with a TV series in the 60’s! So, let’s take a look back at the franchise and the films.
Mission: Impossible (1996)
This is one helluva entry film. Directed with a winning hand by Brian DePalma and a cracker-jack script by David Koepp & Robert Towne, this hearty ensemble film intro-duced Tom Cruise as the stalwart super-spy, Ethan Hunt, leader of the underground I.M. force. With computer whiz Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), who would remain as his loyal friend throughout the series, Ethan must painstakingly piece together a puzzle of sabo-tage, backstabbing, and his team being killed off by an unknown mole inside the CIA. His stealing of the “NOC” list is the highlight (and most copied/parodied) of the movie. The ending where a helicopter flies into the English Chunnel is both ridiculous and insanely nail-biting. Of course, there HAD to be a sequel!
Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
In a case of ‘sequelitis’, this movie wasn’t exactly on par with the first. Whirlwind director John Woo (who LOVES his slo-mo, flying doves, and bullets) opted for a more esoteric version of Robert Towne’s boring script. The plot was a simple snatch ‘n’ grab story, coupled with a love interest for Ethan. Thadie Newton plays professional thief Nyah Nordoff-Hall who gets involved with Ethan and his crew in stealing a pandemic virus called Chimera from Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott), an arms dealer who wants to sell it to the highest bidder. Ho-hum. There’s way TOO many fight scenes that just go on forever, motorcycle stunts up the kazoo, and a dumb ending. Other than the really cool opening, (Cruise hanging from a rock wall) this wasn’t the best sequel.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
A six year break improved the series with a damn fine script directed by Mr. Lens Flare himself, J.J. Abrams. Ethan got married during the break (never a good sign in these movies) and, after trying to save a fellow colleague, finds out about vicious arm dealer Owen Davian (the brilliant Phillip Seymour Hoffman) who wants to get the “Rabbit’s Foot” and sell it to terrorists, but it’s all a clever trap to grab Ethan and torture him for information. The action is fun, fast, and intriguing with a new cast (introducing Simon Pegg as Benji, the IMF techy), and solidifying M:I again after part two’s disastrous outing. This movie was lean, had more gadgetry, focused on the story, and had an impressive very long, single-take of Cruise sprinting down a waterfront pier.
Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol (2011)
Talk about opening with a BANG! The IMF team gets framed for blowing up the Kremlin in the opening. Yikes!! But the REAL culprits behind the explosion are on the loose and it’s up to Ethan and his team to find the bad guys. They initiate “Ghost Protocol”, get disavowed, and go underground and discover Kurt Hendricks (Michael NyQuist), some nutcase in the Russian nuclear dept who wants to start a war! Hopefully, William Brandt (Jeremy Renner, taking a break as Hawkeye) steps in to help Ethan to re-frame Hendricks in, of all places, the Burj Khalifa hotel (the tallest building in the world) where Cruise does an amazing outside Spider-man window jump. Brad Bird directed this classic tale of Cold War villainy and espionage with Cruise sprinting down a Dubai marketplace during a sandstorm.
Mission: Impossible–Rogue Nation (2015)
Cruise reunited with his Jack Reacher writer/director, Christopher McQuarrie for this exciting, stunt-crazy, travelog that is actually part one to 2018’s Mission: Impossible–Fallout. Looks like there’s a major shake-up in Washington and Ethan’s team may be disbanded, but not before Ethan tracks down Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), leader of the Syndicate, a world-wide criminal consortium that the CIA thinks doesn’t exist. Fortun-ately, Ethan gets help from Benji and Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), an ex-MI6 agent who may be a double-agent. There’s amazing chases, stunts, new electronic devices, and a nice twist at the end. Ethan has stopped a certified genius and madman, but this guy has a few tricks up his sleeve that no sees coming…