Mission:Impossible - Fallout: The Cruise is Creaking
I've given this film 3.5 out of 5 because it largely does what it sets out to do. It is a Mission Impossible film with lots of Tom Cruise stunts or maybe it's lots of Tom Cruise stunts wrapped loosely around a narrative with Mission Impossible music in the background. Either way, most film-goers will know what they are getting and this film delivers - mostly.
So the important thing to say here is that this film is a continuation of the last film. It is the titular fall-out from the actions of our heroes in the last outing, 2015's Rogue Nation. If you've not seen Rogue Nation, do not despair as there is sufficient exposition present to catch you up.
In terms of plot, well someone wants to blow up the world or end civilisation as we know it while exacting revenge on Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) for some warped reason or other. Our team swing into action and save the day. Were you expecting more?
Well there is no more, other than the stunts - and there are a lot of them mostly centering around The Cruise. There is no doubt any more that he does a lot of his own stunts. We are fed a steady stream of prerelease stories of him getting injured, learning to fly a helicopter, etc, etc. The stunts are all good. You can't see the join. However The Cruise himself is starting to creak. His 56 years are starting to show. Yes, smart editing hides a lot but he is starting to slow. That is to be expected. Will he still be doing these stunts for the next film when he is 60? He just looks tired.
Other than that, the smile is still there and he has a fantastic screen presence. The same cannot be said for Henry Cavill with whom he ends up working. Now we know which film Cavill was filming with the moustache which required some CGI for the re-shoots on The Justice League. Cavill is fine as Superman, a roll that requires posing and grunting. He is stretched in this film and his abilities and screen presence are tested - with not always good results. It's hard to see Cavill ever leading a film on his own. Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames are as affable as ever. Angela Bassett is back as the Secretary of State for Exposition - she is wasted. Alec Baldwin too is wasted and seizes his opportunity to exit stage left.
The film fails the Bechdel Test leaving Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby and Michelle Monaghan little to do but look dewy eyed as they discuss The Cruise.
Despite the fact that the climactic 15-minute timer on the detonator actually lasts around 25 minutes (time it, I dare you), the film holds together well. Director Christopher McQuarrie delivers and manages to create tension where it has no right to exist. He delivers a Mission Impossible film. I'm sure there will be many more and I will munch my way through a large bucket of popcorn as I sit glued to my seat for each one.