I’ve been complaining to myself all summer that “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is a pathetic retread-one of the worst movies of the year-and yet, because of how popular the “Jurassic Park” saga is, people are still seeing it.
But just now, I was given a special screening of “Mission: Impossible-Fallout,” the 6th film of the series, and it has more brains, more balls, and more brawn than “Fallen Kingdom.” This franchise doesn’t rely on M&Ms or Pepsi to attract us the way a light attracts a moth. It relies on Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, the writers (this one aimed by Christopher McQuarrie), and the ambitions that makes the franchise fun.
The movie involves a terrorist group known as “The Apostles,” responsible for their various nuclear attacks on other countries, and under Solomon Lane’s (Sean Harris) leadership. They are hired by a man with the alias “John Lark” to steal some Plutonium in order to develop a doomsday device.
Ethan Hunt, the tech guy Benji (Simon Pegg, still tickling us), and the computer hacker Luther (Ving Rhames, still got it) are forced to work with August Walker (Henry Cavill) from the CIA, in order to track down this John Lark. Hunt has to pose as Lark in order to get the Plutonium from the villains, but he also has to stage an escape plot for the convicted Solomon Lane.
There are two major details that send the mission on dangerous and shocking paths. Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), the MI6 agent from the last sequel, has to kill Solomon, and Walker is really an assassin, bent on helping him pull off the doomsday plot (“No Hard Feelings”). Ergo, the terrorist plot thickens, as does Hunt’s dangerous tasks.
“Mission: Impossible-Fallout” is so challenging in its plot that we’re utterly amazed at how the hero is able to either thrive through the situations that pop up or play the villains at their own games. Almost every surprise left the audience laughing and cheering at the screening. I was in that audience.
No actor can play the movie Ethan Hunt better than Cruise can. Only he can provide the emotions, humor, and study the character deserves. And I really enjoyed Cavill as the assassin in the ways he has a bickering intro with the hero, how he knocks people out (particularly the bathroom fight scene), and how he threatens Ethan. The two actors have chemistry, enemies or not.
The film, as usual, has a lot of action scenes-chases on foot, car, or helicopter; hazardous attempts for Hunt to complete his mission; stunts that energize fans; and none of these things consume the movie. In fact, it’s given enough time for us to also see the terrorist plot toying with Hunt’s emotions, mostly pertaining to his wife Julia (Michelle Monaghan), whom he was forced to be separated from for her protection.
This sequel is a lot of fun, probably the best blockbuster out this summer.
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