While I wouldn’t say I was a big fan of the Mission: Impossible films, I do like them all. However, I feel it took a while for the series to find its feet. The first film I found pretty hard to follow, and the second film was too silly to take seriously.
While the third film acts as a semi-reboot, not ignoring the first two, just setting a new tone for the series that was carried over with even better results with Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation. All leading up to this instalment, which is by far the best of the whole series.
The plot involves a mission gone wrong to retrieve three plutonium cores, which are now in the hands of the Apostles. Ethan Hunt and his team must retrieve them before they are used in nuclear bombs that can’t be defused.
Tom Cruise is fantastic in his role as Ethan Hunt, I loved seeing him with more emotional depth, especially seeing his loyalty to people he cares about. He is also easy to follow with his funny line deliveries and likeable personality.
Cruise is of course best known as a great action star who does his own stunts and even at 56 years old he’s still able to step it up a notch. The action is breathtaking: a bathroom fight sequence; a car and motorcycle chase through Paris; a foot chase through London and a helicopter duel through the Kashmir mountains.
Knowing that Cruise does his own stunts really makes the action even better, especially the freedom it allows the cinematographers to be creative with the action without having to cut away from his face or shoot from several different angles or especially use green-screen and CGI.
Henry ‘I want that beard’ Cavill is a great addition to the cast. Like Cruise, he is very good at doing the stunts. I love their chemistry; they have a great dynamic with each other like frenemies.
Ving Rhames is the only actor besides Cruise to appear in all six films, and he continues to honour that tradition. Also returning is Simon Pegg as Benji, introduced in the third in a role like Q, but he makes it is own. Alec Baldwin also makes a welcome return.
I liked the treatment of the female characters, as up until this instalment they have been treated like Bond-girls – they appear in one film each. Sure, Michelle Monaghan, who played Ethan’s wife Julia in the third film, reprised her role in Ghost Protocol, but it was a very quick cameo. Here, however, she makes a proper return and adds more emotional depth to Ethan’s character.
Rebecca Fergusson as assassin Ilsa, who stole the show in Rogue Nation, makes a very welcome return as the leading lady and is still just as awesome while also giving more humanity without sacrificing her mysterious personality. In addition, we have Vanessa Kirby in an icy femme-fatal role, and she reminds me of a young Kim Novak in Vertigo. We also have Angela Bassett as head of the CIA.
Christopher McQuarrie is the first director of the series to return, after directing Rogue Nation, and he’s able to step up, not just with better action but also writing; his script is full of clever call-backs to the previous films.
There are also subtle foreshadows to plot twists, and with a large ensemble of characters the narrative is able to juggle them all, so everyone can stand out.
Now the big question: how are they going to top this?
By Jack Parish