Mission: Impossible — Fallout

I had a relative that loved eating at Hometown Buffet. I could never figure that out, but our family would end up going there on occasion to appease him. Once there, I’d pile my plate with mashed potatoes, meatloaf, and some turkey. I’d be pleasantly surprised that the comfort food wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

The Mission: Impossible movies, now on their 6th installment, are much the same to me. I’m never thrilled about going, but my wife and I sat down, we’re in an airconditioned theatre…and after an exhilarating opening scene my wife said, “These are a lot like the James Bond movies. They’re kind of fun.”

And she’s right. The two and a half hours just flew by.

Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, who did the last movie, does a decent job with this. Now, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a little weak on plot. It also doesn’t mean you’re not questioning the decisions people make. Ramming a helicopter with your helicopter, doesn’t seem like smart planning. Hitting a car on your motorcycle, while going about 75 mph, with no helmet…and being able to get up, with a slight limp, and run off. Parachuting into a lightning storm, and having a character get hit by lightning and live…seemed odd. Especially when they were just showing up to a rave to get the bad guy. Couldn’t they just roll up in a black Lincoln town car? It’s not like they were parachuting to land on the top of a castle they were going to have to infiltrate. But hey….the insanely exciting motorcycle and car chases, and fun fight scenes, kind of made up for the stupidity. At one point when a car was racing under a bridge, I thought of a scene in The French Connection where Gene Hackman was driving under the elevated train in New York and looking up at the bad guys on a train. This is like those scene on steroids.

The story involves a terrorist group called The Apostles. They want to wreak havoc on the world, and it would help if they get the three plutonium orbs that Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) let slip through his hand. I think it’s the second time that’s happened, although in this movie it makes more sense. It was either saving Luther (Ving Rhames), or grabbing the suitcase of plutonium.

Hunt has to deal with an arms dealer called the White Widow (no relation to Black Widow). She’s played by Vanessa Kirby of The Crown. She’ll trade the plutonium for the bad guy Hunt helped put away. Her character is interesting, and just like the Angela Bassett character, I’m wishing they had a little more to do.

Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), the love interest from previous film, shows up and kicks butt. Ethan’s boss Hunley (Alec Baldwin) does his angry rants well.

Sean Harris as Solomon, has the perfect look and voice for a bad guy you hate.

Now, these movies always have so many twists and various characters, I never try hard to follow along. I figure at any second, Alec Baldwin could pull off a rubber mask and really be Billy Baldwin, or Bassett might really have been a killer with a mask. I kind of feel in these previous movies, those moves have been a cheat. When they do them in this one, it worked better. Although my wife was disappointed that we knew who the bad guy was early on, I don’t think they were trying to keep that from us. It was fairly obvious from the get-go.

Of course we’re going to see Hunt globetrotting to Paris, Berlin, London, and even one of Robert Plant’s old haunts — Kashmir. He’s going to dangle from buildings, cliffs, and that part on the helicopter (you know the part I mean). You’ll have the fun of watching him jump from building top to building top, and get to say “Hey…that’s the scene where Cruise broke his ankle.”

[side note: Cruise is 56-years-old; perhaps it’s time to bring in stuntmen].

The movie has a few nice doses of humor, and so many fun action sequences, I can forgive the few weak moments it has (do we really need to hear a monologue from Luther on how special a person Ethan is?).

There’s an incredible bathroom fight scene (bravo to Liang Yang), which was the best fight in a restroom since Eastern Promises (although that was more of a sauna than bathroom).

3 stars out of 5.