Tom Cruise might have just outdone himself in the sixth and latest movie in the epic Mission: Impossible franchise. To no one’s surprise, Mission: Impossible – Fallout does not disappoint. It’s satisfyingly filled with all the sequences that have made the franchise awesome: Cruise’s signature run, intensely gratifying motorcycle and car chases, and the all-out display of the actor’s athletic ability and overall disregard for his personal safety. It’s hard to believe that Hollywood’s favourite action star is already 56 years old.
In fact, it is Cruise’s age and his still youthful charm, which perfectly encapsulates the success of Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Even as Cruise is still in the peak of his physical prowess, he no longer looks young enough to pass for the eternal twenty-something that most people remember him to be. Instead, he succeeds at looking just past half his age, a perfect fit for the now mature IMF secret operative who’s stopped his fair share of world-destroying plots. Director Christopher McQuarrie actually uses this element in the film brilliantly. He succeeds in creating a narrative that ties in relevant elements from the past Mission: Impossible films to create a continuity that has been previously absent in the acclaimed action franchise.
Having also directed 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, McQuarrie was able to effortlessly bring back that previous film’s villain into this new instalment. Lane, played by Sean Harris, already tried to destroy IMF back in 2015. And now, he’s back to cause more trouble for Hunt. McQuarrie also wrote in a brilliant reference to the first Mission movie. Unbeknownst to Hunt, the beautiful White Widow is actually the daughter of Max, Vanessa Redgrave’s arms dealer antagonist from the first 1996 Mission movie. Meanwhile, MI6 agent Ilsa Faust from the last movie also makes an appearance to continue her and Hunt’s troubled partnership.
Even the silly plot-muddling rubber masks are back in this latest Mission instalment. Long time fans of the series doubtless remember how anyone could be impersonating someone else via the first film’s trademark rubber masks. And after five movies, they’re back in the sixth one, this time functioning more as a meta nostalgic device. As CIA Director Erica Sloan quips, “IMF is Halloween – a bunch of grown men in rubber masks playing trick or treat.” It might be the best way that anyone has ever described Mission: Impossible.
Needless to say, it looks like Tom Cruise’s career is going strong. Even with over 40 movies under his belt, and even as he’s now approaching 60, it doesn’t seem like Cruise is close to anything resembling retirement. It’s hard to believe, considering that he’s already appeared in so many classic films since the 80s. In 1986’s The Color of Money, he’s a young, overconfident pool player at the top of his game. In 1994’s Interview With the Vampire, he was the eternally charming and dangerous Lestat. He then shocked us all with his role in 2008’s Tropic Thunder as the hilariously vitriolic Les Grossman. And in this year’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout, he continues to prove that despite being in his mid-50s, he’s still one of Hollywood’s top action stars.
If that wasn’t enough to satiate your thirst for all things Tom Cruise, check out our throwback review of 1996’s Mission: Impossible, the first film in the now 22-year-old franchise.