WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) -The Sixth installment of the Tom Cruise action franchise opened with Busy Buzz and Brisk Box Office. Cruise has clearly double-downed on the concept of “aging actors cannot play leading and physically demanding roles in action flicks.” I’m not a Cruise fan, be he deserves praise for his fitness and physicality here. Clearly, at 56, he isn’t ready to play a wise, aging uncle sitting in a rocking chair. Forever youthful, Cruise defies age and logic. He runs as if he was being chased by the entire ageist, fickle, movie going audience.
Mission Impossible: Fallout is a genre film, and it often follows the action flick formula, but it does it better than most of the genre. It never takes itself too seriously but is always engaging even as it rides a thin line between camp and square jawed earnestness. The plot is convoluted, involving stolen plutonium and homemade nuclear weapons in the hands of a notorious terrorist group with twists and turns and double crossers; but it is all clear. It’s a fun ride, and like the old adage wisely states; it isn’t the destination, but the journey that is important. There is never any question as to who will prevail in the end.
Cruise surrounds himself with a game supporting cast. Henry Cavill, with his random hair lock, superman chin and macho mustache is no slouch in the physicality department either. Because Cruise is so blessed with movie star charisma, it’s rarely noticeable that Cavill is twenty years younger and actually six inches taller. Apparently Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt has sidekicks, Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) – I wouldn’t know as this is the first Mission Impossible movie I have ever seen. As well Rebecca Ferguson is back as Ilsa, a one-time love interest, sometimes ally, sometimes foe. Angela Bassett and Alec Baldwin aptly and slyly play authority figures. It’s amazing how much work Baldwin gets. He is clearly having fun.
The film is directed by Oscar winner Christopher McQuarrie whose helming is jaunty, but not pretentious. Occasionally the cinematography feels generic, especially given the films exotic European locations, which are cleverly used in the eye-popping action sequences. I love the famous Mission Impossible theme song, judiciously and subtly used in certain sequences. Imagine composer Lalo Schifrin, 86 years old, seeing his name up on the big screen (in the opening credits) and hopefully getting royalty checks. What an exciting way to see your work re-imagined and perhaps it also means he doesn’t have to dip into his 401K as often.
I’m not partial to action films. I dislike sequels and I hate franchise films, but this film, despite all of this is definitely worth the ticket.