By Dominic Messier, Founder, Editor and Film Writer
After five action packed Mission Impossible films going back two decades, you’d think that the Impossible Missions Force would have run out of global crises, death-defying rescues and triple crosses in order to flush out their enemies…
Well, you were wrong. But in a very good way.
Coming back for what is arguably the most intense, stunt-filled action film to be released in years, Tom Cruise delivers time and time again as Ethan Hunt, the fearless leader of an easily disavow-able IMF group tasked with saving the world. Again.
An immediate sequel to 2015’s Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, this next outing also written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie gathers Hunt (Cruise), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) as they seek to track down three missing plutonium cores stolen by villain Solomon Lane’s (Sean Harris) nefarious terror group dubbed the Anti-IMF in the previous film.
In a globe-trotting race to stop the enemy in their tracks before they launch three simultaneous nukes in strategic world capitals, the IMF are joined by CIA enforcer August Walker (Henry Cavill), under orders from CIA director Sloane (Angela Bassett) and under protest by IMF Secretary Hunley (Alec Baldwin.) Not far behind is MI6 spy Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson.)
From Paris to London to the far reaches of Eastern Asia, Hunt and Lane face off in a battle of wits, techno-gadgets and bullets, before the nukes blow and kill millions.
In other words, just another week for secret spies.
There’s an immediate assumption in this line of high-octane action films that CGI will play a large part in the visual wizardry of watching world-class spies perform daily feats of professional driving, flying, shooting and hand-to-hand combat.
What makes this and several of the previous M:I films work so well is mainly due to Tom Cruise’s insistence in being honest with his audience, and this means performing physical stunts on camera when possible, since viewers would know if trickery was afoot.
As if hanging off the side of a large carrier jet in the last film, Cruise not only halo jumps at dusk, but also drives and rides motorcycles through narrow Paris streets, swings from historic French venues and also pilots (yes, for real) a helicopter in a climactic sequence.
Rather than ask for a seasoned stuntman to jump in using clever camera angles, the former Top Gun star spent upwards of a year training, rehearsing and earning certifications in both high altitude skydiving and helicopter piloting, so to gain the expertise needed for him to perform on camera as Hunt, the seasoned Renaissance Man of action.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, mind you. After all, he’s already a licensed airplane pilot, much like Harrison Ford is in his spare time.
Cruise’s willingness to go the extra few miles for each action scene captured on film, only adds to what is already a pulse-pounding actioner with the same sense of alarm and immediacy seen in the majority of the M:I films. And we’re all the luckier for it. The lead actor even broke his ankle during a stunt, which you might catch if you pay attention.