(director/writer: Christopher McQuarrie; screenwriter: based on the television series created by Bruce Geller; cinematographer: Rob Hardy; editor: Eddie Hamilton; music: Lorne Balfe; cast: Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Simon Pegg (Benji), Alec Baldwin (Alan Hunley), Sean Harris (Solomon Lane), Angela Bassett. (Erica Sloan), Ving Rhames (Luther), Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa Faust), Henry Cavill (August Walker), Michelle Monaghan (Julia Meade-Hunt), Vanessa Kirby (White Widow), Wes Bentley (Patrick), Frederick Schmidt (Zola), Wolf Blitzer; Runtime: 147; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Tom Cruise, David Ellison, Christopher McQuarrie, Jake Myers, J.J. Abrams; Paramount; 2018-3-D)
“I viewed it under Cruise control and couldn’t resist all its Hollywood gusto and explosions.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Christopher McQuarrie (“Jack Reacher”/”The Way of the Gun”) directs and writes the sixth MI franchise film installment starring Tom Cruise as a covert super-spy MI agent. It’s filled with action, thrills, fist-fights (topped with a rousing martial arts brawl in a Paris restroom), a few betrayals, world travel (with action scenes in Paris, London and Kashmir), mask disguises, an abduction, parachuting onto the roof of the Grand Palais, jumping off an office building, hanging from an airborne helicopter, climbing a steep rock mountain, a motorcycle chase through the Paris streets, dismantling nuclear bombs in the nick of time and a few other adventures I might have left out from memory exhaustion. It’s hokum, of course, but for Cruise lovers and action pic fans, it makes for an entertaining summer blockbuster pic if you can get over how absurd it all is.
It surrounds Cruise with an admirable ensemble cast and a chance for the 56-year-old star to do his own stunts-no matter how difficult they are physically. The production values are high and the direction is slick, feeding right into its star’s wheelhouse and big ego. While the spy story is complex and enigmatic, it’s only logical in a James Bond movie-like way. It follows the franchise framing device of delivering a disposable tape in an old-fashioned tape recorder crammed into a book to see if agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) accepts this impossible mission to save the world. Hunt accepts and recruits his usual team of tech support, the reliable Luther (Ving Rhames) and the cheeky Benji (Simon Pegg), to help retrieve three stolen balls of plutonium, which a sicko terrorist group known as “The Apostles” plans to make into nuclear bombs and have one of its group nuke the world to serve as a painful lesson for the old world order over their hypocrisy over nukes. In charge of the team is the eager-beaver transfer from the CIA, Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin). After a botched meeting for Hunt’s team to purchase the nuclear goods, the plutonium is lost and Hunt ventures to Paris. There he tries to get the missing plutonium through the help of a black marketeer arms broker, the sexy White Widow (Vanessa Kirby), whose clients have it. The not to be trusted Hunt is forced by the CIA honcho (Angela Bassett) to take on the mission the shady CIA agent August Walker (Henry Cavill), who is to keep an eye on him. Things get more fuzzy when a rogue former British MI6 operative, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), shows up on her own secret mission impossible. In the convoluted plot it all boils down to the good-guy team being informed that they must get their hands on imprisoned bad guy Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), who started the venal Apostle destructive mission, and swap him for the plutonium.
Some mush is delivered when Hunt obsessively pines over his ex-wife, Julia (Michelle Monaghan), when he shows up in Kashmir. He left his lost love in order for her to be out of harm’s way while married to him. It’s a film that takes its stunts seriously, and should be pleasing to viewers into this kind of disposable action popcorn flick.
At over two-and-a-half hours, my tolerance for the one too many cliff hanger scenes and its humorless dialogue was beginning to wane. But I viewed it under Cruise control and couldn’t resist all its Hollywood gusto and explosions.
REVIEWED ON 7/27/2018 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/