Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Tom Cruise is running again. It’s that peculiar run that could only come from him, arms swinging back and forth on a perfect axis, legs pumping up and down like some infernal machine. He’s running up a staircase, over rooftops, down an alleyway, going and going and going. It’s not quite robotic. A robot, after all, can break down. Where’s he running to, and where from? It doesn’t really matter. Mission: Impossible — Fallout knows what you’re here to see. You’re here to see Tom Cruise run again. And run he does.

Cruise is an interesting figure, in that he seems to be everything people hate about movie stars. He’s as vapid as they come, that million-watt smile concealing nothing and no one. He’s the figurehead of a weird religion-cum-cult that’s indisputably evil. He’s made no public overtures to feminism or any progressive values. He’s insanely, ludicrously rich. And yet I can think of few people (my mother, admittedly, is one) who out-and-out hate the guy. People who are too smart to fall for celebrity charms willingly submit themselves to his. He gets away with murder.

By murder, I mean Fallout, which absolutely kills. Still, I can’t think of another movie star who’d be able to get away with a two-and-a-half hour paean to their own ego. Fallout is a film about Ethan Hunt, and how brilliant and how unwaveringly good he is, and how he’s the only man in the world who can get shit done. Even when, as in Fallout, the world’s troubles are caused by that brilliance and unwavering goodness. The great supporting cast is mainly there to, well, support Cruise. Luther’s (Ving Rhames) big moment is a monologue about how great Hunt is. “Is it your job to make excuses for him?” demands one character of Luther and Benji (Simon Pegg). Well, yeah, kinda. Even the enigmatic Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), highlight of previous entry Rogue Nation, goes from Hunt’s romantic foil to just another team member over the course of the film. To be clear, I don’t have any real problem with this use of the non-Cruise cast. You can call it a waste, but Fallout knows what you’re really here to see.

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