The new “Mission Impossible” film may be a box-office hit. But Tom Cruise doesn’t charm everybody in the world.
This week’s film is Mission: Impossible Fallout, starring Tom Cruise, Ving Rhimes and Simon Peggs as the unstable IMF team of super spies. Once again, our beloved intellectual and create art patrons roll into the Kimball Art Festival weekend shaking our heads dismissively at the masses that flock like sheep by the millions to see a mega-franchise CGI effects heavy mish mash of violence. What greater horror than an anti-public art funding administration than patrons who gullibly pay $15 to support the sixth installment of Tom Cruise’s commercial blockbuster over a local non-profit art endeavor or social equity initiative. How can it be? Well don’t overthink it-Mission Impossible movies are incredibly fun. Welcome to the art of the SpyCon. These spy movies have replaced the classic Redford film The Sting in movie evolution instead of having morality and intellectually superior criminals conning corrupt law enforcement are really bad criminals, we have super spies who save the world again and again by foiling the most sophisticated terror atrocities using elaborate cons. And watching a con unfold is fun. To this end, Mission: Impossible-Fallout doesn’t disappoint. The face replicator machine is back assisting Ethan Hunt and his team join forces with a brutal CIA assassin played by Henry Cavill to take on new apostles of the now defunct master terror cell the Syndicate. The Syndicate is in disarray since Hunt captured its leader—a particularly creepy end of world apocalyptic kind of guy named Solomon, played impeccably by Sean Harris. With Solomin in jail, the Apostles are lead by a new mystery agent who seeks to use stolen plutonium to trigger global mass suffering which they believe will ignite a revolution against all world order and corrupt governments. Ethan Hunt of course, will have none of it. Hunt’s mission, which of course he accepts, is complicated by the fact that every woman he touches, from his past or new, must fall and remain head over heels in love with him. Cruises portrayal of Hunt also casts aside proven trends for the newer, more honest heroes which reflect vulnerability and internal moral conflict. No, this super spy is morally superior to all, unable to harm anyone ever and even other macho super spies will fall at his feet in bromance—a shift from even MI prior films that only a self-absorbed whit guy over 50 could think no one else notices. This spy is not conflicted, but our savior. This is Cruise’s Bravehart, his Henry V, not a more compelling and arguably needed Spartacus. Devoid of broader social or political relevance, the only statement this film makes in the end is no one is allowed to fall out of love with Tom Cruise. So, on my ski trail rating system, Mission: Impossible-Fallout earns my intermediate BLUE ski-trail rating. Where the best installments of never-ending franchise films succeed by incorporating contemporary issues and highlighting the human frailty in the face of heroic self-sacrifice, here the only greater contemporary issue is every woman despite the strength to kick butt on her own must apologize for doubting him and/or swoon before his new found moral clarity. This elevated narcissism distracts from the stellar special effects and action sequences which cloak each head turning Spy Con and from what otherwise (and according to my son) would make this the best Mission Impossible yet.
Mission: Impossible-Fallout is rated PG-13 for violence, intense action, language and repeated moral superiority con on the audience.
The Friday Film Review is sponsored by the Park City Film Series.