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Mission: Impossible – Fallout (of a helicopter)

“How many times has Hunt’s government betrayed him? Disavowed him? Cast him aside?”

Five, actually, and it looks like it’s about to happen again. Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt has gone rogue and been pursued by his former colleagues with such regularity over the years that you wonder when the IMF is going to start cutting him some slack. On each of the five occasions Ethan Hunt has been accused of betrayal or treason, he’s not only proved his innocence but also saved the world from yet another bomb or viral outbreak or whatever. Why not give him the benefit of the doubt this time? Or, alternatively, why not just stop inviting him back? Where there’s smoke there’s probably fire, and besides, it must be a hassle to keep reactivating his parking pass.

Either way, this is a dynamite trailer that promises another tight blast of thrilling spy action. Cruise looks to be on fine form and it’s great to see returning players like Rebecca Ferguson and Sean Harris, both of whom were excellent in Rogue Nation, as well as newcomers like Angela Bassett and Henry Cavill. As far as the action goes, the filmmakers seem to have upped the ante once again, with brutal fistfights and breakneck chases aplenty. I was a little disappointed when I found out that the big showpiece stunt in this film would revolve around a helicopter; Rogue Nation opened with an incredible plane stunt and as we all know, planes are bigger than helicopters. But having now seen the footage of Tom Cruise dangling from a rope thousands of feet above the ground, I’m fully confident that he’s placed himself in sufficient mortal peril for me to forget all about that frankly pathetic plane nonsense and simply be entertained.

It’s really interesting to watch this series become increasingly serialised; once intended to be an episodic set of adventures that wiped the slate clean with each new entry, the franchise has been revisiting more and more characters and plot elements. Fallout even sees the return of Christopher McQuarrie, writer-director of Rogue Nation and the first filmmaker to helm a second Mission: Impossible. I’m a little concerned that returning villain Solomon Lane’s warning of ‘fallout’ from Hunt’s past actions bears shades of Blofeld professing himself to be the author of James Bond’s pain in Spectre, but it seems unlikely that the M:I team have looked at that snoozer of a film and decided to replicate it. Regardless, Ethan Hunt is something of a blank slate of a character, a vessel for whatever Tom Cruise shit Tom Cruise wants to do in each film, so I’m more than up for digging a little deeper under the surface and examining the psychology of a man with a near-pathological affinity for jumping off increasingly tall buildings.

More importantly, it’s pretty incredible that Mission: Impossible is a rare example of a franchise that consistently improves in quality with each new film. Egregious outlier Mission: Impossible 2 notwithstanding, each subsequent entry has come closer and closer to representing a kind of platonic ideal of a well-crafted action thriller that doesn’t insult the intelligence of its audience. An on-set incident in which Cruise broke his ankle and continued to run on it (!) means that Fallout is yet to wrap shooting, but it’s nonetheless set for release on 27th July. Here’s hoping it represents yet another new high-water mark for the series.

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