Retirement Is Not An Option
Stars: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Vanessa Kirby and Wes Bentley
Director/Scriptwriter: Christopher McQuarrie
Composer: Lorne Balfe
Cinematography: Rob Hardy
Rating: PG 13 for violence
Running Length: 146 Minutes
Tom Cruise has done it again. His “Mission: Impossible” film series has tossed the word “retirement” away in favor of “endless.” Just when you thought they would run out of ideas (really stunts) in comes a fresh batch of by-your-fingernails escapes and climbs and jumps to make the two-and-a-half-hour film seem like 90 minutes. Along with Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, are sidekicks Ving Rhames as Luther and Simon Pegg as Benji. Girls? Oh, yes, there are plenty including Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa from “Rogue Nation,” Vanessa Kirby as White Widow and Ethan’s former wife, Julia (Michelle Monaghan.) Villains are White Widow and Solomon (Sean Harris.) There, you have the plot.
As with the other installments of this film series, there is an assignment to take…or not. Of course, Ethan Hunt takes it, gathers his team of Luther and Benji, and away they go. This time, it begins in Berlin and involves a renegade group called the Apostles, who want plutonium parts for three bombs they intend to detonate in various places to get the world’s attention. The CIA Director (Angela Bassett) sends her own man, Walker (Henry Cavill) along with Ethan as an “observer,” and the antagonism between he and Ethan grows. From Berlin to Paris to London to Kashmir, the tension builds and so do the stunts. Along the way, we meet am arms broker, White Widow (Vanessa Kirby), Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) the villain, and Ethan’s former wife, Julia (Michelle Monaghan) who is accidentally in the way. Alec Baldwin as Huntley, a former CIA man, manages to irritate everyone by just being there. As you watch the stunts, you can start playing the game of where-have-I-seen-this-before? There is Sylvester Stallone’s “Cliffhanger,” the first “Jurassic Park” film, Roy Scheider’s “Blue Thunder” and any film with a roof top or motorcycle chase.
As far as acting, this sixth installment of a film series, may actually be better than the first film. Tom Cruise has relaxed into the role of Ethan Hunt, and when answering questions, hesitates a bit and then softly says, “I’m working on it.” Which means the solution isn’t there yet, but it sure has to be in a few minutes. He doesn’t have the poise of a James Bond, but still carries the tenacity of someone who goes the full mile. As the sidekicks, Simon Pegg provides the comic relief and disguises, while Ving Rhames is the backbone of the group. Rebecca Ferguson, who has plenty of stunts of her own, wants to be part of the group, but they look past her at times. It is Sean Harris as Lane, the villain, who is the weak spot here. His dialogue ends up being meaningless and you wonder how this guy could have come up with a plot for world domination. My favorite moment is when Ethan and White Widow are about to make a deal when he realizes bad guys are closing in on them. Surprisingly, he doesn’t have to defend her, as in her white satin gown, she is a fighter all her own.
For being two-and-a-half hours, the film goes by fast. There is enough entertainment and at this rate, one would think “Mission Impossible 7” is probably in the works. Cinematography by Rob Hardy is spectacular and you wonder about the camera people and what they were hanging on when shooting helicopter chases, motorcycle chases and cliff action. The composer, Lorne Balfe, may not readily be known to fans. He has worked on many films with Hans Zimmer, and only in the past few years has come into his own as a replacement for someone else. This includes “Geostorm,” “Pacific Rim Uprising” and “Mission Impossible: Fallout.” In this film, the “Mission Impossible” theme is there with variations and the percussion section is not overwhelming. It’s just right. For this composer, it is “Have pen, will travel.”
Copyright 2018 Marie Asner