Mission: Impossible – Fallout makes this list because the each act of the film on their own are better self-contained action stories than most blockbuster fare put out this year. A stunning triptych on the altar of Tom Cruise’s self-destructive self-regard, Fallout is built on a thorough reeling through the list of pretty much every set-piece director Christopher McQuarrie can dream up and Cruise can delude himself into being dying (not yet literally) to do. Ethan Hunt dives through the Parisian sky as lightning cackles around him, decimates a bathroom with a totality and violence not usually seen outside of Stephen’s Day jacks-visits, rams trucks into rivers, races motorcycles around every square inch of one of Europe’s largest cities, chases after man mountain Henry Cavill (if he doesn’t crush you, no giant thing will) with a broken foot and with over 90 minutes of his latest mission already clocked, the man and his film haven’t even really gotten started yet. By the time Hunt starts playing Helicopter Conkers in the Himalayas, you’ll be literally floored as you realise you’ve gone way beyond the edge of your seat.
It’s a film crammed with so much action that it can’t even find as much room as it deserves for Rebecca Ferguson; her presence nevertheless gives the absurdly intense operations a vital dose of steely dignity. The supporting cast in general is as strong as ever, the highlight however is definitely Cavill, never better than here as a hulking, arrogant American agent without a breeze between his ears; physically imposing, narratively propulsive, hilariously idiotic.
McQuarrie, comfortable in the director’s chair with star and studio backing, flexes his muscles in his big action scenes – setting up a complex machine through his own screenplay, managing CGI and stunt teams with aplomb and allowing his actors to shine. It’s almost (not quite) enough to make you forget what a maniac Tom Cruise is, happy out in his stunt bubble, whipping himself up into an unstoppable ubermensch to keep the Little Dick Energy at bay, if he’s going to do it, he might as well do it well, and in Mission: Impossible – Fallout he’s quite possibly never done it better.
Go back through our previous entries for the best of 2018 below: