Warning! SPOILERS for Mission: Impossible - Fallout!
The climactic 'hook' moment that kills the villain in Mission: Impossible - Fallout is one of the best of the entire franchise. As ever, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is on a quest to save the world. This time, the legendary IMF agent tries to recover three plutonium cores which a terrorist network called the Apostles, which is a reorganized version of the evil Syndicate from Rogue Nation, plans to use to devastate a third of the world's population.
The relentless action Ethan finds himself embroiled in culminates in a spectacular mid-air helicopter battle over the mountains of Kashmir with the true villain of the film, August Walker (Henry Cavill). The mustachioed CIA assassin initially assigned to oversee Hunt is actually a fanatical anarchist in league with Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the leader of the Apostles. When the IMF uncovers the plot, Ethan becomes hellbent on stopping Walker from detonating the nukes. Not that Ethan has a plan, per se, when he goes after Walker; literally flying a helicopter for the first time by the seat of his pants, Hunt attempts insane aerial maneuvers like trying to ram his chopper into the one Walker is aboard. Inevitably, both helicopters collide and crash atop a mountain, flipping over repeatedly and falling over a cliffside. One of the birds, however, is suspended by a cable and is precariously held aloft by a metal hook barely gripping the rock.
All of this eventually results in the amazing 'hook' moment that finally dispatches the villain. Half of Walker's face is severely burned by aviation fuel that leaked from his destroyed helicopter, but he's otherwise in somewhat better physical shape than Ethan, who was severely hurt in the crash. Nonetheless, they fight each other savagely on the mountaintop and both men end up tumbling over the cliff. As they each cling to the rock face and begin climbing, the weight of the helicopter beneath them proves too much for the hook holding it aloft. The hook finally snaps and, as Ethan dodges it, the metal flings itself right into Walker's injured face, sending him and the remains of the chopper plummeting into an explosion.
It's no surprise Walker perished since the bad guy usually dies in the Mission: Impossible films. Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) similarly died via helicopter explosion in the original film and Ethan shot and killed rogue agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) in Mission: Impossible 2. Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyquist) fell to his end in Ghost Protocol, while arms dealer Owen Davian (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) suffered the most ignoble death by being run over by a truck in the middle of a Shanghai street in Mission: Impossible III. Meanwhile, Solomon Lane bucked the odds by surviving both of his turns as the franchise's Big Bad.
However, August Walker's demise is the best villain death of the Mission: Impossible franchise thus far. Walker was a foil for Ethan throughout Fallout, alternately trying to one-up him and work with him. All the while, he was secretly framing Hunt as the Apostles' mysterious broker 'John Lark', and he helped mastermind the scheme that would result in the murder of Ethan's wife Julia (Michelle Monaghan). Walker needed a truly memorable end and he certainly 'got the hook' - right in the face.
Of course, Henry Cavill's face, specifically his mustache, have been the focal point of two major films. Not being able to shave it to play Superman for Justice League reshoots had such a negative affect on what was supposed to be the DCEU's crown jewel. It's truly poetic justice that when it came time for Cavill's Mission: Impossible - Fallout baddie to get his just desserts, he got the hook right in his kisser and not even his vaunted mustache could save him.
- Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) release date: Jul 27, 2018