Mission: Impossible – Fallout
The agents of the Impossible Mission Force are tasked with saving the world from total destruction once again in Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
The Mission: Impossible franchise is arguably just an excuse for Tom Cruise to find new ways to put himself in mortal danger for the sake of an impressive action sequence. Previous entries saw him climb the Burj Khalifa and hang onto the outside of a plane along with various climbing and motorcycle stunts. Part of the appeal of this franchise is to see what crazy stunt Tom Cruise will attempt next.
This entry is a little different from previous entries as it acts as a direct sequel to the previous film; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation though not in such a way that viewers who haven’t seen/don’t remember it that well will be completely lost. The plot of Fallout stands alone in that the narrative that plays out is internally consistent with itself. Those who have the previous film in mind will get more out of it but it’s not essential to have it in mind.
The plot is both simple and complex at the same time. A terrorist group named The Apostles led by a mysterious John Lark have their hands on some plutonium and are planning to use it to cause untold destruction in the name of creating a peaceful word born out of intense hardship. As evil plans go it’s a crazy one and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is best placed to assemble a team to stop it. Naturally the plot features many complications, twists and betrayals before the credits roll though not to the extent that it’s hard to follow. It’s layered enough to allow those paying attention to follow it but maintains a level of simplicity that won’t confuse people waiting for the next action sequence to begin.
If you’re in this for the action then you won’t be disappointed. Fallout boasts some of the best action in recent memory; much of it filmed through the high resolution lens of an IMAX camera. The sequences are varied, exciting and wonderfully creative in the way they are put together. Notable highlights include a brutal hand to hand sequence in a bathroom, a high speed motorcycle chase into oncoming traffic, a rooftop foot chase and an extended helicopter battle that is dripping in intensity. Director Christopher McQuarrie really knows how to frame these sequences to get the most out of them and the hard work put in by Cruise as well as the talented stunt people definitely pays off.
Cruise is joined by returning characters Benji (Simon Pegg), Luther (Ving Rhames), Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) and Rogue Nation‘s antagonist Solomon Lane ( Sean Harris). There is also a brief appearance by Michelle Monghan’s Julia. New characters round out the cast such as Angela Bassett’s Erica Sloan, Vanessa Kirby’s White Widow and Henry Cavill’s Walker. It’s fair to say that the Mission: Impossible franchise isn’t necessarily known for strong acting or well developed characters but there’s a base level of competence on both counts that makes it possible to invest in the narrative and the tension being created throughout.
As always Cruise carries the film wonderfully. His status as one of Hollywood’s few remaining true leading men is well deserved considering how much of himself he clearly puts into this role. Ethan Hunt is so hypercompetent at every task he turns his hand to that it crosses the line into superhuman but since it’s Cruise playing the character it’s believable. This film tries to dig into Hunt as a character and explore the rationale behind the choices he makes in order to clarify what it is that makes him such a good agent. It doesn’t really result in anything profound but there is an attempt at depth here. The returning Ilsa Faust is a great addition as she is one of the few characters in this franchise who believably matches Hunt in skill level. Rebecca Ferguson’s physicality and confident performance makes it easy to accept that Faust is a match for Hunt
Pegg’s Benji does little more than appear exasperated throughout and use his computer skills to help the plot maintain its breakneck pace. Ving Rhames’ Luther delivers the goods as an old friend of Hunt that does actually play out in meaningful ways but as with Benji he has a particular purpose in the plot. Alec Baldwin’s Hunley appears briefly but contributes what he needs to and Michelle Monaghan is mainly around to tie the series together in some way so the returning cast all maintain a specific function that works in context.
Henry Cavill’s Walker and his infamous moustache makes for a great addition to the franchise. There are some laughs early on associated with his brutish nature and lack of finesse. His reason for being there early on is because Angela Bassett’s Erica Sloan doesn’t trust Hunt or the IMF so wants one of her own people that she does trust along for the ride. In essence he’s the anti-Ethan Hunt and he makes for an entertaining foil for Hunt. Henry Cavill plays the part well with his deadpan line delivery early on gradually easing as the film progresses. Cavill’s physicality is used to great effect and his character has just enough beneath the surface to prevent him from being disposable. Angela Bassett’s Erica Sloan is well performed but the character is arguably unnecessary considering she has limited impact on the overall plot. Vanessa Kirby’s White Widow is similar though had more potential than her limited appearance afforded her.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is an exceptionally well paced film. It clocks in at nearly 2 and a half hours but the intensity never lets up so the long running time never shows. McQuarrie moves the narrative seamlessly from plot details to action and juggles both aspects expertly to create a lean experience that feels like it has no extraneous material. The next impossible mission for the cast and crew will be matching the near perfection of this outing.
An excellent entry into the Mission: Impossible franchise that expertly merges plot with action to create and well paced experience with incredible set piece moments making optimum use of Tom Cruise’ thirst for adrenalin. As with most films in this franchise the characterisation is a little thin though a talented cast means that this is hardly noticeable. Mission: Impossible: Fallout is one of the finest action experiences in recent memory and definitely deserves to be experienced on the biggest screen you can find.
- excellent and varied action sequences
- a well paced experience disguising the long running time
- a plot that is both simple and complex
- a talented cast inhabiting their characters well
- thin characterisation and a failed attempt to explore Ethan Hunt specifically
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