‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Review: Action, Action, And More Action
The most interesting thing about Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the sixth film in the Mission: Impossible film franchise, is that the MacGuffin here is as generic as you can get. A terrorist organization, the Apostles — an off-shoot from the Rogue Nation cell introduced in the last film — is trying to get their hands on three capsules of plutonium to build three nuclear bombs that can be set off anywhere in the world. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team (including Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, and headed by Alec Baldwin’s Alan Hunley) must stop them. In Espionage Thriller Writing 101 in college, this is the first assignment listed on the syllabus.
But what makes Mission: Impossible – Fallout work is that Christopher McQuarrie, who writes and directs, has a much bigger idea on how to pull off the film, and he directs his proverbial ass off. He drags Cruise and his cast through some of the most most insane stunts, fight scenes, chases, and action movie tropes I’ve ever seen, in route to the action movie event of 2018.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout picks up shortly after the events of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is given a mission, which he chooses to accept, to intercept a plutonium buy, and with the help of Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luthor (Ving Rhames), they almost succeed. Unfortunately, things go sideways and the plutonium is snatched out from under them. The blown mission doesn’t sit well with the U.S. government, so the CIA is brought in to take over the investigation. Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett) and her agent, August Walker (Henry Cavill) force themselves into Hunt’s plans to try and retrieve the plutonium and this sets off a chain reaction of double crosses, audience misdirections, and outstanding action set pieces, all of which the franchise has been known for since the 1960s on TV, and 1996 in the film series.
Also returning are Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), as two very important pieces in Hunt’s mission to stop the Apostles from sending the world into chaos. McQuarrie’s script plays out almost like a greatest hits package from the previous five movies; in the best ways imaginable. Instead of one epic action scene that the story is centered around, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is littered with them. Every 15 minutes there seems to be something insane going on on-screen, and for a good part of the film, my hands were clenched into fists, with knuckles white from the action.
One particular motorcycle chase through the streets of Paris was breathtaking. Mission: Impossible – Fallout is one of those films where I can’t wait to get it on Blu-ray to watch the special features just to see how they shot these scenes. The vehicular choreography here makes the Fast and the Furious franchise look like a baby boomer’s trip to the grocery on a wednesday afternoon.
And when cars and motorcycles aren’t battling it out on Parisian roads, we have an honest-to-god helicopter duel in the air — which defies all explanation; just know that it is spectacular. And that’s just two of the many action pieces in Mission: Impossible – Fallout. I haven’t even talked about the HALO jump that looked to be shot in one take, or the tense cliffside final battle. In addition to the action, the film also hops all around the world, with Paris and London taking center stage, but eastern Europe is also represented.
The ageless Tom Cruise continues to defy all logic by performing well past his age window. Maybe its just that McQuarrie knows how to shoot him, but Cruise looks 20-years younger here, and it looks like he takes a true beating — and he did — and the pay off of realism is worth it. There’s a viciously brutal fight scene in a bathroom with Cruise and Cavill and actor Liang Yang, that was also expertly choreographed. These three men beat the living crap out of each other, and none of it looks fake. This is what separates the Mission: Impossible films from others in the genre. This red-line level of action, coupled with the misdirections and double-crosses make this franchise a must-see every few years. In fact, I was looking as forward to this as I do most Marvel movies. And it did not disappoint.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the best true action film of not only the summer, but of the whole year. Nothing can come close to reaching its lofty execution, and if you love a good, heart-pounding action film, this is for you. But as much as I love action and stunts, I also love a good story, and Fallout delivers there as well. I’m sure sometime in the very near future, Tom Cruise will have to step away from the franchise that he has helped produce since the beginning, and I hope that Paramount continues the story with a new set of characters, as the world is a very dangerous place and bad things happen in the shadows every day. Mission: Impossible – Fallout is fiction, but it could happen. Any of these plots could happen, and that’s what is so thrilling about these films. At least on the big screen, we have the IMF to save the day. For now.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is rated PG-13 and is in theaters on July 27.
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