Film Review – Mission Impossible: Fallout

I’d like to first apologize for this late review. Where I live, we received Mission Impossible: Fallout a week after it’s U.S. release, and I hadn’t had the time to see it the week of release. But now I have. And like many others on the internet, we can all agree on a few things: 1. Tom Cruise is an absolute madman. And 2. This movie rules-So. Goddamn. HARD. I won’t go into how 2018 has left me wanting more in the wake of a fantastic 2017, but by far and large I will not be surprised if Fallout ends up on my top ten list at the end of the year. It should also be noted that this is the first Mission Impossible film I’ve seen in theatres since the second film in the franchise (Probably, my memory is fuzzy if I even saw that one in theatres), since I accidentally missed the previous entry Rogue Nation during it theatrical run. Regardless I’m here now and having seen it, Fallout is by far the most visceral and entertaining film this year bar none.

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For the first time ever in the franchises 20-year history Christopher McQuarrie returns to the director’s chair, to what is essentially a follow up to the previous 2015 hit; Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Beyond the obvious main stays such as Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Ving Rhames (Luther), and Simon Pegg (Benji), we also get the return of the two standouts from the last film: Rebecca Fergusson (llsa Faust), and Sean Harris (Solomon Lane). Both here have slightly smaller roles than the previous entry, but the time allotted to them here is in no way small and each are very significant to the overall plot. With Fergusson in particular I’m curious if she will continue to show up after her story ends in Fallout, as she and Cruise have way too much chemistry that can be ignored (That and her damn legs are out here once again breaking necks and ending lives so much so that I’d miss the next film if she wasn’t in it to kick someone’s ass). But the two newcomers to the franchise is both Angela Basset as CIA Director Erika Sloane and her right-hand assassin August Walker, played by Superman himself Henry Cavill. While Basset brings a point-blank coldness to her role as Sloane, admittedly she feels a bit underused, yet given the scope of the film it can be forgiven as she fits in right where she needs to. I’d like to see her return despite her limited screen time here as she still commands every scene she’s in. Cavil’s Walker is another story entirely. Now I missed out on Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a film I hear Cavill is stellar in, but here he goes all out. As he gets second billing to Cruise and probably just as much screen time, Cavil is here to break faces and ask question later. As Sloane puts it to Alec Baldwin’s IMF Director Huntley: “You like a scalpel. I prefer a hammer.” And what a goddamn hammer Walker is. Every scene he’s in, he looks ready to bulldoze through anybody and everybody, just waiting for an excuse to wreck someone’s shit. And he gets to on more than one occasion, with a bathroom fight scene alongside Cruise that will probably become an all timer for many a cinephile. It’s a damn shame he hasn’t gotten the time to shine as Superman because here he shines, if not at times better than Cruise himself. And that is always a feat to reckoned with.

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The plot follows Ethan Hunt and his team in the aftermath of a failed attempt to obtain three plutonium cores that should suffice to say, bring the world to its knees. Before Hunt can rightfully pursue these MacGuffins to the arms dealer White Widow (Played by a lovely Vanessa Kirby, who herself gives her rather short role a great deal of charm and allure), Sloane steps in and has Walker tag along so he can observe Ethan’s methods and if need be step in to retrieve the plutonium by any means necessary. It’s a nice contrast to see how these two work, and almost every scene involving Cruise and Cavill has them at opposite ends on how to deal with a problem. Underscoring the plot however is the fact that the entirety of the events that take place do so however because of Hunt’s inability to make the greater sacrifice of his friends in order to save the world. At multiple points throughout the film he has to “Reckon with the fallout of his good intentions” as every time he saves one life, the stakes dramatically increase to put several more in danger. This escalating intensity gives the overall feeling that anyone could die at any moment, and there’s almost no room to breath in any of action scenes that continually build and excite upon the previous one. This is especially true for Cruise himself, as once again, I’d like to reiterate: This man is absolutely insane. And I love it. If you’ve seen the behind the scenes videos of the Halo Jump, the Parisian Motorcycle Chase, the London Foot Chase, or the bugnuts insane finale Helicopter Chase, then you know that Cruise absolutely insists on doing his own stunts. To say nothing of the fact that this man jumped off a rooftop, broke his fucking ankle and then continued to keep filming because he’s such a goddamn winner. Most films just give one or two set pieces, but here Cruise is damned and determined to show us he can do the real thing such as actually falling 25,000 feet, or as a nice joke for Hunt’s character, learning to fly a helicopter for the first time, and then promptly attempting to crash into another one because that’s the only way he’s going to “board it”. It’s astounding, and each scene only escalates more and more until you can do nothing but laugh at the insanity being commited on screen. It’s masterclass action, and if Rogue Nation didn’t sell you that you should probably watch anything and everything that McQuarrie and Cruise put out, then this certainly will. And if not, then I nor anyone else can help you.

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There’re a thousand things right with Fallout, and not a drop wrong with it. Hell, it’s so good I forgot to mention Lorne Balfe’s electrifying score. It’s damn good, and while similarities to Hans Zimmer will come (No shit considering they’ve worked together on plenty of occasions), its still the best since Giacchino’s Ghost Protocol. Special shout out to that lovely piano on “Good Evening Mr. Hunt”, it’s alluring in all the right places and so damn pleasing when it pops up (And I can’t forget its follow ups “Change of Plan” and “A Terrible Choice”, they are a chef kisses delight in a dramatic change of pace and tempo). Also, it should be noted that on top of being a direct sequel to Rouge Nation, this entry is the one with the most overt nods and winks to the rest of the series, mainly being the first one. It was nice considering like many I rewatched the previous films in anticipation for this one. No one comes to these films for the plot, and beyond two slick as fuck interrogations (Both being great nods to the first film), you know exactly from early on who’s gonna play who and how its gonna play out. And you know what? That’s okay. I come to these films to watch Tom Cruise be the absolute best he can be with, with his work horse attitude for absolute perfection in all things. The man knows how to keep his audience engaged and invested and I love him for it. If you’ve written off these films for being “generic” or you don’t care for Cruise or whatever, I hope I’ve changed your mind. Cruise is by far the hardest working actor out there today, and this franchise like Fast and the Furious just continually gets better with each new entry. Trust me when I say generic wishes it could be as cool as this franchise is. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to go see Fallout, and be blown away. I know I’m due for a second viewing by far. And if time permits, this might just join the likes of John Wick Chapter 2 and Fury Road for me as the one of the best action films this decade has seen. If not all time.

Also this film has the biggest ass nod to Terminator 2: Judgement Day and its baller as fuck, so yeah. This one is definitely a winner.

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