Movie Review: Mission: Impossible-Fallout
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Director: Christopher McQuarrie
by Jason Koenigsberg
Just when you probably thought it was over, that Tom Cruise was washed-up, a fading movie star holding onto his last grasp of former glory with his longest-running franchise, he comes in and knocks one out of the park. Cruise has a lot more left in him as long as he keeps matching his intensity level with taut editing, splendid visual and camera effects, and spectacular globe-trotting cinematography. This sixth entry in Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible series is actually really good, borderline great. It solidifies itself as one of the most consistent action franchises. Make no mistake about it, Mission: Impossible-Fallout is the best action movie of the summer, and quite possibly the year.
It starts off with some beautiful shots of mountains as we see Ethan Hunt (Cruise) with his wife (Michelle Monaghan) from the previous films. The scene has some bizarre traits as we hear the clergyman’s sermon. It immediately cuts to Cruise present day alone in Belfast where he accepts his newest mission. The opening scene is important, as it ties into the film’s ending and themes. But from this point on, the film moves at a frenetic pace. It establishes the mission, re-establishes the characters (most of which have been part of Ethan Hunt’s team since the third film), and introduces a few new ones played by Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, and Henry Cavill (with his now infamous moustache that they had to digitally remove for those Justice League reshoots). It was certainly worth him not shaving; Mission: Impossible-Fallout is vastly superior to that film and Cavill actually gives a really good performance as the second-billed star, a CIA agent that we are never entirely sure if we can trust.
All the acting is good but like most previous Mission: Impossible films, Fallout is the Tom Cruise show. He is vital to every scene and is practically in every frame of the movie. So much so that even special effects shots contain him since Cruise is such an adrenaline junkie. This film did have to stop filming for weeks when a stunt went awry: since Tom Cruise refused to use a stunt double on most of the action sequences, he broke some bones and the entire production was brought to a screeching halt while their star had to recover in a cast. With all those troubles, the finished product contains some of the best action scenes of the year and Mission: Impossible-Fallout is exactly what you want from a summer action blockbuster. This series has always been about impossible things happening on screen and our characters surviving despite all odds being against them. Fallout is no exception and this makes it easy to accept a lot of the far-fetched chase scenes on land and in the air as they happen. Some of the best moments of these films feel almost like a magician staging his magic tricks with how the camera captures the action making the audience ask themselves, “how did they do that?”.
Mission: Impossible-Fallout is fun, but not without its flaws. The third act has some moments that even when you suspend your disbelief, you may get frustrated when certain characters do not just kill their rival by pulling a trigger but instead use martial arts to beat them down and tie them up with a rope. The third act also took heavily from Stallone’s terrific action flick Cliffhanger (1993) with a put-up- your-dukes fight between the hero and the antagonist on the side of a mountain as the vehicle they were just in is about to fall hundreds of feet to their doom. Even the fight itself was very reminiscent of M: I 2 (2000) when Cruise fights the main bad guy on the beach. The music score was good, but it felt a lot like a clone of Hans Zimmer’s score to The Dark Knight Rises (2012) with a lot of strings and brass, they just added some bongos in parts. Plus, it would have been nice if they infused the iconic Mission: Impossible theme more into the film’s score. But those are minor complaints in an otherwise riveting action-packed blockbuster that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible. We are inundated with all these comic book movies and with no James Bond film for at least another year Mission: Impossible-Fallout is exactly what we need to satisfy our craving for an adrenaline-pumping thrill ride.
THE MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE FILMS FROM BEST TO WORST:
- Mission: Impossible (1996)
- Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (2011)
- Mission: Impossible-Fallout (2018)
- Mission: Impossible II (2000)
- Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation (2015)
- Mission: Impossible III (2006)-The only one in the series I would not recommend.