The Mission Impossible franchise has been quietly hard at work, building mind-blowing action sequences and clever characters, slowly increasing critical credibility and box-office taking at the same time. To be completely honest, besides the odd Mission Impossible 2 none have been anything resembling bad yet never completely a classic either. This all changes with Mission Impossible-Fallout which sets itself apart by making a true sequel in terms of story while doubling down on the over the top but cleverly filmed action.
The Syndicate, an organisation of former secret agent trying to destabilise the current world order was defeated by the IMF and Ethan Hunt when their leader was captured. The group that remained calls themselves The Apostles and seem intent not only of completing their mission but doing so at the expense of Ethan and his team.
Mission Impossible-Fallout starts in a deliberately slow-paced way and it’s probably one of the most frustrating aspects of the film. You want action and explosions initially before setting into the depths of drama, but Fallout wants to remind you of something exceedingly important and that who is Ethan Hunt. It seems like a weird thing to place front and centre, isn’t he simply a spy in the mould of James Bond or Jason Bourne. But it’s a dream sequence of his ex-wife and him being destroyed in a nuclear fallout, it’s a decision to save a team mate that characterises a man conflicted saving the person versus saving the world.
As an avid viewer of the franchise I appreciated this slow introduction but anyone coming to the film casually will be rightly put off. While there is some ‘depth’ to these characters, we are ultimately talking archetypes but evolving ones. The slow start ultimately rewards the viewer in the high-stakes action finale as not just Ethan but all his team member wrestle with the dilemmas of saving lives they care about versus countless unknown others.
Still, everyone ultimately comes to Mission Impossible-Fallout for the action and Christopher McQuarrie who worked on Rogue Nation as director has a knack or probably better what can be described as an art form when doing action. From a plunging HALO jump, running sequences, city filled car-heists or bathroom brawls it is all filmed with care. It’s not simply a matter of conveying the action but how is this thrilling, how does it feel for the characters and the audience alike. The commitment of Cruise to performing his own stunts has become an asset and the look on his face when he actually breaks his leg, goes well beyond acting.
The way Mission Impossible-Fallout comes together, it feels like a final chapter in a story. There have been weird comparisons of this movie by some critics comparing this to The Dark Knight and one feels the comparison points especially in certain sequences, but this is very much if Nolan’s final chapter have of worked with the Dark Knight Rises. Higher stakes, characters stretched beyond limits and a sense of closure.
Of course, you may not read any of this or want it in the movie. For those looking for popcorn action with spy gadgets, double crosses, corny but funny one-liners, a likeable and aesthetically pleasing cast, Fallout offers all that. It’s just that there is more going on for those who look for it. But if anything, seeing Henry Cavill load his arms like they are literal guns is worth the watch.
Mission Impossible-Fallout Review Cheat Sheet.
Mission Impossible-Fallout is one of the strongest action movies in recent years with some of the most memorable and exciting set pieces ever. It stands out from its predecessors and much of the competition by building on the characters and stories of previous films in meaningful ways. Truly something special yet solid popcorn entertainment as well.
+ Crazy and beautiful action throughout.
+Cruise’s committment to the character and the stunts.
+Lots of goofy spy stuff with a likeable cast
+Feels like a true and meaningul sequel and closing chapter.
-slow and off putting start.
-At six movies in you either like Mission Impossible or you don’t, this won’t change your mind.