Review: Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Rating

Director

Christopher McQuarrie

Screenplay

Christopher McQuarrie

Length

2h 27m

Starring

Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Alec Baldwin, Vanessa Kirby, Michel Monaghan, Wes Bentley, Liang Yang

MPAA Rating

PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action, and for brief strong language

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Soundtrack

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Review

As much a part of the cinematic landscape as spy thrillers are, finding great ones is sometimes a frustrating proposition. Apart from the uneven quality of the James Bond franchise and the declining merits of the Jason Bourne series, the Mission: Impossible films continue to churn out riveting and engaging spectacles far past the point where we should be seeing diminishing returns.

Twenty-two years after Tom Cruise brought the television show Mission: Impossible into the modern age, the sixth film of the series pulls together plot details and information from all prior installments to create a rousing, if predictable adventure.

Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, an undercover operative for the IMF, a secret organization dedicated to protecting the world from various shady characters. Hunt is a conscientious spy who puts himself in grave danger to protect those around him while finding increasingly creative ways to get the upper hand on his enemies. More often than not, luck plays a major role in his ability to overcome any situation and the one he’s facing now is his most critical yet.

The story for this film revolves around a plot by an anonymous band of shadowy figures called The Acolytes who want to free terrorist Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) and set off three nuclear devices. Their plans face stiff opposition as Hunt and his crew (Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg) try to head off the inevitable attack. The IMF’s attempts are frustrated by the addition of a CIA assassin (Henry Cavill), forced onto the team by CIA director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) over the objection of IMF team leader Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin). Also back for this affair is former ally Rebecca Ferguson as the ex-MI6 agent who now appears to be working against Ethan and company.

Cruise remains one of the few Hollywood actors whose legend permeates every role he plays. A star not unlike classic actors Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart, he has little problem playing a relatable everyman. That Ethan Hunt is beyond capable while keeping his down-to-earth concern for those individuals within and without his orbit at credible levels is a tribute to Cruise’s charisma and talent.

Rhames and Pegg are still providing the same level of grounding and comic relief comparatively as they have in prior installments showcasing the strengths of the characters they have built. Ferguson’s appearance in the prior installment was a welcome one while Cavill makes a capable foil. Bassett never stops being perfectly stoic while Baldwin feels like he’s trying a bit too hard here than he has in other better works.

Director Christopher McQuarrie engages the audience with fast-paced action effectively punctuated by somber and interpersonal moments. This balance of tones keeps the film moving when they could have just as easily made the film crawl to a halt. That he’s helming his own script helps, but having a cast and crew like those assembled here must make his job more simple.

Any fan of this series will recognize moments throughout either calling back to specific plot elements of prior films, or else copying scenes and visual elements that stand out among the prior films. A shot set on a hoary cliff face with Ethan using his climbing skills is directly reminiscent of his Burj Khalifa climb in Ghost Protocol and also his bluff mounting in Mission: Impossible 2. Reminding the audience of these past adventures helps pull them into the adventure while simultaneously conjuring blissful memories of the quality work that has preceded this film. It also helps link them visually and capably avoids feeling redundant creating a uniform adventure that’s anything but the same.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a raucous adventure across the globe that reminds us at once of the grittier world of Jason Bourne and the glitzier universe of James Bond. Comparing favorably to both and with itself, this is the best outing since Ghost Protocol and it reminds the audience just how much fun the films are. That the film is tremendously predictable is barely a concern.

Oscar Prospects

Potentials: Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing

Review Written

August 21, 2018

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