Film Review – Mission: Impossible – Fallout


DIRECTED BY: Christopher McQuarrie

STARRING: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Vanessa Kirby, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan, Wes Bentley, Frederick Schmidt and Alec Baldwin

 

SYNOPSIS

Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong.

Following on from the events of Rogue Nation, Ethan Hunt is still hunting down the remaining members of Solomon Lane’s organisation the Syndicate, which have now reformed into a terrorist group known as the Apostles. When Ethan attempts to intercept an exchange of plutonium cores that the Apostle want to give to client John Lark, the mission fails and the Apostles take the plutonium. As the IMF decide the best course of action is to find John Lark and assume his identity to locate and retrieve the plutonium back, the Director of the CIA has operative August Walker shadow Hunt’s every move.

Mission: Impossible Fallout is the sixth installment in the film franchise that began twenty-two years ago, with audiences following the journey of IMF Agent Ethan Hunt, portrayed by Tom Cruise. Picking up from the events of Rogue Nation, Hunt and his team are tasked with locating three plutonium cores that the remaining Syndicate organisation, now going by the name of The Apostles, are looking to obtain for a client known as John Lark. When the mission fails, the IMF decide that they must locate John Lark and assume his identity in order to retrieve the plutonium cores. Due to the failed mission in Berlin, the CIA now send their assassin Augustus Walker to shadow Hunt and his team, which causes Hunt and company same headaches along the way as they try to save the day.

 

Mission: Impossible Fallout is a film that wastes no time to setup its premise and give the motions of its characters for what’s to come over the course of Fallout’s nearly two and a half hour runtime. Ethan Hunt is quite literally haunted by Solomon Lane, with the ghost of Solomon telling him that he should’ve killed him when he had the chance. As he and Hunley plot a course to find John Lark in Paris, Hunley’s superior decides to have her own man tag along, someone that she trusts to get the job done no matter the cost. Immediately Ethan Hunt and Augustus Walker are at odds in their methods of how to handle the missions, Ethan primarily looking at how to get the job done, in and out with no casualties, whereas Augustus is more of going in and when he feels necessary, hit first, ask questions later. The film underlines how far Ethan will go to protect the ones he cares about, Augustus doesn’t tie down to no-one, and essentially which one makes the better spy because of it. From once we enter Paris, Fallout is a rollercoaster ride of stunt work and action sequences that haven’t been this jaw-dropping since Mad Max: Fury Road. From HALO jumping, to a car-motorcycle chase along the streets of Paris (particularly driving round incoming traffic around the Arc De Triomphe), to the trademark Tom Cruise running on foot (this time around London), to the helicopter chase sequence in the final act, the action is clear and you feel completely immersed in these moments as Tom Cruise has placed himself in these stunts and I was completely blown away by how these scenes were done. Fallout sees the return of Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust, who has a conflicting stake in their mission to locate John Lark that puts her and Ethan at odds and we learn the reason behind this over the course of the film, then we’re also introduced to a new character in Vanessa Kirby’s White Widow. White Widow is an arms dealer that John Lark is meant to meet in order to broker a deal over the plutonium cores and while there’s a brief nod to how she’s connected to the Mission: Impossible franchise in her introductory scene, I was intrigued by her character and I wouldn’t mind seeing her return in future films of the M:I franchise. The team rapport is still solid amongst Hunt, Benji and Luther, in particular how it pokes fun at how they literally figure out stuff on the fly and I like how in the final act how everyone had their part to play. Ethan Hunt is made more vulnerable here and we get more in headspace compared to previous films, as we see not only how his past still haunts him, but how far can he maintain his cover without having to take an innocent life. The cinematography work from Rob Hardy is excellent, as is McQuarrie’s direction and Eddie Hamilton’s editing, I also liked the score from Lorne Balfe. The performances from the ensemble surrounding Cruise is probably the best in the franchise, Cavill is a great foil to Hunt as bruiser-brawler Walker, Pegg is ever-reliable as Benji, Ferguson is good as Ilsa, Kirby impresses as White Widow and Ving Rhames, who hasn’t had much to do in terms of scenes over the last few instalments (in my opinion) gets a lot more screentime. I’m glad Sean Harris returned as Solomon Lane, he has a menacing prescence whenever he’s on screen and is easily the best villain Ethan Hunt has come up against.

 

In terms of negatives about the film, the main one that it boils down to is that the plot is pretty much the same as previous Mission: Impossible installments you’ve seen before. Their mission is to obtain something related to a nuclear bomb, Tom Cruise must run, during the mission they come up against a surprise rogue agent surprise. The film plays more like a greatest hits compilation of the Mission: Impossible franchise, with stunts from previous films returning as well as characters from previous films returning.

 

VERDICT

In a summer of CGI-infested blockbusters that have been mediocre at best, Mission: Impossible Fallout is an absolute breath of fresh air with its realistic and jaw-dropping stunts (HALO jump and helicopter chase), it’s definitely the best action film in that regard since Mad Max: Fury Road and it can be argued that the film might be better than it in terms of best action film of the decade. Tom Cruise is great as Ethan Hunt, particularly in how he throws himself into these action scenes, with Henry Cavill making a memorable impression as Augustus Walker. Vanessa Kirby also impresses as White Widow in the limited screen time she has, and the remaining of the supporting cast (Fergusson, Pegg and Rhames) are solid. Granted the plot is pretty much the same as other M:I films that came before, but I was completely invested in this installment and after a second viewing, I now rank it as my favourite of the Mission: Impossible films. 8/10

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