Mission Impossible Fallout review Tom Cruise Rebecca Ferguson Henry CavillYear: 2018
Director(s): Christopher McQuarrie
Writer(s): Christopher McQuarrie
Region of Origin: USA
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1, 1.90:1 IMAX scenes
Rating: PG-13
35mm, Digital, Color, 147 mins

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

There’s an old school tactility to Mission: Impossible – Fallout that’s truly jaw-dropping to the nth degree. Amidst a climate where CGI has become commonplace, Fallout’s stunts and action scenes are a breath of fresh air. When we see Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt hanging from the bottom of a helicopter, skydiving into a Paris, speeding into head-on traffic in a motorcycle or hanging from a jagged cliff face, we can visibly see that it’s the film’s leading man performing these feats of insanity. It makes for an experience that recalls classic filmmaking in its most primal form. It also pushes the boundaries of what’s real and what isn’t. Coupled with Christopher McQuarrie’s sophisticated direction, these set pieces have again raised the bar unbelievably high not just for the series, but the blockbuster genre in general. Cruise’s latest is a go-for-broke shot of cinematic adrenaline. It dissects its heroes’ black-and-white morality with complexity, supplying unrelenting tension with an unexpected dose of emotion.

Things kick off when Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and team are tasked with intercepting three plutonium cores from a terrorist group known as the Apostles. This mission quickly fails, however, when Hunt is forced to choose between the cores and a member of his team. Before they can follow up on a new lead, the CIA sends a brutal watchdog named August Walker (Henry Cavill) to oversee their every move. Operating under the watchful eye of an interloper, Hunt and crew enter a world of desperation, hellbent on preventing nuclear disaster. The deeper Hunt and team get, the more they realize that nothing is what it seems. There’s an even more nefarious game at play.

Mission Impossible Fallout review Tom Cruise Rebecca FergusonMcQuarrie has created a very focused character study that dissects what makes Hunt and these films tick. For the first time, we really feel Hunt’s burden. He’s a man forced to make horrible decisions on the fly as he weighs the cost of one life or even his friends vs many. Fully capitalizing on the series’ legacy, McQuarrie builds on the relationships that Hunt and crew have cultivated, connecting dots from the series’ past while still allowing things to stand on their own. After toying a few subtle nods to Hunt’s mythic legacy in Rogue Nation, this film thrives on a very simple idea – that Hunt, the living manifestation of destiny, cares too much. This is both his greatest strength and weakness. With such a clear motivation, McQuarrie grinds Hunt down to his most barest essentials, dropping him into a complex web of two-faced spies, shadowy agencies and sinister conspiracies.

The film’s more nuanced take on story trickles down to its massive set pieces, which use as little CGI as possible and are pure, staggering moments of cinematic insanity. Even if McQuarrie didn’t have a story to back up each scene, these extended moments of unbearable suspense would still be worth the price of admission. The film’s action is a dare to do better in a world reliant on green screen. As such, each genuinely death-defying stunt is instantly memorable and that much more terrifying. These sequences are also keep us guessing, exploring the duplicitous nature of the characters involved. As alliances shift and narrative slight-of-hand pulls the rug out from beneath us, the film’s dizzying commitment to thrills puts every other action film or series to shame.

Mission Impossible Fallout review Tom Cruise A winning ensemble is just another example of how the film doesn’t have a single weak link. Of course, Cruise is front and center, and this film proves that he is crucial to making this series work. Unparalleled, fearless stunt work aside, Cruise’s charisma and charm is equal to the depth he gives this character. Hunt is a simple person thrust into complex situations and Cruise gives the film its backbone. Sharing almost equal time, Henry Cavill proves that he’s a wonderful asset in the right hands. Here, he stands his own, allowing Walker’s ruthlessness to act as a sharp contrast to Hunt and Cruise, further exploring the ideas that make the film float. Thankfully returning as Ilsa Faust, Rebecca Ferguson again proves how great of an addition she is to this growing ensemble. Given her own parallel storyline, Ferguson shows us why Faust is Hunt’s equal, going toe-to-toe and giving the film another understated air of ferocity. Rounding things out, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg’s Luther and Benji, are always a delight, while Sean Harris’ villainous mastermind continues to surprise. But hey, shout out to Alec Baldwin, who’s Hunley actually gets a big moment to shine.

From top to bottom, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is everything we love about the M:I series but distilled to its most aggressive and crowd-pleasing form. For a franchise that’s running on its sixth feature, McQuarrie, Cruise and co make this look easy. At this point, they’re just showing off, coming at it as if this is just the first film, and promising that there’s still a lot of gas left in this high-octane franchise. This film just schooled every other blockbuster series out there. It’s a perfect synergy between ensemble, stunts and story, and I’m already fiending for the next one.

SG