Review: Mission Impossible: Fallout is a Masterstroke in Action Filmmaking

The Mission Impossible franchise is a bit of an oddball compared to it’s peers. It places emphasis on practical stunt-work rather than cgi-effects for it’s action set pieces and it shows little regard to it’s own continuity beyond some reoccurring elements. Yet with Fallout, returning Director Christopher McQuarrie and Lead Tom Cruise have delivered a statement as to why it’s oddities make the films under it’s brand a joy to watch, and in doing so made what could be considered their best film yet.

The plot, as expected, is standard fare for this series. Ethan Hunt and his IMF team are once again attempting to save the world by recovering three cases of plutonium from the  straw-man anarchist organization, The Apostles, who desire to make use of nuclear bombs with said plutonium. Like the other plots in the series, it only serves facilitate the action scenes and character interactions. And it is the latter that especially rises to the occasion, with Simon Pegg’s Benji providing some wonderful comedic moments as his tech-savvy is stressed under the action around him and Ving Rhames Luther delivering a heart-warming demeanor. This dynamic between these is best highlighted by a classical spy-movie double cross scene towards the midpoint and a bomb diffusion scene near the end, the latter which deftly balancing moments of light banter with the tension inherent to the situation. The returning Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust also equips herself well as the feminine counterpart of Ethan Hunt and newcomer Henry Cavill’s Walker also instills a great feeling of intimidation.

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Of course, all these actors efforts goes to facilitating the actions of Tom Cruises famous role, Ethan Hunt. The movie revolves around him, and it is in this focus that Christopher McQuarrie continues his exploration of Ethan Hunt’s character. In Rogue Nation, Hunt’s obsessiveness towards his job and the harm it brings others and himself was on full display. Fallout however concludes that the reason Ethan continues to do this is a sense of grandiose responsibility towards others given his abilities, exemplified in the film by repeatedly refusing to sacrifice a teammate or innocent to accomplish his goals. This makes his rivalry with Walker much more poignant while also giving the audience reassurance of Ethan’s inherent goodness.

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This reassurance invites the audience to be swept up in the marvelous action on screen, which is the film’s primary concern. This film contains Cruise’s best stunt work to date, including such sequences as a H.A.L.O jump, free running through the rooftops of Paris, and hanging off of a helicopter in flight. Being an actor, Cruise is once again able to give these sequences a sense of stress and emotion, allowing the cinematographers to capturing his emoting face. When accompanied by Christopher McQuarrie tendencies towards cinematic realism, it grounds the action scenes and makes the intense acts on screen seem all the more remarkable.

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Strung together by excellent pacing and light character banter, MI:Fallout distinctly understands the core appeal of an action film; it’s potential to sweep an audience into it’s cinematic flow and awe them with death-defying acts of heroism thats sates our internal desires towards grandiosity. It’s may be a simple aim, but it doesn’t make it any less masterful when it is done well. MI:Fallout is such an accomplishment, making it a mission you should choose to accept.

Rating: 5 / 5

 

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