MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT
REVIEW: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT
Running Length: 147 minutes
Release Date: 27th July 2018
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson
Written by: Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman
Cinematography: Rob Hardy
``some of the most incredible action ever committed to screen``
In our culture of intellectual properties that get milked until the box office takings dry up and the husk is eventually thrown away, the Mission: Impossible franchise is unique. With endless sequels and diminishing returns as far as the eye can see, Mission Impossible seems to get consistently better with every subsequent entry. Apart from the John Woo one. That was pure muck.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout more or less follows the thread laid down by 2015’s Rogue Nation. For once, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has not been disavowed and the IMF remains a going concern. Nutty anarchist Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) is under lock and key, but a group of “Apostles” led by the mysterious “John Lark” have knicked three plutonium cores and plan on doing very bad things with them. Faster than you can say, “the asset is in play” Hunt is off, chasing the bad guys and errant plutonium through Belfast, London, Paris, and Berlin (everybody talk about pop muzik).
As plots go, it’s not so much Mission: Impossible as Mission: Impossible-to-Follow. This is flimsy stuff. It doesn’t look good with all the lights on, and probably best not to dwell on it for too long, else you start asking yourself “why doesn’t he just walk in through the front door?” Not that any of this matters. The story is just an excuse to get from one signature stunt to the next. Of course it’s utterly ridiculous and cheesy as hell, but Fallout is a blast from start to finish. Every trick and cliché in the action thriller playbook gets an airing. Driving a motorbike at speed against Paris traffic? Check. A race against countdown to nuclear detonation? Check. Cruise and Henry Cavill sharing a cubicle in a public toilet? Oh, check.
Returning director Christopher McQuarrie (this is the first time that a director has been allowed a second turn at the Impossible buffet) guides every shot with a diamond sharp clarity of purpose. Not a second is wasted. Christopher Nolan’s influence looms large, and The Dark Knight is an obvious touchstone. Lorne Balfe’s (a frequent Hans Zimmer collaborator) huge exhilarating score doubles down on the comparison. And why not? If you’re going to steal, steal from the best.
It’s an achievement in itself that this sixth entry shows no signs of franchise fatigue. On the contrary, not only does Fallout contain some of the best sequences of the series so far, but it genuinely achieves some of the most incredible action ever committed to screen. If I wasn’t reflecting on the complexity of Cruise’s personal liability insurance, then I just had to laugh at the absurdity of the events unfolding before my windblown melty eyeballs. No amount of flashy CG will ever substitute practical stuntwork, in-camera effects, and a lead actor that puts himself right in the centre of the action. You can’t fake this. Say what you like about Cruise, but he is exceptional value for money. It’s impossible to be cynical about his commitment.
Now 56, it remains to be seen how much longer Cruise can keep this up. To put this in context, take another look at A View to a Kill. Roger Moore was 57 when he shot his last Bond, and he looked every second of it. I have no doubt that Cruise is capable of making as many more of these as he wants. Hopefully he doesn’t kill himself in the process.