Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Starring – Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames
The Plot – The best intentions often come back to haunt you. The newest film in the Mission Impossible franchise finds Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his IMF team (Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames) along with some familiar allies (Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan) in a race against time after a mission gone wrong.
Rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action, and for brief strong adult language
– Enthralling musical score by Lorne Balfe. What is so subtle, yet effective with her tones is that she uses the familiar Mission Impossible theme chords, but does so in a way that slowly drifts away from that familiarity to create an entirely new piece of music. Throughout the many fast-paced scenes that fill the film, Lorne casts extra emphasis in the moment, and I don’t think these scenes would accomplish the urgency that they attain without her masterful touch.
– This feels like the first Mission Impossible film that feels like a synthetic sequel to that of the previous film, and a lot of that rests on McQuarrie’s influence in story and character development that gives the series more depth than ever before. Beyond the return of a few cherished characters from previous movies, the whole plot of ‘Fallout’ rests on the aftermath of ‘Rogue Nation’, serving as the perfect companion piece that feels like the effect from such a world-defining cause. Christopher was the ideal choice to continue this series, and I hope he has a hand in future installments.
– Meticulously crafted action sequences. Relying on the very realism aspect that so many other action films don’t capture anymore, ‘Fallout’ prides itself on letting the set pieces and resulting actions tell the story of its danger. Because of such, we have a finer appreciation for the craft that doesn’t require big budget computer generated effects, or an overall lack of emphasis of danger in the air. Now if they can just do away with the face-pulling gag.
– Strong work by an ensemble cast of all star A-listers that have become a family of sorts. Much valued here is how everyone brings with them their best work, regardless if the role is big or small. There wasn’t a single character who feels miscast or underwhelming at the very least, instead presenting us with above expectation work for Cavill, Angela Basset, and especially Alec Baldwin as the brains behind the operation. Like franchises like ‘The Fast and Furious’, we’ve come to expect these characters in every film, and it’s carried with it an indisputable chemistry between the trio of Cruise, Ving Rhames, and Simon Pegg that adds a much necessary layer of fun to the smothering danger that surrounds them
– The stunt work by Cruise deserves a mention in itself. Known for decades for doing his own stunt work, Tom proves why he is the last real action star of a past era that prided itself on gritty risks attaining great rewards. Throughout the film, there is no shortage of Cruise whipping himself off of motorcycle chases, jumping between buildings, and hanging off of a helicopter that is flying thousands of feet above the ground. Whether you like or dislike Cruise as a person, you have to respect how this guy has continued to never let a number define what he can do, and even at the age of 56, is still unmatched in action resume.
– Relentless camera work that stays persistent without settling for compromise. I can’t be thankful enough that cinematographer Rob Hardy never requires the cheap gimmick of shaking camera effects to never pull the feeling of adrenaline that runs throughout the film. Beyond this, the camera moves in a way that stalks the characters and automobiles in a way that doesn’t limit the twists and turns in their choreographed patterns. These are very well planned out sequences that make it that much easier to immerse ourselves in the unraveling moments of tension required to care about the characters.
– Variety in exotic European shooting locations that speak volumes to the concepts of global terrorism that so much of the movie centers on. Beautiful wonder in establishing shots, combined with the obvious differences in their landscapes, pushes the Mission Impossible series to the very levels that only James Bond has treaded on. It proves that no cent was spared in production, and no opportunity wasted in capturing that big budget perks that come with six successful films.
– Earned consequences are established with the rising of the stakes. Ethan’s vulnerability plays a large part in this direction. We feel weak in the knees because we see the reaction that Cruise dons every time he attempts a death-defying feat, proving that mortality trumps immortality any day when it comes to mastering uncertainty in your audience. The eloquent sound design shouldn’t be overlooked for its raging intensity that amplifies the higher the story moves in elevation.
– Despite smooth pacing and minimal lag time, there is still simply too much material inserted into this bloated script. This film clocks in at nearly two-and-a-half-hours, and while that might not seem like a big deal because of the things I mentioned above, much of the exposition can be divided and put into earlier scenes. My biggest problem is that the film tries to make itself out to be smarter than it actually is, never requiring a full 142 minutes to tell THIS story. Two hours even would maintain more of that energy, while adding great replay value to its mastery.
– My hate for the intro credit sequence in this film magnifies the greater the film becomes. In this musical montage of visual text, we are treated to THIS film’s best moments of action to treat viewers to what’s coming up. Besides the fact that these scene reveals don’t make sense chronologically because we haven’t experienced them yet, my main problem is that it spoils the best moments of each scene without reluctance, and does so in a way that is asinine when there were other directions to go with it. For one, why not just show scenes from the previous Mission Impossible installments? Make it an Ethan’s greatest hits collection before facing his most arduous challenge.