Review – ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ weaponises Tom Cruise’s madness

Luke Stevenson is one of the hosts of The Popcorn Muncher Podcast. He is only serious about Bee Movie.

Poster for 2018 action sequel Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Genre: Action
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 25th July 2018
Runtime: 147 minutes
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby
Synopsis: Ethan Hunt and his IMF team must track down three plutonium spheres that have fallen into the hands of a terrorist cell.

 

 

Six movies into any long-running series is a stressful point for any viewer, anxious about potentially dipping quality and franchise fatigue. However, with extended universes, decade-spanning plots and an overall sense of seriousness populating summer screens, to see Mission: Impossible continue its reinvention as the world’s most reliably fun dose of popcorn cinema is a much-needed breath of fresh air amidst the sweltering summer heat. Fallout is a glorious ode to the excesses of the 1980s and 1990s action movies that its initial instalment was so important in leaving behind.

Coming just two years after True Lies – possibly the most egregious and best example of violent excess carried out with a wink at the camera – Brian De Palma’s initial Mission: Impossible movie was a step away from comically extravagant action and caricatures and a step toward the Bourne franchise that in itself led to the eventual reinvention of Bond. But where Bond has left behind its past excess, Mission: Impossible is now more than ready to pick up the mantle. Its knowing respect to great action movie clichés is able to give it a wide berth from the seriousness of modern blockbusters and to focus purely on entertainment.

The Mission: Impossible franchise’s revolving door of self-contained stories and new directors has held it up as something unique in the current franchise era, but this time around, that has changed. Director Christopher McQuarrie is back and Ethan Hunt’s team are picking up the pieces after the events of Rogue Nation. Sean Harris also returns as Solomon Lane, whose broken Syndicate organisation is now trying to organise nuclear strikes that could achieve the aims of causing a great suffering before ushering in a new world order.

Fallout is primarily about its set pieces and the commitment of its actors, but it is not flawless. The opening is slow, there is the now customary scene in the middle where people try to explain the plot and it becomes incomprehensibly confusing, and there’s a car chase that just feels like a wall of engine noise for a good half an hour. However, the traditional crosses and double crosses are good fun and, when the set pieces pop, they are truly remarkable. The energy and fun that McQuarrie and Tom Cruise bring to the screen can be felt throughout, and as a result it’s tough not to get infected by the clear joy they are having in getting to make a franchise that’s primarily about dangling Cruise from things.

Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames bring the laughs as Cruise’s able sidekicks, and Alec Baldwin is great value as every action movie boss you’ve ever watched, turning up when he fancies in order to dump some drawling exposition before leaving again. Henry Cavill’s addition to the cast, as a mysterious CIA assassin forced upon the group, is a welcome new element, and it’s great to see Cavill play in a sandbox that suits his talents – snarling, powerful, arrogant and with a great eye for comic timing.

Such is the intoxicating effect of Fallout’s commitment to wowing its viewers that you can forgive it its failings, of which there are a few. Rebecca Ferguson feels like a spare part and, for large swathes of the movie, McQuarrie seems to forget that we’re here for the fun set pieces and not for meandering side-plots through Paris. However, when the final act starts, and the climactic 15-minute race against time kicks off in earnest, you’re having so much fun that it’s almost impossible to care.

 

Pop or Poop?

Rating: Pop!

Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie are an action cinema dream team and the set pieces they cook up in Mission: Impossible – Fallout are up there with the best of the franchise. However, it’s the story in between those breakneck sequences that falls somewhat flat and drags down the momentum of the movie throughout its rather lengthy two and a half hour running time.

Six entries in, the Mission: Impossible franchise continues to be hugely entertaining and, as long as Cruise continues his fearless march towards a fiery death, it will remain an impressive ride.

 

Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

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