a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT musing
*SPOILER SECTION AT THE VERY BOTTOM*
Tom Cruise is a crazy person. The MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise is proof of that fact, as shown by his willingness to actually put his life on the line for the sake of an action stunt and entertainment. Cruise, for the sixth time, plays Ethan Hunt, an American version of James Bond, if the latter were less suave, wore less tuxedos and didn’t believe in failure. Hunt thrives on an inherent need to accomplish a mission and will eventually figure out a plan, no matter how close to catastrophe he and his team gets. The team is really put to the test in FALLOUT, but they all come ready to save the world and the actors are all in, as well.
Most of the previous installments were relatively unconnected story-wise, but FALLOUT plays as if it were ROGUE NATION 2. Most of the characters from ROGUE NATION (the fifth in the franchise) return to prevent nuclear catastrophe. The story, of course, takes twists and turns, but story mostly takes a backseat to the spectacle and thrills the series has to offer. Rebecca Ferguson and Simon Pegg are great as they reprise their roles, but regrettably have less emotional stakes than in the last movie, with the former having less to play with overall. Ving Rhames gets to have fun and actually do some acting in an emotionally charged scene.
As expected and as usual, Tom Cruise gets the bulk of story and emotional beats. He also does his own stunts, with this movie including a HALO (High Altitude, Low Opening) jump into Paris, which they actually did, and I’m more impressed with the cameraman who jumped backwards out of that plane; running across buildings in London, including the brutal shot of Tom Cruise literally breaking his ankle on the side of a building before pulling himself up and continuing the shot; and flying solo in a helicopter, after he learned how to do so over months. There’s a whole host of other stunts he did here, and these stunts are so crazy that they become unintentionally hilarious; I found myself laughing in disbelief just thinking how much planning went into each shot and just how maniacal Cruise is. He is definitely a crazy person, but he does it for our entertainment, and there’s something so beautiful about that.
In an age of CGI blockbusters, it’s refreshing to see this kind of real spectacle. And yes, there are plenty of digital artists involved in the making of this movie, and I’m sure they were there to touch up certain scenes, but you can tell they really filmed in Paris and London.
In the end, FALLOUT is something else to behold, with a solid screenplay that really tests Ethan Hunt and his team. Its few problems (that I will address in spoiler section below) didn’t lessen an extraordinary experience that is so effective in how it is so affecting. I can’t wait to see what comes next in this franchise!
RATING: BEST OF THE BEST
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)
Judging from the marketing and the way the cast spoke about it, it seemed like FALLOUT would be the last MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE film to feature Tom Cruise. It looked like the personal and emotional stakes for Ethan Hunt would be way too much to overcome, and he would relinquish his status in the IMF. Because of that, I was ready for either the death of Hunt or him walking away from the IMF.
Looking at the way Hunt receives his main mission in each movie, the technology regresses somewhat through the series. (VHS tape in 1, glasses in 2, disposable camera in 3, payphone in 4, vinyl record in 5.) In FALLOUT, he gets his mission via a tape within a book, one of the first forms of media. You can’t go further back than a book, so it’s reasonable to assume that this would be the end. On top of that, the book is The Odyssey, which is about coming home. All signs led to this, but alas it wasn’t to be. Was this a deliberate diversion of expectations or an oversight? Probably the former, so I kinda respect it, but am also let down, since I honestly can’t say where the franchise goes from here.
Rebecca Ferguson’s character, Ilsa Faust, also repeats the same arc, in a way, from ROGUE NATION and its impact is lessened. I was also pretty confused at how the Henry Cavill reveal worked out, but was able to sort of reason it out after.