How many more missions can they accept? Was what I was thinking before Tom Cruise’s latest stunt-driven Mission: Impossible. In all honesty, Ethan Hunt and the IMF always seem to drop off my radar despite them being great action flicks and I was initially going to give this film a pass. But with the recent reports of Mission: Impossible – Fallout being the action film of the year, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. For the past two Mission: Impossible films they seemed to capitalize on your attention by drawing you in with its renowned stunts rather than the mission. Thankfully they’ve grown from this and what we have is a thrill-ride of seemingly impossible scenarios that you stay glued to.
Even those who have followed the Mission: Impossible films are going to be taken back by how many changes have been made to the traditional formula. Exploring new territory to a film franchise whose tone has gone relatively unchanged already peaks my interest and blows away any built-up thoughts. Fallout determines to be a more brutal action film whilst also having the same undertone humour with the nature of having fun with the story. Director Christopher McQuarrie who also directed Rogue Nation knows exactly when and where to place each intended feel so that the film is lucid and free-flowing. Look no further than the first fist fight of the film where there is no presence of non-diagetic music, just the raw brutality of punch after punch. Overall this gives the scene more of a bite and because we can hear the punches clearly, with no interruptions, it also gets us thinking about how they would feel.
Tom Cruise as the iconic Ethan Hunt is the obvious star of the show and thank goodness he put his performance in The Mummy behind him, however, he may have some competition from Henry Cavill as August Walker. Yes, my friends, the moustache was worth it, as Cavill is both physically dominant and engaging, it’s probably the best performance he’s given in his career.
What impresses me more and more about the Mission: Impossible films is how much larger they can go in scope, and not just in the stunts. The action is given a significant boost and the tension in the climactic scenes is greater than ever before, but how has it done this? One contribution to this is taking a character out of his/her purpose and placing them in a position almost unknown to them. For instance, Simon Pegg’s character Benji is typically the man in the van, the one behind the computer, in this film, however, he spends the majority of his time in the field dealing the big threat head-on instead of on the sidelines. Taking characters out of their comfort zone not only gives the audience an even further insight into the character but having them tackle situations unknown to them making the race against the clock factor all the more apprehensive.
Now, of course, we have the stunts which are in one word, fantastic. Every big stunt feels like the climactic sequence to any other action film. the cinematography captures many of these stunts in their entirety as Fallout chooses the one take style that is so popular these days. This technique feels perfect for some stunts but not for others. Stunts that happen in the now like the fantastic lightning storm parachute scene are remarkable in both tension and presentation. However, when it came to premonition scenes like convoy scene in Paris it didn’t work as well as it should have, the minimal cuts in the scene made it feel more of a real event rather than a “could be” scenario.
I will admit that finding any criticism of Mission: Impossible Fallout was a challenge because of the surprise enjoyment I was feeling, nevertheless I could have done with a bit more breathing space in between the action. After an action scene, audiences need to soak in what they have just witnessed so that the scene can be appreciated, Mission: Impossible Fallout impatiently sprints from one action scene to another with the gap between these scenes being so minimal that the audience can’t even admire the films awesomeness. The impatience of the writing is not a heavy weight on the film but a weight nonetheless.
Although we see Ethan Hunt the stuntman, we never get to see much of Ethan Hunt the man. His personal life away from the IMF is as broad as it ever was, we go get a lovely reunion scene, but it never seems to go anywhere deeper into his character, which leaves me to believe that Ethan Hunt’s character is at a roadblock, there is nowhere for him to go except for more extreme stunts.
These are the odd, seemingly minor setback to what is ultimately the best action film of the year, the phrase nail-biting suspense has become literal with what McQuarrie has accomplished. The Mission: Impossible franchise has been given a facelift that we never knew it needed and I’m glad that it did so that we wouldn’t get tired of the same formula. It has everything you could ask for in an action film, well-choreographed stunts, an intense race against time narrative and Tom Cruise proving there are no limits to what he will agree to do. I have made a promise to myself that when the inevitable next Mission: Impossible film releases, I will be paying very close attention, no more will this film series be under my radar.
Final Result: 9/10 – Excellent
Have you seen Mission: Impossible Fallout? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Ant-Man and The Wasp