Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Genre: Action and Spy Running Time: 2 hrs. 27 min.

Release Date: July 27th, 2018 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Christopher McQuarrie Actors: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin

 


 

A

fter megalomaniacal terrorist Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) was apprehended several years ago by the IMF, a new threat has emerged in his place. In their leader’s absence, his underlings have formed the “Apostles,” a mysterious group of mercenaries hellbent on continuing in their madman commander’s footsteps. When renounced scientist Nils Delbruuk’s (Kristoffer Joner) designs for a complex set of nuclear bombs are uncovered, the IMF team, including Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), must intercept the three plutonium spheres intended for the weapons before they fall into the wrong hands. When the mission sours, the CIA assigns arrogant agent August Walker (Henry Cavill) to accompany the IMF on their next task of locating the missing radioactive metal. As the group tracks their prize to cunning arms dealer “White Widow” (Vanessa Kirby) and elusive assassin John Lark, they engage in a treacherous chase across the globe where a second failure would mean the deaths of millions.

Since the series is already six feature films deep, it’s not surprising that this latest entry begins with a number of references to the previous chapters, without much explanation for anyone not caught up. Clearly, the filmmakers aren’t too concerned with gaining fresh fans; instead, they’re hoping to keep the existing enthusiasts who can’t get enough of impossible missions (accomplished always in the nick of time, just as the world is about to succumb to a nuclear holocaust – or within a split second as a bullet is diverted, a knife thrust is blocked, or a parachute needs to open to avoid splattering the heroes across landmarks). To the film’s credit, even with all of the repetition, it definitely lives up to its name.

The extremist splinter cell that has been causing troubles for Hunt and his team sounds a lot like James Bond’s SPECTRE, but the last few “Mission: Impossible” entries have managed to avoid the utter dreariness that has been consuming 007 of late. Here, there’s a sensational blend of humor and action, refraining from dismal severity yet staying well out of the range of campy. Hunt probably needs to be willing to kill his enemies more often, but his reluctance enables him to be a clearcut hero, which is refreshing amidst the more common antiheroes that pervade cinemas. And though several of the early ruses aren’t terribly clever, particularly as the 3D-printed faces that everyone dons hints at the likelihood of switches, the plot doesn’t go overboard with the mug-swapping, even though the dialogue makes the grave error of pointing out the signature silliness of this franchise. “The IMF is Halloween: a bunch of grown men in rubber masks playing trick or treat,” huffs the CIA chief, Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett).

Believable tech makes an appearance as well, aiming to offset the sci-fi components, highlighted by altitude gear, tracking devices, and computer readouts. The cloak-and-dagger elements also escalate, allowing the story to rely on spy games just as much as the action, despite Ethan’s successes always depending on plenty of luck. “Hope is not a strategy!” Infiltrations, ambushes, extractions, surveilling, tailing, assassins, globetrotting, and shootouts make their standard appearances, too, rounding out – and perhaps needlessly prolonging – the adventure.

One of the film’s greatest strengths, however, is that sense of adventure, especially when the stuntwork ensures that Tom Cruise’s features are very much visible for the majority of the shots. His notable dedication to performing his own stunts is admirable, as well as convincing, though most audiences will probably fail to realize just how much effort and pain went into the final product. Martial arts fights are tense, while heists are nicely chaotic (one sequence artistically removes all sounds and sound effects for a welcome change of pace) and the protracted chase scenes are mesmerizing (the bulk of the second act is little more than a chase that segues into another chase that segues into yet another chase, frequently changing speeds, locations, and even modes of transportation). But it’s the finale that really steals the show, making the best of editing and cuts to distract viewers from the fact that virtually every one of the IMF’s tasks boils down to the diffusing of a bomb. And the music is once again outstanding, bolstering every sequence with the right amount of verve.

– The Massie Twins

  • 7/10


The Mission: Impossible Franchise


Mission: Impossible (1996)

Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)

Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)