Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Running Time: 147 mins
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is an American film and the sixth in the Mission: Impossible series. After a botched undercover operation, Ethan Hunt and the IMF are left in desperation as they race against time to undo a potentially catastrophic mistake.
The original Mission: Impossible was released 22 years ago. So, for a franchise to be hitting new heights and still feel refreshing and so exhilarating is an achievement that cannot be understated. With jaw-dropping action sequences to rival the all-time greats, directorial ambition and style the likes of which you see nowhere else in the blockbuster genre, and a story with such depth and intrigue, Mission: Impossible – Fallout surpasses all expectations you could possibly have for a mere action blockbuster, proving itself not only as a thrilling time at the movies, but actually somewhat of a movie masterpiece.
As we’ve seen since 2011, this franchise has been through a renaissance like few others, with the spectacular Ghost Protocol thrilling audiences across the world, and Rogue Nation going even further with the entertainment factor, both proving to be massively entertaining action movies that stand easily as some of the genre’s best. I’m a fan of all the movies in the series, but those two are what really highlight my love for this franchise: bold, slick, intriguing and most importantly fun-filled action extravaganzas that you really don’t see all that often nowadays.
For this sixth edition of the series to be any better, I couldn’t believe what more could be done. However, the truly thrilling thing about Mission: Impossible – Fallout is that it uses the most exhilarating aspects of the series formula as part of a wider scheme to tell a really impressive and exciting story, brilliantly balancing a love for big action set-pieces with ingenious writing, directing and acting.
What’s most notable about Fallout is how it takes a slightly more serious turn when it comes to the overall atmosphere of the movie. Both Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation were stunning action films that put an enormous smile on my face, but Fallout is something completely different, somehow managing to take one of the simplest and most well-known premises and entirely reinvent it to have real depth and meaning.
Some lauded how Casino Royale reinvented the spy genre, but what it lacked for me was the charisma of a fun-loving action movie. That’s the other thing that really impresses me about Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Yes, it is a far more serious and often poignant affair, but there are still all of those fun blockbuster vibes that have made the best of the series so enjoyable and memorable, something that helps the whole film come together as one beautifully exhilarating piece, and one that flies by in what certainly does not feel like a full two and a half hours.
Above all, I absolutely adore how Christopher McQuarrie directs action films. His use of steady, slick cinematography is integral to the film’s wow factor, while his trademark of action sequences set to natural background noises – not impeded by any musical soundtrack – is indicative of how bold and committed he is to making great action for the big screen, reminiscent of some of the best scenes in Jack Reacher, and a further development of the exhilarating style used in Rogue Nation three years ago.
What’s most striking to me, however, is that the scene from this movie that stands out most in my mind isn’t even an action sequence. While the film is filled to the brim with heart-racing stunts (the likes of which you genuinely will not believe you’re seeing), the poignant atmosphere that McQuarrie gives the film is its most striking characteristic; beautifully summed up in a simple, slow-moving but elegant and moving pursuit sequence through the streets of Paris. It’s brief, but there’s a lot of meaning packed into it, and McQuarrie’s direction is what makes it so truly impressive to witness, in a way unlike I’ve ever seen before.
And that brings me onto the story, which is another element that goes far beyond what you’d expect from a film like this. Of course, with most spy films, there’s intrigue, deception and thrills, but I’ve never watched one with as much drama and unpredictability as this. With the exception of a (still exhilarating) finale that doesn’t quite have the depth of the opening two hours, the majority of this film is a fiercely riveting watch, with the end of the first act in particular featuring such depth and unpredictability that I was left watching with my jaw wide open, all the while utterly enthralled as we see various character manoeuvring around amidst vague allegiances and complex dealings.
It’s not a story that’s there to give you any sort of deep, social commentary, nor is it there to be setting the Oscars alight, but what the screenplay does here is hook you right from the start, and take you on a ride that’s as deeply dramatic as it is big and exciting, which I was absolutely blown away by.
Finally, we come to the performances. Much like the previous two films, all of the leads do a fantastic job here, with Rebecca Ferguson once again excelling in one of the most engrossing roles you’ll see in a blockbuster, Simon Pegg proving just as entertaining as always, while Ving Rhames and even Alec Baldwin bring striking drama and depth to characters that would be sidelined as mere sidekicks in most films.
Henry Cavill is also thrilling to watch as a CIA operative brought in to supervise the IMF’s mission, but as ever, it’s Tom Cruise that really sets the film alight. Not only is he as effortlessly charismatic and endlessly exciting to watch as always, but it’s his ambition and outright bravery in performing the stunts you see on screen that’s most incredible. I won’t spoil anything, but if you think that the stunts Cruise has managed to pull off up to this point were impressive, then your mind will be blown watching this film, all filmed in beautiful fashion right the way through to make up a truly fantastic action movie.
Overall, I was absolutely awestruck by Mission: Impossible – Fallout. As a franchise that I already adore, for things to be hitting heights like these 22 years in is absolutely incredible, as the movie stuns with beautiful directing, excellent performances, exceptional action sequences, and a story that goes far beyond the call of duty for an action movie, all coming together to provide two and a half hours of non-stop thrills that never miss a beat, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.8.