I’m a big fan of action films. I really enjoy watching them, even those that are terrible. Well, maybe except Die Hard 5 (which, as any Die Hard fan knows, doesn’t exist), but that’s another topic for another day. Today, let’s talk about a good action blockbuster, Mission Impossible: Fallout, the sixth instalment in the well-known saga starring Tom Cruise. This is yet another review that’s terribly late due to the long hiatus in the blog, but I just couldn’t skip a movie that I’ve enjoyed so thoroughly. In fact, I watched it twice when it was first released, which is a good sign on its own! Now that I’ve just viewed it for a third time, it feels like the right time to wonder what makes this not only the best film in the series, but one of the best action flicks of recent years. Let’s find out!
When the Apostles, led by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), plan to launch three simultaneous nuclear attacks, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team IMF will have to deal with the threat, but not by themselves. CIA agent August Walker (Henry Cavill and his world-famous moustache) will be there with them, but won’t necessarily give a helping hand as his agency’s agenda will make things complicated.
Fallout is much more than the average action-packed film. It’s a modern take on spy movies, packed with intelligent twists and turns. Two and a half hours of complex, compelling plot points presented with clever foreshadowing that doesn’t treat the audience like dumb people. There are indeed some twists that can be guessed, but even those are revealed in refreshing ways to keep everyone engaged. However, it must be said that this results in a slightly convoluted plot that requires quite a lot of attention in order to understand every single detail, so those looking for a movie to watch with their brains turned off may find it a bit too complicated.
As every entry in the Mission Impossible franchise, this sixth volume has some stunning set-pieces that range from high-speed chases to sky-diving to extremely physical brawls. Trust me, I don’t say this without having thought about it for a long time: every single of these scenes is the best it could have been. I can’t picture a better version of the motorcycle chase than the one we got. Same goes for the sky-diving and the melee fights. I truly believe that director McQuarrie delivered the perfect Mission Impossible film, with not a single weak moment in the whole runtime. Some may think that these set-pieces aren’t all that original since we’ve all seen versions of them before, but all of them are taken to a new level thanks to the extreme craftsmanship McQuarrie boasts. Just as an example, the parachute scene is one continuous shot. Pretty f*****g fantastic, If you ask me.
As you may have guessed, special effects are very convincing in Fallout. Cruise, as we all know, is one of the best actors working in action films today, and that’s in part due to his extensive stunt work. Whenever an extreme jump is required, he is there to perform it himself. He makes scenes more believable and engaging. Cavill does a great job here too, specially during hand-to-hand combat moments in which his physicality alone is able to raise the stakes. The brawl mentioned earlier, which happens during the first third in a bathroom, is mesmerising to watch, as every strike sounds, looks and feels real. CGI does get a bit poor at times, particularly in the last set-piece involving helicopters, which is a shame.
The rest of the cast is very good too, which includes Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris… And Simon Pegg. I just love Pegg! He delivers the quirky jokes we know him for and serves as the comic relief character, and does so with the success we’re so getting used to. The humour is definitely not subtle in Mission Impossible, but doesn’t feel overwhelming either. It is delivered every now and then with situational puns that don’t feel forced nor lower the emotional impact of what’s being presented. It’s balanced in a way that makes the whole experience lighter and more enjoyable yet completely thrilling at all times.
Cinematography looks great, specially considering the very different-looking places the story is located in. The film was shot in five different countries, it depicts cities, snowy mountains and more, and light looks amazing all the time. 35mm film was used in the production instead of taking the digital route as most movies do these days, and that’s quite obvious due to how grainy the picture looks most of the time, but the story doesn’t end there. At certain close-up shots, the image is ever so slightly out of focus, which results in a softer image that may result distracting if watched on a very large screen. I don’t think it’s a major issue in the grand scheme of things, but it definitely detracts from the presentation, so it’s particularly frustrating when it happens in the very last shots.
All in all, I can’t stop recommending Mission Impossible: Fallout to everyone. I’ve loved it every single time and found something I had failed to realise in previous watches. Definitely the most thrilling experience of the year so far, it had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Not only a masterclass on action film-making, but one of the best movies in that genre ever, too… Should you choose to accept it. 10/10