Mission: Impossible – Fallout Review

The majority of today’s big blockbusters lean on gratuitous levels of digital effects and apocalyptic levels of conflict in which the world—nay, the universe—hangs in the balance. The heroes are impervious, the villains all-powerful and the action so detached from reality (and physics) that we leave the theater jaded. Meanwhile, the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, now six films deep, has quietly been churning out the decade’s most consistently entertaining and exciting action movies.

It’s laughable to think of Tom Cruise as Hollywood’s best kept secret, yet while the world ogles a bevy of younger gentlemen named Chris (Pratt, Hemsworth, Evans, etc.), Cruise is wrapping up his fourth decade of making audiences and feel and believe in the action and thereby the magic of movies. Ethan Hunt is proving to be the pinnacle of his powers with each successful entry, and “Fallout” is no exception.

The “Mission: Impossible” formula is beyond overexposed to this point, but that has yet to undermine it. Oscar-winner Christopher McQuarrie, who earned a return to script and directorial duties after 2015’s “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” finds new ways to deploy the franchise’s hallmarks, especially the facial duplication technology. The script keeps us continually on our toes with surprises that will fool viewers.

Left to right: Henry Cavill as August Walker, Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt and Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT, from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.

The film also balances cunning with brute force. The addition of a mustachioed slab of meat in Henry Cavill a.k.a. Superman to go along with Cruise and the return of Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust makes for a visually dynamic array of screen combat styles and consequently more interesting storytelling through action. And of course there is plenty of Cruise doing his own stunts, a gift to any director who wants to make a film with unforgettable action shots.

McQuarrie definitely pushes the limits of how outlandish a stunt or action series can get before losing our suspension of disbelief, but he and this franchise have earned it. If the characters and story line were weak, the improbability of a given action sequence pulling us out of the moment would be understandably high. McQuarrie dazzles us for two hours that he can afford to push the envelope in that regard in the film’s climactic scene, and it even becomes part of the fun. After all, you’ve got to make Cruise work for Ethan Hunt’s “see, you should’ve bet on me” moment.

“Fallout” isn’t necessarily the best of the 2010-era “M:I” films (though I won’t argue with anyone who says it is), but it doubtless proves that this franchise has all the best pieces and practices indicative of the best action movies. That each successive entry has continually avoided signs of fatigue or falling out of fashion is an accomplishment that elevates the quality of the entire series. “Ghost Protocol” and “Rogue Nation” are better films for “Fallout” exceeding the bar just as they did.

The cream finds its way to the top, and there will officially be no underestimating the seventh “Mission: Impossible” whenever it arrives.


4/5 Stars


Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Written and Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg


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