Mission: Impossible – Fallout might just be the best film of the summer! Like a nice fine wine that has aged gracefully, this series just keeps getting better and better. In a way, this series has taken off ever since JJ Abrams came on-board to direct Mission: Impossible III (he has stayed on as producer since). This is a film that somehow manages to outdo each action sequence it builds on and with every minute, slowly shows the great madness that Tom Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (who returns from 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, a first for the series) has in store for us. This film goes past nourishing your cinematic needs and leaves you yearning for more! It demands you see this on the biggest IMAX screen possible.
In a nutshell, the film takes place two years after the events of Rogue Nation and the successful capture of Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). After a deal goes south, the IMF team loses a case of three plutonium balls. A group called the Apostles, who spun-off from The Syndicate (the organization that we were introduced to the previous film), plan to detonate them in three cities, causing nuclear destruction. Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team, Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) must find the missing plutonium case before its too late while being forced to work with CIA Agent August Walker (Henry Cavill), who has been ordered by CIA Director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) to find the case by any means necessary. As they track down the missing plutonium, Hunt and his team once again cross paths with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who has orders that go directly against what IMF is trying to accomplish.
One of the ways that this film succeeds is that McQuarrie decided to make a more direct sequel than previous films in the franchise, while still, for the most part, having this entry stand on its own. McQuarrie does a good job in bringing in various threads from the past films together, while also having some fun nods to the first two films. For all the twists and turns that the story brings us, McQuarrie writes it so that it’s easy to understand the situation Hunt and his team are in. McQuarrie doesn’t overload you, and there’s no expositional dump, but instead he spaces it out so that you get the information when you need it.
Character building is strong in this one. For the first time in a long time, you feel more connected with the core group of characters. The chemistry between Cruise, Rhames, and Pegg is great! The humor lands when needed. In a sense, the subtitle has both a literal and figurative meaning, in that the threat of nuclear fallout, and figuratively, the fallout of the choices and past actions Ethan has made throughout the course of this series.
Acting wise, Cruise continues to bring his all to the series. There’s no doubt that with this franchise, he has found his groove. Even more so with his facial expressions and body language, you can see the wear and tear that Ethan has endured for all these years, including some of the choices he had to choose. While not as charming as he was in 2015’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I liked what Cavill brought to the table as Walker. The dynamic of how Ethan and Walker approach what needs to be accomplished is noteworthy. (While I will say, Cavill is certainly more memorable in this than most of his appearances as Clark Kent/Superman in the DC films). Rhames has more to do this time, and Ferguson still delivers emotionally on what Ilsa has to deal with throughout the course of the film.
For being the longest film in the series at 147 minutes, the pacing was quite good. We’re talking not look at your watch good! With each passing minute, you’re waiting to see what’s next. The real reason you’re reading this is get a feel for the action sequences, and let me tell you this: just when you think the action can’t top itself, it does. The practical stunts in the films are amazing to watch, and you can’t believe how much they were able to pull off. There are no over-edits on the action, and McQuarrie and his editor, Joe Hamilton, make the action easy to follow! The geographical location of the action scenes are well staged. Some of the action scenes, particularly the bathroom scene, are particularly brutal (and for how committed Cruise is, they left the take in of him breaking his ankle and the aftermath of what happened).
Why do you need to see this above anything else? The IMAX sequences in this film are something to behold! They are absolutely jaw dropping. For sequences alone, and not counting films that basically used IMAX cameras for their entire shoot, they are some of the best usage of the IMAX format to date that I’ve seen since the Burj Khalifa sequence from 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. I implore you, you have to see this on the biggest IMAX screen you can find! The music from Lorne Balfe was certainly memorable in places, with it being more emotional than the past couple of the films, while still employing and updating the classic theme we all know.
Some of the plot twists and revelations in the film are easy to predict, with just a tad too much plot convenience. I’d suggest going into this movie cold outside of this review. While the practical effects soar, some of the visual effects looked a little wonky, particularly during the third act.
Overall, Mission: Impossible – Fallout certainly ranks as one of the best films of the series, if not the best when it’s all said and done. This is one of the best action films ever assembled during this decade and deservedly needs to be seen on the biggest screen possible. It’s a blast from the first minute onward, and leaves you ready to watch the next film immediately. I could watch a new M:I film for the rest of my life so thank you Tom Cruise for putting your life on the line to continually bring us entertainment for our disposal. This entry was one heck of a ride!