Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie | 147 minutes | action, adventure | Actors: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Wes Bentley, Frederick Schmidt, Alec Baldwin, Liang Yang, Kristoffer Joner, Wolf Blitzer
It was an iconic image at the time: Tom Cruise as super spy Ethan Hunt floats into a high-security CIA vault to steal a secret document. At a wonderfully tense slow pace, he sinks upside down into the white space, dodging motion and sound sensors. And just as he arrives downstairs, he gets the signal that a CIA employee is about to enter the vault.
The scene only lasts a few minutes, but the edge-of-the-seat character makes it all feel much longer.
That original, by director Brian de Palma, is still a paragon of visual action spectacle 22 years after its release. While content doesn’t always get as much attention as style, the film has become a blueprint for the genre. Also ‘Fallout’, number six is the series of ‘Mission: Impossible’ films, does not tinker with the formula. Grotesque action scenes once again predominate. And that again gives great viewing pleasure.
‘Fallout’ picks up where part five, ‘Rogue Nation’, ended. The film opens with a brief explanation of what happened in that predecessor and, not to complicate matters, what is about to happen in this part. In short, it boils down to this: The remnants of the Syndicate, a crime organization that appeared to be disbanded by Hunt and his team in ‘Rogue Nation’, have not yet said goodbye to their criminal schemes. With the theft of three plutonium-enriched nuclear bombs, they try to bend world hegemony again. It is up to Hunt and his associates to put a stop to this.
Indeed, the plot is not very much. The fact that ‘Fallout’ is also quite predictable at its core doesn’t help. However, the film cleverly capitalizes on that predictability by regularly misleading the viewer. In addition, the film also throws lavish sand in the watching eyes with the number of characters and associated espionage intrigue. The game of ‘nothing is as it seems’ is executed excellently in ‘Fallout’.
The greatest strength of the ‘Mission: Impossible’ series, and ‘Fallout’ is no different, lies in the action. The skydive scene, in which Hunt jumps out of a helicopter from almost 8,000 meters, car chases in both the heart of Paris and London and a thunderous suspense in the mountains of the hotly contested Asian region of Kashmir: in terms of the action, the film presents climax after climax. It is admirable that the now 56-year-old Cruise still performs his own stunts. Moreover, the action scenes are not rushed by too fast editing, as is commonplace nowadays, but ‘Fallout’ actually takes the time to introduce the viewer to the spectacle and the additional tension.
Because that’s where the film is at its best, when the viewer simply goes with the flow of the film. However, there are some minor caveats to be made. For example, the multiple lighting effects enhanced by 3D, the so-called lightflares, disrupt the illusion of the film. Also because of the return of the many old characters ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ runs the risk of becoming cluttered. For example, the viewer who is no longer fully aware of the previous parts will have to process a lot of extra information that can distract from the spectacle. Throughout the film, Hunt prides itself on saving innocent lives while unceremoniously killing the errand boys of evil. However, the biggest villain can simply serve his sentence in prison. That double standard is going to be disturbing in the long run. As mentioned, they are just minor imperfections. ‘Fallout’ proves above all that the ‘Mission: Impossible’ series is still rock solid.