Mission: Impossible – Fallout, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, is perhaps one of the most well-rounded, exciting offerings in the franchise to date. Despite a runtime that’s bloated and a plot that is your usual uninspired set of events, the film still delivers some of the most thrilling, perfectly executed set-pieces, and an overall atmospheric tone that has this impossible outing feeling far more stylish and engaging than the previous few films. I found myself thoroughly entertained and enjoying every second of the choreographed madness. While I’ll still be diving into some of the issues that plague both this film and the franchise as a whole, I’m still eager and excited to explore all that Fallout has to offer, so let’s get to it.
Ethan Hunt – played by Tom Cruise – is back and he and his team race to stop two nuclear warheads from being detonated, and the situation is worse as it is the fault of Hunt and his team that the bombs are in the hands of the enemy. New and old foes take on our IMF team in a globetrotting adventure that once again sees the world in danger.
So while I enjoyed the most recent Mission: Impossible films (Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation), I was never that enamoured with them (whereas I really like the first and third film – the third being my favourite up until now) and so Fallout is the first time in a while where I’ve come out of a Mission: Impossible film having really enjoyed my time and having my enthusiasm for the franchise reinvigorated.
And I say that despite Fallout still being plagued with the issues that seem to crop up in every film of the franchise. The primary one being that the plot – when boiled down to its simplest elements – is like an assembly line of tropes and predictable outcomes. It’s your usual affair of bad guys wanting nuclear weapons to blow some place up and there is a lot of double-crossing, masks being pulled off and backstabbing.
There’s very little, if anything, from a plot standpoint that hasn’t been done in some variation before. McQuarrie makes an effort with his script to tie in previous events from other films and also dive slightly into the consequences of Ethan Hunt’s long, explosive filled career of saving the world and that did have me somewhat engaged. For the most part though, the plot is simply a re-tread of what we’ve seen many times before.
Also, all of the deceit and reveals of who is actually a double agent or even a triple agent can get a little lost in itself. There was one moment in particular where I had to take a step back and try to properly arrange all of the revelations and twists in my head and have it all make sense. I can see a general audience getting a little lost at times.
Which is surprising, because Fallout doles out exposition by the truck load. The exposition is sloppy, constant and unavoidable. It is forced upon you to an obtrusive degree. Though I suppose an argument could be made that the heavy-handed approach is necessary to keep audiences in the know and not getting even more lost in what at times feels like an unnecessarily encumbered plot full of spy’s betraying and deceiving one another.
But unlike in other cases, these faults weren’t of much concern to me and mostly didn’t affect my experience with Mission: Impossible – Fallout, as the positives well outweighed the negatives. With this latest iteration in the franchise, I’m confident in saying that Mission: Impossible is very much the gold standard for large action filled films from Hollywood. The set-pieces in this film and the execution of them is simply on another level. Christopher McQuarrie has come a long way since ‘Jack Reacher’ (a decent action film) and elevated himself to a place where I’m now much more interested to see what he’ll go onto do next.
Fallout is a film that simply wows with its set-pieces. The scale, length and execution of the action in the film has it feeling like one of the most exciting to watch to date. It’s impressive that despite the film being 147-minutes, it doesn’t feel like it, and that’s in large part thanks to the pacing and the exciting thrill ride offered by the action. For example: the time spent in Paris is hefty, but never feels long because the film keeps things moving with some incredibly well-done moments that have the adrenaline pumping, while being complemented by a roaring score by Lorne Balfe. I’ll be interested to see how a general audience responds to the length of this film and how it might affect box office takings, but I’m confident that word of mouth and how well-liked this franchise is, that it won’t be too much of an issue.
I’ve always felt that the Mission: Impossible films have lacked a visual tone that’s made them feel distinctive or memorable. A bland colour palette and glossy lighting has never caused these films to be ones that I enjoyed admiring with my eyes. The action was of course exciting to watch, but the films have never been great to simply look at.
So, an element of Fallout that I wasn’t expecting to like so much was the atmospheric cinematography that cinematographer, Rob Hardy employed. This is the first Mission: Impossible film where I felt visually the film stepped things up and went for an aesthetic that better compliments the tone of the series. Dazzling locations and a tone that felt more like a spy thriller, resulted in this Mission Impossible film being able to standout and feel like a franchise that has grown up and is able to properly compete with other films that are so visually striking.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is MAYBE now my new favourite instalment in the franchise (I’m not 100% on that yet). But here’s the interesting thing I was contemplating when the final (disappointing) scene of the film was playing out: ‘How much longer does this franchise have?’ Why I was thinking that is because despite really enjoying this film, I found the ending shined a light on the fact that this franchise doesn’t ever step outside the box when it comes to its plot and that final moment deflated my enjoyment slightly. Bad guy threatens the world, the mission to stop him is impossible and then in the end the team stand around joking about how close they came to failing and then they go onto the next mission. It’s all very samey.
The Mission: Impossible franchise is of course best known for crazy, high-octane stunts, usually performed by its leading man, Tom Cruise, and those stunts certainly get butts in seats – and I imagine will continue to do for some a few more films. But I am interested to see if fatigue will ever set in for this franchise and if it does will something narratively dramatic be employed to keep it a float. I suppose with so much time in between each film, rather than a new one every year/few years means that there’s time for you to miss the massive stunts and want your fix – a fix that these films more than deliver on. I suppose only time will tell with what will become of this franchise, but if Fallout is any indicator of what to expect, then I feel we’re in very good hands for the time being.
I definitely recommend, Mission: Impossible – Fallout. This is the type of summer blockbuster experience that delivers exactly what you want from a tent-pole movie. If you’re a fan of the franchise, then this has everything you’re itching for, plus a few new additions that I really liked. Head out to the cinema, grab the snack of your choosing, and enjoy a really fun film!
I’d love to know what you thought of Mission: Impossible – Fallout and my review of it, so please feel free to leave any opinions or feedback you may have, in the comments section down below. If you liked what you read, may I ask that you consider following either/both my blog or/and my Twitter – @GavinsRamblings – and help me to grow my little slice of the internet into something grander. Anyway, I’ll bring my ramblings to a close now by saying thank you to you for taking the time to read my review and I hope you have a fantastic day!