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Film Review: “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” Raises a New Bar for Its Genre

Written by: Patrick Howard | July 27th, 2018

Film poster: “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie, 2018) 4 out of 4 stars.

Tom Cruise returns as the driven I.M.F. operative Ethan Hunt in the sixth installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie and co-starring Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames. After a discreet trade-off goes awry, three nuclear bombs wind up in the hands of a new terrorist organization called the Apostles. Impossible Mission Force (I.M.F.) and C.I.A. directors, played respectively by Alec Baldwin and Angela Bassett, send Hunt and the dangerous assassin August Walker, played by Henry Cavill, to retrieve the lost plutonium and dismantle the Apostles at whatever means possible.

Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie are at the peak of their abilities as filmmakers. Their combined dedication to crafting a seamless and unbreakable verisimilitude of a world of spy teams and terrorists seeking world domination has only one rival, and it is George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. The action and stunt work is louder and more intricate but not necessarily unbelievable. The action sequences of the Mission: Impossible franchise is arguably as ludicrous as the action in the Fast and Furious franchise, but the latter’s overabundance of CGI trickery over the past decade has prevented the audience from seeing its characters as nothing more but indestructible cartoons. Tom Cruise and his team do escape near situations with questionable validity, but McQuarrie’s script bookends and sprinkles genuine emotions among these characters at the right time.

Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” ©Paramount Pictures

Henry Cavill holds his own in scenes with Cruise, and we never feel he’s trying too hard to match his co-star’s energy; Cavill’s Walker is a fun muse to Cruise’s Hunt. Walker shares similar imperfections with Hunt, and his believable inexperience with the I.M.F. assignments Hunt handles naturally escalates the stakes of each action set piece. Let us sing from every rooftop on Earth: Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the new action trailblazer to beat! The action compliments the character drama and vice versa. Admittedly the plot is typical of the spy genre in that it runs in every direction imaginable, but McQuarrie trusts the audience’s intelligence to follow and enjoy the clever misdirection we come to expect from this series.

Rebecca Ferguson and Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” ©Paramount Pictures

Patrick Howard has been a cinephile since age seven. Alongside 10 years of experience in film analysis and criticism, he is a staunch supporter of all art forms and believes their influence and legacy over human culture is vital. Mr. Howard takes the time to write his own narrative stories when he can.

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