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Pressure Reviews: Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Pressure Reviews: Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the summer movie you’ve been waiting for.  In a landscape of blockbusters with comic book ties, it’s refreshing to see a good ole’ summer, action flick reminiscent of the late 90’s and early 2000’s before caped crusaders ruled air-conditioned auditoriums.  Fallout marks the sixth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise and relies on character development by bringing back the cast from the fifth film coupled with jaw-dropping chase scenes.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team consisting of Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) and led by Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) must tackle a near impossible mission of collecting plutonium before it is made into a bomb by terrorist organization, The Apostles.  In his pursuit of said terrorists, Hunt rekindles his complicated relationship with British spy, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and is also paired with CIA agent, Walker (Henry Cavil), who is hired to keep Hunt in line.

The immediate difference between Fallout and the previous films in the franchise is it is a direct sequel to the last film.  Time has passed, but not as much as the previous films.  We know this team.  We remember this team.  Rogue Nation came out only 3 years ago.  Also, the villain from the last film, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), is still alive, and not well, but still alive.

One of the strong suits of the past few Mission: Impossible films and similarly, the Daniel Craig James Bond films, is the fact that they are connected to each other and thus building up to a bigger storyline with bigger and more evil villains instead of reinventing the series with a new supporting cast and antagonist with each film.

Looking past Tom Cruise’s personal life, he is still one of the best leading man, action stars in Hollywood today.  I know what to expect from a Tom Cruise, summer blockbuster at this point, yet I was drawn, and at times even worried, for his character as he defied gravity and physics in his mesmerizing chase sequences.  Cruise kept my attention despite playing a character that is so notorious for being unpredictable that it becomes rather predictable.

But Tom Cruise is not the real winner of this film.  That award proudly goes to director, Christopher McQuarrie and his staff who directed some of the best fight and chase sequences to ever hit the big screen.  McQuarrie has made his career out of writing, producing, or recently directing most of Tom Cruise’s recent films.  Some have been better than others, but for certain McQuarrie knows how to do two things, direct action sequences and direct Tom Cruise.

Without spoiling much, the scenes with Hunt on a motorcycle and a helicopter are simply unreal.  I kept wondering, “how did they film this?”  It is incredibly believable with seamless transitions from close-up to wide shots that show Tom Cruise doing his own stunts.  I cannot imagine how detailed the storyboard must have been for every second and every frame of these multi-million dollar chases.

Though we have seen plenty of chase sequences done on motorcycles, helicopters, or any form of transportation really, the impeccable timing and tempo really sets these apart from any action film I saw in the late 90’s at a theater with my dad.  For example, a common element in the film is vehicles becoming smashed between two hard places and creating a challenge for either the protagonist or the antagonist.  I’ve seen this before in other films but not used in this manner to add uniquely to the story (trying not to spoil anything).  McQuarrie’s vision and knowledge of what makes a great action flick is present throughout the two and half hour film, which flies by as fast as Hunt’s escape from the police.

My only complaint with this film is the major plot twist halfway through the film.  It is setup as a big surprise, when in fact anyone with half a brain could have predicted it.  There are plenty of context clues and minor foreshadowing that for me made it rather obvious.  I thought the film became rather disingenuous when it acted like I could not use my own brain to figure out this mystery.

But aside from that, I may boldly say this is the best Mission: Impossible film in the series.  Superb story, amazing acting performance (especially by Tom Cruise) and of course perfect directing and cinematography make this film one of my favorites of 2018.  Unlike the previous films, Fallout has more of a resolve by the ending credits.  Could this be the last Mission: Impossible film?  I doubt it.  As long as Tom Cruise can walk Ethan Hunt will have bombs that need to be defused with seconds remaining.

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