Review - Mission: Impossible - Fallout

by - 10/08/2018

Mission: Impossible - Fallout  -

Storyline (credit :IMDB) - Two years after Ethan Hunt had successfully captured Solomon Lane, the remnants of the Syndicate have reformed into another organization called the Apostles. Under the leadership of a mysterious fundamentalist known only as John Lark, the organization is planning on acquiring three plutonium cores. Ethan and his team are sent to Berlin to intercept them, but the mission fails when Ethan saves Luther and the Apostles escape with the plutonium. With CIA agent August Walker joining the team, Ethan and his allies must now find the plutonium cores before it's too late.

Before I write my review, I'd like to say this - in order to avoid spoilers, I have not read any reviews or news items about this movie or its shooting. I also paid for my own tickets to go and watch this movie in a theater with my family.

My thoughts - The storyline was impossibly confusing and only after more than half the movie was over, did I finally understand what was happening and why. It started when, unlike Tom Cruise's protagonist Ethan Hunt, I was unable to "accept the mission" or rather understand what it was all about when speedily described at the beginning of the movie. It assumes the viewer is up to date with the movie series and knows enough of the background that a brief summary is enough to bring it all up to date. Although I’ve seen the previous movies, I didn’t remember them enough to absorb or understand the rapid update. To add to the overall confusion, there’s also the fact that there are two villains with similar sounding names - Lane (old) and Lark (new).

While the story line is unnecessarily convoluted, the action scenes that are such an inherent part of this movie (and indeed the whole series) are really, really well done. For one such heart pounding motorcycle chase sequence in Paris, I sat with my hands covering my mouth in terror the whole time. I know in movies stunt people do all the actual dangerous action scenes, but the CGI involved here is so slick that it actually appeared to be Tom Cruise doing all the actual legwork during this sequence. Who knows, maybe it was Tom Cruise himself…I remember having read somewhere a long time ago that he does some of his own stunts. In any case, I'm just awed by whoever it was, both before and behind the camera. The halo jump was another amazing action sequence, as was the helicopter chase in the mountains towards the very end.

Again, as is typical of this series, the narrative swiftly moves from place to place, continent to continent, highlighting some of the most beautiful spots in the world from spellbinding angles. Beautiful people in beautiful places and surrounded by non-stop danger, almost makes up for the little understood story line.

Tom Cruise looks good, even if his age shows through sometimes as it does in the spectacular action scene of him running across the London rooftops. He has donned the mantle of Ethan Hunt for so long (indeed, I don't think he does any movies these days other than this series) that he looks and feels real. Action scenes come very naturally to him. The part I liked best was his reaction at an unexpected reunion towards the very end, which felt very natural. His sidekicks are as always good for providing humor and support, tech and otherwise. My kids have always loved Simon Pegg's Benji and he is as usual superlative in his understated performance. Henry Cavill is good as CIA Agent Walker. He doesn’t get to emote much and his action scenes are limited, but his character comes across as effectively as the “hammer” his chief calls him. The fierce bathroom fight that my kids were so enamored of from the trailers, is his (or his stuntman’s) opportunity to shine and it is one of the best hand to hand combat scenes in this movie. 

Rebecca Ferguson (as Ilsa Faust) doesn’t have as a big role in this movie and for the most part her character remains in the shadows. Sean Harris as the villain Solomon Lane is largely referenced to, and rarely speaks in the scenes he’s in. Which is a good thing as his thin hoarse voice always makes it difficult to understand what he’s saying.  Angela Basset, as CIA chief Erica Sloan, is the new girl on the scene, and boy, she’s Effective. Alec Baldwin as Alan Hunley is now not only Ethan’s boss but also his surprising co-conspirator, which makes a nice change from his character’s previous attitude which was non-stop hate toward IMF’s independent streak. Vanessa Kirby sizzles in the side character of the White Widow, a beautiful and deadly arms broker. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing her again in future MI movies.

Now to wind up this unexpectedly long review, I will say this. While light and confusing on the story line, MI:6 scores major points in its action scenes. And believe me when I say this – you have got to watch this movie on the big screen. Only then will you get to experience the full awesomeness of these (often-mentioned) spectacular stunt scenes.

As one of the paying public, I felt like I fully got my money’s worth with this movie, which I rarely feel with movies these days.

Edited to add - I forgot to mention, while this movie is rated PG-13, there are very few scenes that will scare a young kid, especially considering all that they're already exposed and inured to these days just by seeing the daily news. My kids, both under 13, loved the movie. They are new to this series, and didn't understand all the ins and outs of it, but the action scenes had them literally jumping with joy. That is all they needed to declare this the best movie they had watched all year. Although my son still felt that Black Panther might just have been slightly better. (my own opinion, was the opposite :-)

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