Mission Impossible: Fallout

Jacob Richardson | 13/08/2018

The pinnacle of action filmmaking, Mission Impossible: Fallout breaks the mould and delivers a metric tonne of incredible action in a story with real heart.


After a mission to recover three plutonium cores goes wrong, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF allies in Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg) have to go undercover as John Lark, a friend of the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) and a compatriot of former villain Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), to save the world. They are joined, reluctantly, by CIA hitman August Walker (Henry Cavill) and MI6 spy Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) as they race against time and across the continent to prevent a worldwide nuclear fallout.


If you’ve ever listened to one of Christopher McQuarrie’s appearances on the Empire Podcast (often over 2 to 3 hours long), you’ll know that above all else, the man knows his film. He is connoisseur of lenses, tension, and emotion. He showed his hand with Rogue Nation, where he delivered the most entertaining and sleek Mission Impossible movie with a steady hand and an incredible Vienna Opera set-piece. With Fallout, he goes even further and reaps the rewards.


Fallout starts quite bleakly. The traditional upfront action sequence isn’t there, but rather an extended dream sequence where Ethan sees his old nemesis Solomon Lane and his former flame Julia (Michelle Monaghan) as they are eviscerated by a nuclear storm. It then follows a surprisingly dark turn for about 15 minutes, before Mission kicks in with abandon. It’s intriguing, because for a brief minute you think they have gone really, really dark with this new outing. Then the credits hit, the fuse is lit and you’re back on the standard rollercoaster with Ethan and the gang.


Only, not quite, because Fallout retains some hue of that early introductory darkness throughout. Whether it’s in the dream sequence where Ethan realises what he would have to do to be trusted by the White Widow, or in the meeting with Julia in Cashmere, McQuarrie infuses this 147 minute movie with more twisting bleakness than any Mission that has come before.


He is ably assisted once again by an incredible cast. Vanessa Kirby, as the White Widow, is sultry and unexplainable; slinking around as a defined villain that you can’t help but love. Pegg brings his undeniable charm to Benji once again, and Ving Rhames is a welcome presence as always. Cavill, too, proves a welcome addition to the film; playing all across the spy spectrum of emotion and convincingly delivering a foil for Cruise’s more noble Ethan.


But there are really three standouts from an acting perspective in the film. The first is, of course, Cruise himself. So synonymous with Ethan Hunt, Cruise ups the ante yet again - delivering more thrills, emotion and tension than ever before. The scene where he runs into Julia again is so laden with pain, sorrow, joy and stress that you are reminded why Cruise is the most famous actor in the world. He is ably matched yet again, however, by Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust. In Fallout she is both infinitely capable and tremendously vulnerable, but never without sacrificing her power. Sean Harris, despite being on record as not wanting to be in this franchise and hoping his character was killed off at the end of the last film, brings the real acting chops to his Solomon Lane character, making him one of the most enjoyable villains ever committed to celluloid.


The film is an absolute blast of action, with McQuarrie delivering even more incredible set pieces than usual. The motorbike chase through Paris is electric, and the final helicopter fight sequence is tension ratcheted up to the extreme. It is also a beautiful looking film, with New Zealand, Paris and London all being used to their tremendous picturesque effect in creating a visually sumptuous cinematic experience.

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Mission Impossible: Fallout isn’t just the best Mission Impossible ever made; it’s the best action film of the last decade.