Mission: Impossible- Fallout (2018)

mi6Your mission, Mr Cruise, is to make a summer blockbuster better than Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation. Well, this is Mission: Impossible, after all, Mr Cruise, not Mission: Difficult.

Utterly bonkers, and yet almost ridiculously flawless, this astonishing film is surely the blockbuster of the year, possibly the best for the years since the franchise’s previous entry, Rogue Nation. As pure edge-of-your-seat entertainment, its as good as blockbusters get. Thrilling, jaw-dropping, gasp-inducing, exhilarating… word was it would be good, trailers teased something extraordinary, and early reviews seemed to be overwhelmingly positive. Well, here’s a film that lives up to the hype. Sure, there will be some who will somehow be left cold by its charms, but most cinema-goers will leave screenings with big smiles on their faces. As Hollywood entertainment goes, this film delivers a masterclass.

Its madness, really, that a franchise by its sixth entry 22 years old just continues to get better and better. True, it can be said that the last three films have largely followed the same template, but it has to be said, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Instead the production team have just upped the stakes and somehow improved and finessed with each successive effort. A series of films that started in the shadow of Bond seems to have finally beaten Bond and left it behind in the dust.

If I had to fault it, well, I’d say the Hans Zimmer-inspired music score from Lorne Balfe is just a tad overpowering and uninspired; it works okay in the film but it doesn’t really have the finesse of Joe Kraemer’s Rogue Nation score, the lightness of its touch or the sophistication of its orchestration and writing. Balfe’s score screams summer blockbuster at you in its Dark Knight/Inception-style glory and beats you over the head with it. I suppose its just continuing the trend for current Hollywood scores but I think it would have been interesting to hear something a bit more restrained and measured against the films insane visuals and energy.  In many ways Fallout clearly betters Rogue Nation but the score is where it slips up, the one bad decision in the creative process.

Other than that, though, its pretty much a perfect summer blockbuster. The script is great, the stunts and action sequences rattle away with jaw-dropping verve and the cast is pretty much spot-on. As crazy as the spectacle is, its nice to at least feel like it is grounded in some kind of reality, and while I’m sure there are plenty of erased wires and CGI tricks it never feels like a cast of animated CGI doppelgangers leaping around as it does in so  many Marvel/DC actions sequences.  I was a little concerned by some awkward plotting during the first act (when Hunt loses his three plutonium cores) but it was clearly just setting-up the spectacle to follow. I can’t really put my finger on it, but during this section I felt a little nervous that things weren’t quite right- it felt a little contrived, which might well seem an odd criticism for a franchise that is obviously hopelessly contrived. It just didn’t feel quite as smooth as I would have liked, as if a little more polish on the script was needed. But I can excuse fifteen minutes of so-so material when it sets up all the spectacular stuff that follows.

The funny thing is, after the brilliant Rogue Nation, if three years ago I had to make a wish-list  for the sixth entry, it would have been more Solomon Lane, more Ilsa Faust, more chases, more fights, more jaw-dropping stunts, and that’s pretty much what we get with Fallout. Its everything I could have hoped for. Crikey. That Cruise fella may be annoying in the real world but as a movie producer/star he’s pretty damned impressive.

Well, there’s only way to end this review. Your mission, Mr Cruise, is to make a summer blockbuster better than Mission: Impossible- Fallout. Well, this is Mission: Impossible, after all, Mr Cruise, not Mission: Difficult

3 thoughts on “Mission: Impossible- Fallout (2018)

  1. EditMSM

    “it never feels like a cast of animated CGI doppelgangers leaping around as it does in so many Marvel/DC action sequences”

    I just watched Black Panther and was shocked at how crappy the last battle looked. Are we seriously not trying to improve on this sort of thing?

    1. I was really disappointed by Black Panther, particularly that ending which degenerated into another CGI animation-fest (something that narked me throughout most of Avengers Infinity War (although it was far superior to the mess of Justice League)). Its the danger of these superhero movies- they ramp up stuff so much it turns into a cartoon and loses plausibility. The clever part of the Marvel films has always been its sense of real characters with warmth and humor etc. and they risk losing much of that when they become CGI characters doing impossible feats. There’s no drama in that.

      At least Fallout’s action stuff feels real even if its still some manner of trickery.

  2. Yes to all of that!

    I don’t really mind CGI antics in superhero blockbusters, because their very concepts are normally cartoonish — no one’s got those powers for real, so they have some licence to go crazy with it. Arguably there are limits, and you can still have poor quality CGI, but I can’t think of any that’s actually taken me out of the film in any recent big-budget production. Obviously, everyone’s mileage varies.

    But for this kind of movie — a “real world” thriller — nothing beats doing it for real. The effort they put in to not only doing the stunts, but working out how to shoot them so you know they actually did them, is extraordinary. Cruise, McQuarrie & co really care about doing it right for the sake of entertaining the fans (and by “doing it right” I also mean making sure the stunts are driven by the story), and it all pays off.

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