+ Recommended – PG-13, Action, Adventure
After six entries, you’d think that the concept of putting on a mask and pretending to be someone else would get old. However, movies 4-6 in the Mission Impossible franchise prove that it’s a series that stands the test of time; Fallout arrives in theaters 22 years after the original. Much like the Fast and Furious, it seems that the latter films surpass the original trio. The same can be said for Fallout.
Ethan Hunt is back in action after taking down the Syndicate in 2015’s Rogue Nation. This time, Hunt and his IMF team must stop plutonium from getting in the wrong hands. But it wouldn’t be a Mission Impossible without some twists and turns amidst the chaos of a possible nuclear fallout. Ving Rhames is back as Luther, along with some other familiar cast members including: Simon Pegg (Benji), Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa), and Alec Baldwin (Alan Hunley). Each of these characters adds a different element to the overall story, while seamlessly blending together to create an inseparable team. Henry Cavill’s Walker offers plenty of reasons to see the movie alone; often steeling the screen from Cruise himself and serving as the ultimate opposite to Hunt’s character of morality.
An interesting observation occurred to me while I was watching this movie. Franchises pertaining to the action genre often become dull over the years by simply casting one, central lead that’s above the entire cast, and even the villain. It shatters any immersion along with the emotional impact that could have been present otherwise. The previously mentioned series’ have shifted away from a single lead to an ensemble experience; that’s why the most recent films work better. And while Hunt is still overpowered and hard to kill, the screenwriting excels in making him seem partly human (especially in the more emotional scenes). There’s a point of soul-searching in the midst of this mission, though; the question of morality leads to many gut-wrenching moments, even whole scenes that are both technically and emotionally captivating.
But make no mistake: Fallout packs some powerful action punches and striking camera work that will make your mouth water for more. From the high-intensity halo jump, which takes place at 25,000 feet, to the exhilarating helicopter chase sequence in the latter parts of the film, Tom Cruise is one of the best action stars that has ever been propelled on screen. The authenticity of the stunt work from Cruise alone creates an atmosphere that begs for a truly immersive cinematic experience. Rob Hardy (Ex Machina, Annihilation), who serves as the primary cinematographer, captures some breathtaking moments and then continues to pair that footage with complimentary sound, or in some cases, no sound whatsoever; a bold statement, but one that turns a tedious, uninspired action set-piece into a well-planned and perfectly executed scene; much like the one in the bathroom.
There are some downfalls to Fallout, but I did have to nitpick. While the two and a half hours of film seems to pace itself well, the plot almost feels forced into a set of circles that, at times, might be hard to follow on first watch for some viewers. As far as villains go, Fallout offers an interesting take to say the least. For me, the dialogue didn’t embody the personality of the person we’d come to believe was the mastermind behind the planned nuclear attack. Not only was it confusing, but it also made little sense at times. Because Fallout is the only movie in the franchise that actually builds off of a previous story line/film (Rogue Nation), it might be worth going back to watch the other movies before heading out to the theater this weekend. If you are like me and thought that many of the summer blocker busters were mediocre, this will quench your thirst for pure entertainment.