Anyone who is a regular moviegoer these days will notice the plethora of sequels, remakes and franchise movies dominating the box office charts and hogging up nearly every screen in a multiplex. Of course, we live in a mass-moviegoing climate where money talks and the majority of people want the exact same movie over and over again according to what is playing. You see a movie like SORRY TO BOTHER YOU advertised and people claim this is what they want to see, but then you look at the actual numbers and it’s discovered people SAY they want movies like SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, but they really won’t purchase tickets to see them.
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT is not one of these movies that falls into the tired format of sequels and series films. Yes, this exists in a franchise and these movies have existed from the mid 1990s, and yet every movie lives and breathes on its own terms, mostly because while there is big action and high-stakes, there is also a strong human element and teamwork. For me, the series got its fresh boost in 2011 with the masterwork GHOST PROTOCOL by director Brad Bird (at that time it was his first non-animated venture) where Ethan Hunt now has a much bigger support team, and the even more stunning ROGUE NATION in 2015, which fit that classic rule of “Three Great Scenes, No Bad Ones” with one stunning set piece after another; even just thinking about the sequence where Ethan Hunt has to hold his breath for longer than three minutes…no, I can’t do it.
This pretty extraordinary motion picture feels like a direct sequel of sorts to ROGUE NATION and is simple in its storytelling. On a very basic level, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team are at odds with The Apostles, who are creating havoc on the world. Ethan and his MI6 team are already under a lot of pressure with lots of double-crossings and secrets buried within the organization, and the team is led all over Europe in one hairy, breathtaking sequence after another.
That’s really all I want to say, as the thrill of FALLOUT is in the experience itself. This is action filmmaking to the nth degree in a movie that is heavy on storytelling, action and character, which is just how I like it. It feels like the antithesis to the Marvel movies of the last few years where there is little on design and experience and it’s all tailored to the “plot”. Marvel movies have taught audiences to go against the basic logic of cinema and boiled it all down to the all-important PLOT. What is the PLOT. I demand my story TOLD to me. Then I need to watch three post-credit scenes with more plot to get my plot. (This seems refreshing, in a way, to NOT experience a post-credit scene with this movie). FALLOUT doesn’t want to break down like this; the pleasure is in the journey too.
Like with most movies these days, I refuse to watch any previews, behind the scenes footage or even read reviews, and in the case of FALLOUT it could not have been a better decision as under post-screening investigation a LOT of press was thrown towards detailing many of the key action sequences and the stunts and pyrotechnics involved. All I really want to say in regards to this is the level that Tom Cruise goes to entertain is the reason I consider him one of the very finest actors of this generation and you absolutely are in on the ride with him as the movie unfolds. That he has a terrific cast with him (in particular Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust and Simon Pegg as Benji, both of whom have incredible sequences of their own) and under the kinetic design of returning director Christopher McQuarrie is icing on the cake.
FALLOUT is a breathtaking experience throughout and I may have slighted on describing too much of the details as I want you to go in as fresh as possible and enjoy the ride as I did. And it is one of the biggest and grandest that you will see in 2018.
Rating: **** out of ****
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT is now in theaters.