Mission: Impossible – Fallout Review: A Superhuman Franchise
Mission: Impossible – Fallout review: The sixth film in the Mission Impossible franchise offers plenty of thrills without changing the formula.
After 21 years and six films, the Mission Impossible franchise has found a groove. It offers a lot of really attractive and charismatic people running from explosion to explosion, with just enough plot thrown in to hold it all together. It’s a cousin to the Fast and Furious series, just with fewer high dollar cars and more bombs (maybe). It’s Moderately Paced and Angry.
And to be clear that’s not a bad thing.
The M:I series knows what it is, and its good at it. They aren’t suspense films, they are action movies with a suspense sprinkling on top. Mission: Impossible – Fallout sticks with what works and does everything it can to not rock the boat.
It really is a simple equation whether or not you’ll like this movie. If you are looking for something with a deep plot and in-depth character development, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a fun movie with lots of things moving really fast, things blowing up real pretty, and Superman with a mustache, huzzah!
Director Christopher McQuarrie returns, and unlike some of the other M:I films that essentially reset the narrative with each new movie, Fallout is a direct sequel to Rogue Nation. If you skipped that one you will need to accept that there are some things you won’t fully appreciate – not that it will ruin the experience, but it’s made as a follow-up and the two films have connections that run deep.
Partly because of the sequel nature of the film, Fallout starts off running. If you need to grab snacks or hit the restroom, make sure you don’t skip the first five minutes of the film or you’ll miss about a quarter of the plot.
In traditional fashion, Fallout begins with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) receiving a heavy dose of self destruct-y exposition capped off by a bit of plot direction. This review is spoiler free, so let’s just say very bad people are plotting very bad things, and only Hunt’s IMF team can stop them because that makes way more sense than having multiple people back them up, I guess.
Things happen, explosions are exploded, and the IMF team finds themselves in the middle of a plot that brings Rogue Nation’s baddie Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) back into the mix. The CIA is also all up in the IMF’s business, which leads to built-like-a-brickhouse agent August Walker (Henry Cavill) sort of joining the team, alongside returning (I)MFers Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames).
The mission takes the team across Europe and through some beautifully shot backdrops. There are plenty of shootouts, chases, martial arts-inspires fights, and even the return of the ultra-bad ass spy Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Fergusson). There’s even a rare quadruple cross. There are more crosses in Fallout than some Italian churches.
All in all, it’s about what you’d expect. Maybe to a fault.
While you expect a lot of heart-stopping action from Hunt and co., you’d typically want them to have a good reason for it. Sure, it’s wild that Hunt would climb up the side of a skyscraper using just suction cups, but it makes sense within the architecture of the film. It’s a little less clear why he would risk a HALO jump through a storm to make it to a party in Paris when the subway is probably just as fast and far less pants-darkening, but whatever. (To be fair, there is an explanation for this, it’s just very thin.)
There are also a few confusing motivations at play. One minute someone seems to be working toward one goal, the next they are still working toward that goal but for other reasons, the next they go in a totally different direction.
Fallout has a lot of action scenes, maybe even a few too many. There are a few points when those scenes feel a little disjointed, like the film just wanted to have a particularly cool-looking visual and then built around it or added it to something else. There’s a thin line between action-packed and over-the-top, and Fallout occasionally puts a toe on the wrong side of it. The film could have cut off about 15 minutes, condensed everything, and been better for it.
There are also a few scenes that just make you think the superspies are just bad at their job, like when they don’t bring back up to a potentially world-changing meeting with arms dealers, or they tell one of the most dangerous people in the world to stay home because it might hit another character in the feels. It’s silly but easy enough to overlook. And the action is stacked up action so you’ll probably forget all about any minor issues by the time the next chase scene comes up.
As for the cast, as usual for this series they are top notch – if a bit underutilized. Cavill is a nice addition and the film could have integrated him a bit more, while the rest of the IMF team are pushed into something of a supporting role. This is Cruise’s film, and the others are there to help the unicorn-blood drinking star continue to look like a superhero, beating after beating. It’s the same pattern as previous films, but it would be nice to see the series expand on the team concept one day.
For Fallout though, it actually makes sense to focus on Hunt, as there are connections that are specific to him. If you are a fan of the series as a whole, Fallout is one of the best yet. It also ties up several dangling threads and paves the way for a seventh film, which seems like a fairly sure thing at this point.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout Review Conclusion
Two decades and six films later, the M:I franchise is staying in its lanes. There aren’t too many surprises beyond the types you’d expect to find in this series, but there’s comfort in that. Just don’t expect Fallout to reinvent the franchise and you should walk out satisfied.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is rated PG 13 with a running time of 147 minutes.