'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' - Review - Chris At The Pictures

Thursday, 26 July 2018

'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' - Review

★ ★ ★ ★ ½

One doesn’t often clamour to declare a franchise’s sixth instalment its finest hour - unless you happened to be me in the immediate aftermath of Revenge of the Sith - and yet, here we are. Mission: Impossible - Fallout leaves no nail unchewed in its quest to outdo every previous instalment (nay, every action movie released in the last decade) with minimal digital trickery and maximum physical impact.

The plot (largely surplus to the requirement of whichever death wish Tom Cruise fancied living out during that day’s filming) finds Ethan Hunt and company (Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Rebecca Ferguson) in pursuit of stolen nuclear material. Given Ethan’s propensity for going rogue, he’s lumped with the CIA’s favourite blunt instrument, August Walker (Henry Cavill).

With both the CIA and a shady organisation known as The Syndicate on their tail, how do they intend to do all this? “I’ll figure it out” is the general mantra adopted by Hunt, his put-upon comrades, and director Christopher McQuarrie. And figured it out, he has. Every set piece - whether it’s a motorcycle chase into oncoming traffic in Paris, a rooftop pursuit in London, or an actual HALO jump performed thirty thousand feet in the air - surges with unbelievable adrenaline, each more thrilling than the last. Even in a standard cinema, the IMAX footage (including said skydive) shines brightest of all, the lack of stuntmen in Cruise’s stead laid beautifully bare.

Cruise - who broke his ankle in a comparatively minor stunt, leaping between rooftops (just another day at the office!) - continues to display levels of physical aptitude suited to a man half his age, but his portrayal of Hunt still stands even when removed from the sheer spectacle. With a history such as his, our favourite IMF operative is an understandably twitchy presence who smiles little and frets often, fueled by the desire to prevent nightmares of his lost love, Julia (Michelle Monaghan), from becoming reality.

Cavill, by contrast, is statuesque and supplied with a resolute workman’s grin. Justice League died so his moustache could live, and it proved a necessary sacrifice. Ditching the clean-shaven boy scout look serves him well in a role that seems tailor-made for his physical prowess and roughshod charisma, not least during a furious bathroom showdown that calls to mind the most chest-shattering moments of Gareth Evans’ The Raid 2.

Whilst images crunch the bones, pulses are pounded by Lorne Balfe’s score, which hits the ground running from the opening logos and barely pauses for breath. It’s not packed with memorable cues (the Lalo Schifrin original theme is given some fancy reworks), but Balfe should be commended for his ability to deliver music to match the mayhem.

As is standard practice for the franchise, this entry suffers from a convoluted plot, and works best when it sheds the scheming and puts pedal to metal. McQuarrie and Cruise know that in a post-Mad Max: Fury Road landscape, simplicity is key. With an action sequence involving a fleet of trucks, cars, explosions and flamethrowing guitarists now embedded in the moviegoing consciousness, there’s no further you can go (besides maybe filming the entire thing in outer space). It’s time to go back to basics, and maybe the greatest victory of Fallout is achieving the highest possible stakes with the simplest image: a man clinging to a rope. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to survive the final thirty minutes without gripping onto your seat, stuffing your knuckles into your mouth or simply swearing out-loud in disbelief: impossible? I’ll say.

No comments:

Post a Comment