By Casey Campbell
The Mission: Impossible series are such a bizarre anomaly. First of all, as a spy/action series, these movies are more often good than bad. In fact, the only film in the series that doesn’t play well is the second one directed by John Woo. That, in and of itself, is crazy, given his past credits. Otherwise, the first one is a great tense thriller, the third one has a refreshing story with a great villain, the fourth one acts like Prisoner of Azkaban in how it revamped the series and gave it a new sense of style and then the fifth and sixth movies (written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie) are successively better.
I think that Mission: Impossible – Fallout is one of the best action movies I’ve ever seen. Definitely one of the best American action movies, at the very least. And, despite it being part of a successful series, you don’t really need to have seen the others. It’s definitely useful for full context, but the film itself defines the important bits of information that may have been seen in the previous films.
The plot, in simple terms, follows Ethan Hunt and his team as they try to reacquire nuclear weapons that got out of their hands. The CIA plants an extra operative with Hunt, as they fear another mishap. That’s all that really needs to be known of the plot if you haven’t seen it.
Fallout, though, isn’t great simply for its story, but for how the ample action set-pieces actually inform the plot. It’s a seamless movie, going action scene to action scene while telling the story every step. Not only do the action scenes progress the plot, they lay out some great character work.
An example is during the scene in France, after the deliriously exciting motorcycle chase. A French officer notices Ethan’s team transporting a prisoner with a bag over his head and tries to apprehend them, only to get shot by the bad guys. Hunt’s team is supposed to be working for the bad guys, so he has to make a moral choice to save the officer, or let her be mercilessly shot. He takes the initiative and kills the criminals he was pretending to be working with, to protect the innocent. It’s a thrilling scene with surprises that’s followed up with yet another incredibly exciting and story driven action chase scene. God this movie is good.
The only issue I have with the movie is that it wasn’t shot by Robert Elswit, like Rogue Nation was. Both movies were shot on 35mm, but it seems like Fallout is the one where noise can be seen in the darker scenes. It’s almost fuzzy and takes your attention away from the scene for a moment.
Otherwise, it’s a triumph. No sixth movie in a series needs to be as great as Fallout is and yet here we are. On an even more impossible note, Fallout made out well in the box office, assuring a few more entries in the series. So long as Tom Cruise is doing some crazy shit and Chris McQuarrie is filming it, I’ll happily be along for the ride.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is available on Amazon Prime as well as Hulu. Seriously, check this one out. It’s impeccable.