Wednesday, August 8, 2018


When I first saw the trailer for Mission: Impossible – Fallout, I was instantly hooked.  The action, the music… it was perfect.  It became my favorite trailer of the year and has stuck with me ever since.  So I knew I would have to go see this in the theaters, and in order to do it justice I would need to do a full rewatch of the series, and boy, am I glad I did.  This film is a fantastic sequel, branching directly off of the previous film, while also being a beautiful callback to all the other M:I films that came before it.

From the opening scene, this movie has you on the edge of your seat as you’re not sure what’s going on.  Right away a familiar voice fills the room, that of The Syndicate leader Solomon Lane.  He’s back, and he’s not done with Ethan Hunt.  This is actually the first time a Mission: Impossible film is a direct sequel of the previous one.  We have the same villain, the same team (mostly)… it’s a true continuation of Rogue Nation, and with that comes a deeper sense of investment from the audience.  We already knew what this guy was capable of, so the film was able to dive right in to this no-stop, thrill ride of a world.

In this latest chapter, Ethan and his team join forces (reluctantly) with the CIA to prevent a disaster of epic proportions. Arms dealer John Lark and a surviving group of members from The Syndicate, now known as the Apostles, plan to use three plutonium cores for a simultaneous nuclear attack on the Vatican, Jerusalem, and Mecca. When the weapons go missing, Ethan and his crew find themselves in a desperate race against time to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

Rogue Nation director Christopher McQuarrie returns to the helm, becoming the first ever to direct two M:I films.  I believe it’s because of this that Fallout is such a superb film, surpassing all of the previous chapters of this epic saga.  He has created one of the best action films of the past decade, as well as one of the best sequels of all time.  It is, hands down, the best installment of this entire franchise, striking a nice balance between a great plot, superb pacing, and some absolutely fantastic performances.

Speaking of performances, I think this is the best we’ve seen Tom Cruise be in all his time in this franchise.  You could feel his commitment to the material, and I think part of that had to do with relationship with the director.  Not only did he work with McQuarrie on Rogue Nation, but also on Jack Reacher, The Mummy, and Edge of Tomorrow.  So, it’s no surprise he would give it his all for a guy he obviously has a lot of respect for.  We also saw the return of Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames as Benji and Luther, respectively.  It was nice to see these two working together more, as they had very limited time together in the previous films.  As these two characters are both tech geniuses, it was nice to see their similarities and differences side-by-side for once.

Rebecca Ferguson was also back, reprising her role as the illusive Ilsa Faust.  From the trailers I thought she was going to turn on Ethan and his team, but it actually worked the other way around, which was a nice surprise.  She is a fierce woman, and was one of the best parts of Rogue Nation, so it was wonderful to see her return to this role.  And speaking of fierce women, we saw a new character come aboard, an arms broker known as the White Widow, played by Vanessa Kirby.  She is a ferocious warrior of her own, with a mysterious allure that holds your attention.  And for those of you out there who are big fans of Easter eggs, you should’ve caught that the White Widow is actually the daughter of another arms dealer we know from the original film, Max.  She mentions her mom, “Max”, during the night club scene, and it was even confirmed by Kirby herself.  This is a fantastic link that just elevates the character in my mind.

My favorite newcomer, however, is Henry Cavill as CIA assassin August Walker.  Cavill is best known for his role as Superman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but he is much more than that.  His ability to take on this role, which is definitely the antithesis of Superman, was astonishing.  He was cool and collected while being absolutely brutal.  He gave one of the best performances in the entire film, and it’s a role like this that makes me think he’d be perfect as the next James Bond.

This was definitely one of the most action packed films I have ever seen, with the helo jump (and the lightning strike!!), the motorcycle chase, and that crazy helicopter scene.  And it was all done so well!  Tom Cruise is a maniac with his stunts, but it’s one of the things that draw us in.  We even got a rock climbing scene, reminiscent of the opening to M:I-2.  It was nice to see some of these callbacks, for those of us who are big fans of the franchise.  But the one that I think is the most important here is that we finally got a resolution to whole Julia story.  This is the first time since M:I-3 that Julia has played a pivotal role in the story of Ethan Hunt.  In Ghost Protocol, we learn that Ethan faked her death to hide her from his enemies, but that’s the last we heard of her, until now.  The third act takes us to a medical camp where Ethan and his team are looking for one of the bombs, only for him to find out that Julia is there as part of Lark’s plan.  She is married and happy now, giving Ethan and the audience a great sense of closure, and opening the possibility of Ethan and Ilsa becoming a thing, as it seems she’ll be joining the team.

As I said before, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is, without question, the best film in this series and is one of the best action movies of the last decade.  It’s so refreshing to see a long-running franchise like this continuing to put out such quality sequels, as this is not usually the case.  I’m hoping we get at least one more McQuarrie-led M:I film, as this is a series I hope goes on for years to come.

The Merc’s Score: 9.5

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