Mission: Impossible - Fallout

 

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Ethan Hunt is off saving the world again in a heart-stopping express ride with a narrative ripped straight from today’s headlines.


Mission Impossible Fallout

Hangin' high: Tom Cruise

 

The proviso is in the title. Even so, however impossible the escapades get, there is always enough high-tech ingenuity and universal immediacy for the viewer to suspend disbelief. Here, the sixth film in the M:I franchise – itself wrenched from the 1966-1973 TV series – sets up the plot nicely by establishing an enemy that is at once despicable and recognisable. The agency’s mission, should they decide to accept it, is to disable a terrorist splinter cell whose objective is to wreak havoc on the world’s stage. And there’s also the ruthless anarchist Solomon Lane (a gleefully unintelligible Sean Harris), who mutters the chilling mantra: “The greater the suffering, the greater the peace.” Then, following a bungled rendezvous between Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and a gang of slippery intermediaries, three plutonium bombs go missing. In the next scene, on the evening news, we see the full extent of the damage: shots of Rome, Jerusalem and Mecca in ruins.

 

Just as one settles down comfortably for another express ride of staggering stunts and narrative sleight of hand, one is reminded why this franchise stands head and shoulders above the rest. Like a turbo-charged chess tournament, the film out-manoeuvres the expectations of the bad guys as well as the audience. Mixing thrills, horror and fun with spectacular vistas of Paris, London and Kashmir, the film, in spite of a running time of 147 minutes, barely pauses for breathe. Yet, when it does, every second counts. A fleeting Paris encounter between Hunt and the enigmatic operative Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) proves to be a virtually one-sided conversation as Hunt answers his own questions by reading Ilsa’s face. It’s a throwaway, but is a measure of the intelligence of Christopher McQuarrie’s script.

 

mission impossible fallout

 

Christopher McQuarrie wrote and directed the last instalment, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), and it’s no surprise that he’s the only director to be asked back for more of the same. Rogue Nation was the best of the bunch and grossed almost $683 million worldwide. McQuarrie also directed Cruise in Jack Reacher (2012), arguably the actor’s most intelligent action-thriller, and he won an Oscar for his script to The Usual Suspects (1995). Here, he engineers the mounting adrenalin rush of the plot with the skill of a Formula One champ, gently applying the brake here and then pumping the accelerator for the final finish. We barely have time to admire the dazzling locations, accomplished costume design or consummate supporting performances (Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan and especially Vanessa Kirby). But it’s the action scenes that audiences will lap up and they don’t come more electrifying than this, be it a punch-up in a Kubrickian, all-white men’s lavatory to a chase that reduces Paris to an outsize dodgems track. For pure escapism, Mission: Impossible – Fallout provides the best value per minute of the summer.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Vanessa Kirby, Wes Bentley, Frederick Schmidt, Kristoffer Joner, Liang Yang, Alix Bénézech.

 

Dir Christopher McQuarrie, Pro Tom Cruise, J.J. Abrams, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Christopher McQuarrie and Jake Myers, Screenplay Christopher McQuarrie, Ph Rob Hardy, Pro Des Peter Wenham, Ed Eddie Hamilton, Music Lorne Balfe, Costumes Jeffrey Kurland.

 

Bad Robot Productions/Skydance Media/Alibaba Pictures-Paramount Pictures

147 mins. USA. 2018. Rel: 25 July 2018. Cert. 12A.