Thursday, December 27, 2018

Tonight's Movie: Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

I jumped into watching the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movies today with the most recent entry in the series, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT (2018).

This film follows five previous titles released between 1996 and 2015, directed by notables including Brian DePalma, Brad Bird, and J.J. Abrams.

I'd never seen any of the previous films so our daughter gave me a quick fill-in on the supporting characters' histories; I intend to back up and watch the entire series from the beginning, and perhaps after I've watched all five movies I'll rewatch this one to pick up on nuances I missed the first time around.

I had a great time watching MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT; I found it reminiscent of Matt Damon's Jason Bourne movies, with a touch of the delightfully improbable Fast & Furious films on the side.

I suspect many of my readers are already familiar with this long-running series, in which Tom Cruise plays Agent Ethan Hunt, who works for a top-secret U.S. agency doing jobs even the "regular" spies won't do. The classic TV series bit with the self-destructing message ("Your mission, should you choose to accept it...") takes place near the start of the film, and the pulse-pounding original TV theme music shows up regularly as well.

In this round Ethan, accompanied by fellow agents Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg), is involved in tracking down nuclear weapons as well as playing "hot potato" with a nuclear scientist (Sean Harris), a holdover villain from the previous film MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION (2015). MI6 Agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) is either a help or a hindrance to Ethan's team, depending on the situation.

Henry Cavill plays August Walker, a CIA agent ordered by his boss (Angela Bassett) to shoot Ethan if he steps out of line. Also on hand for this story are Ethan's boss Alan (Alec Baldwin), his old flame Julia (Michelle Monaghan), and an arms broker known as the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby of THE CROWN).

This was a very well-done film which delivers exactly what an audience of this type of film expects, numerous brilliantly staged action set pieces interspersed with quieter moments of romance, humor, and suspense. The movie raises perplexing moral questions -- should someone save a friend when it means more lives are put at risk? -- yet overall it's a fairly lighthearted "summer action movie."

There are some truly delightful moments such as Benji asking Ethan over a headphone why he's hesitating to move and Ethan responds in exasperation, "I'm jumping out a WINDOW!" (And I'd love to know what was whispered between Ferguson and Monaghan's characters near the end...)

The stuntwork is truly breathtaking -- some of the shots done by Cruise himself. (He broke an ankle doing one jump.) I especially loved his run through familiar spots in London, including St. Paul's Cathedral and the exterior of the Tate Modern Gallery.

The only weak link is Cavill, who starts out appearing to be a promising character, with his imposing frame and gung-ho approach, but unfortunately reveals himself to be fairly wooden as the film goes on. He simply doesn't bring much to the character in the way of nuances and shadings; Cruise runs rings around Cavill in that regard.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT was directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who cowrote the screenplay with Bruce Geller. It was filmed by Rob Hardy. The running time is 147 minutes; although I'm a fan of shorter films, this one goes by quickly.

Parental Advisory: This film is rated PG-13, for non-gory violence and some language.

This film is available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo set or on DVD. It can also be purchased for streaming.

A trailer is here.

I'm quite looking forward to watching the rest of the series and will be reviewing them here as I see them!

3 Comments:

Blogger Brittaney said...

My sister and I re-watched the whole series last year. It does help add to the experience of watching each new release. Fallout was so intense and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I enjoyed seeing Ving Rhames and Monaghan show up again for the nostalgia factor. I though Kirby as the White Widow made for a very interesting character. As far as I'm concerned as long as Tom Cruise keeps making these movies, I will keep watching them.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Lee R. said...

The TV series runs rings around the movie series. But as long as they keep using the original M:I theme in all the movies I will continue to watch. If they take that away it will be like watching a Bond movie without the Bond theme playing.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm looking forward to catching the entire series, Brittaney! Glad to know you like them too as we seem to often enjoy the same films.

Lee, I love that music!! Gave me a little thrill each time it started in the movie. :)

Best wishes,
Laura

11:13 PM  

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