26th Jul2018

‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Monaghan, Wes Bentley | Written and Directed by Christopher McQuarrie

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The Mission: Impossible franchise returns after a three-year absence from Ethan Hunts last escapade in cinemas with the highly profitable predecessor Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation released in 2015. Continuing directly on from Rogue Nation, a series first, (though the series has maintained a coherent thread throughout the films since the closing scenes of Mission: Impossible 3 back in 2006) brings a series of interconnected variables that were key to its success and who have returned to the fold in this sequel – director Christopher McQuarrie, supporting cast member Rebbeca Ferguson as Ilsa Fraust, and Sean Harris playing the villainous role of Solomon Lane. The trio adds their respective stamp on proceedings in a ten-fold manner. McQuarrie, for instance, hand picked by leading star Cruise himself after two successful working stints, adds what can only be described as the best eye for action set-pieces in the industry at this time. A nuanced balancing of the chaotic rush of adrenaline, with a layered hint of grounded reality, sparks the screen with electrifying sequences of action. All shot in such a manner of self-restraint, albeit echoed and thirsted with a small tad of much-needed stance of ridiculous self-indulgence. McQuarrie once again does not disappoint. Slowly becoming infamous with his grappling of slick car chases, Mission: Impossible- Fallout boasts one hell of an action sequence in Berlin that both terrifies and antagonises its audience into a world of high stakes and vulnerability, all but a reported 10% of proceedings throughout the one-hundred and fifty-seven minuted runtime are grounded with practical effects. A stunning feat of real-world filmmaking that’s utterly beyond comparison and a staggering notion of craftsmanship both in front and behind the camera.

Ferguson, now propelled into cinematic action heroine royalty in Rogue Nation, is one of just a few recurring characters to truly make a stamp on proceedings in a follow-up entry, and veteran franchise actor Jeremy Renner unavailable due to scheduling conflicts, Ferguson without a doubt is the one to watch. The screenplay has very little depth for her character, aside from two lines of expositional dialogue she doesn’t have much to work with. Proposed instead is a character moderately pushed as a device for sexual tension with Cruise than the fierce, uncompromising nature she galvanised in the predecessor. McQuarrie does find moments to revitalise said character in major sequences and Ferguson is large in screen presence magnificent in moments of the tangible emotional crux of torment between loyalty, but she, unfortunately, feels monumentally wasted as the quiet team member, instead of the brash quintessential action prowess that was so eloquently showcased previously.

Harris returns as villainous Lane, another rare feat in a franchise that is far episodical in nature and in the same vein as Ferguson’s Ilsa, certain elements of the character are reconstructed and repurposed in a fashion that ultimately dampens the role. Gone is the stoic and frighteningly uncompromising nature and demeanour of Lane that echoes sentiments of true tactile genius and unforgiving turns of projected villainous, instead a more dramatic, embellished version is embodied and it throws off the intended flair of a terrifying genius at hand.

The main cast consisting of Cruise, Pegg and Rhames once again impresses with charisma and touching moments of poignancy, albeit surrounded in juvenile comedy that’ll be divisive for many, although a pleasant chaser to the darker elements the film boasts. Shadey newcomer Henry Cavill plays the heavy well, his screen presence is undeniable and while the role doesn’t do anything necessarily fresh, he keeps the ship on course, even with the controversial moustache that adds no substance whatsoever. Angela Bassett is unfortunately wasted, although what scenes she does have she steals with a sense of sophisticated and provocative demeanour. The pacing is electrifying and sweet, it fails to drag at any point. An achievement very rare for the long winded stature of its running time, placing story beats wonderfully and tactile. The score from Lorne Balfe is outstanding. Monstrous and thunderous. It rumbles and shouts in high octane fashion. Lifting the images onscreen to another level of extraordinaire.

The issue with Mission: Impossible- Fallout is that it bookends rather poorly, with an overabundant opening and a quickly flushed finale. Made more clear with at times an over-complicated story that dances on a convoluted knife edge, coupled with a far too predictable and straight plot that occasionally drowns in its poor weaving. The film also has a moment to completely derail and serve up a moment of truly gargantuan terror with a truly gut-wrenching outcome within the first act but, unfortunately, yet understandably, chooses to walk the path of the road well travelled instead of unknown territory, possibly kept for the overall game plan of Mission-Impossible 7.

Mission: Impossible- Fallout is in cinemas now.

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