Mission Impossible Fallout review: A splendid addition to a franchise that won’t get old
The latest addition to the chronicles of Ethan Hunt is among the most well-written action films in recent times
Would you save a life even if it means that the lives of millions get thrown into risk? This ethical dilemma is among the ideas in Mission: Impossible – Fallout that pumps zing into an otherwise standard Hollywood action template. In one such scene, Ethan Hunt and his colleagues arrive at a location to do a 'transaction' with a bunch of criminals when his fellow agent Benji (Simon Pegg) gets worried about how there's no escape if they're under attack. Ethan, cool as ever, says, “I won’t let anything happen to you, Benji.”
Writing like this is why a seven-season TV series has evolved into such a successful film franchise. Unlike other franchises such as Terminator and Transformers which have regressed with each sequel, the chronicles of Ethan Hunt have managed to set the cash registers ringing, even while garnering positive word of mouth. It's been 22 years since the first film came out, but Tom Cruise seems to know exactly how to up the ante with each film. And somehow, he still manages to run like there's no tomorrow and convinces you of the urgency.
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson
Fallout explores the human side of the IMF agent, so much that it begins with Ethan Hunt dreaming about his estranged wife. It's not just the lead who gets such a different treatment. We also see the return of Sean Harris as Syndicate's anarchist mastermind, Solomon Lane, from 2015's Rogue Nation. Apart from the regular emotional drama, the history of anger and hatred Hunt shares with Lane is also taken into account in this film. This helps provide a sense of connection and makes this the first film that can be truly called a sequel. Credit goes to director Christopher McQuarrie, who also, with this film, becomes the first director to direct two films.
I love how apt the title, Fallout, is. While the word means radioactive particles that fall after a nuclear explosion, it also, of course, refers to the adverse results of an action. The former is the storyline and is why the stakes are high again. The world, again, needs to be saved. But the devil is in the detail, and it’s here that the choices and actions by Hunt are brought up for judgement. As always, true to the franchise's legacy, the action set-pieces really take our breath away. Fallout also has great emotional moments too, and it’s truly enjoyable to see Cruise being at home in both.
Much like in previous films, among the plot points are bureaucratic issues, getting double-crossed, and a fair amount of rule-breaking when the situation demands. The embodiment of all this is Henry Cavill's character, August Walker, a CIA-assassin tasked with monitoring Hunt's team. The man looks even more beefed up than when we saw him in last year's Justice League.
It’s a Mission Impossible film, and so invariably, I must return to the death-defying stunts performed by Cruise himself. There's a high-speed motorbike chase that’s a regular feature in this franchise. There's a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jump done by Cruise, making him apparently the first actor to do it on screen. And there’s, of course, the helicopter chase in Nubra Valley, Ladakh, Kashmir, which is brilliantly choreographed. And while on Kashmir, the censor board has strangely decided to mute the state being mentioned.
Overall, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is among the most well-written action films in recent times and has everything the franchise's fans love from previous films too. Only this time, there’s more soul. And that’s not a bad thing at all.