Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 10, 2019


MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE -- FALLOUT (2018). Director: Christopher McQuarrie.

"We need people who care about the one life as much as they do about the millions."

This picture is sort of a sequel to the last MI film Rogue Nation, as villains and supporting characters from that film are re-introduced. Frankly, the first half of this movie just seems like one long, somewhat confusing chase scene with so many characters and factions that you need a scorecard, but none of that really matters, because in the second half the film really gets going. The set-up has Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his Impossible Missions team attempting to disarm two nuclear bombs in India, but they not only have to find the bombs -- which are linked together in a non-physical sense-- but get the detonator from the bad guy so everything that needs to be done can be done at the precise instant required. Naturally there are all sorts of complications, with one creep trying to keep the team away from the bombs even as Ethan flies off in a helicopter after the man with the detonator. This leads into a copter battle in mid-air and a tense, exciting climax with the two opponents clashing high on top of a mountain. True, there is nothing here that hasn't been seen before, but it is nevertheless very well done.

Tom Cruise and Henry Cavill
The best thing about MI -- Fallout is the stunt work, with Cruise doing his own amazing stunts (one cast member never knew if Cruise would even be alive the next day; he broke his ankle at one point). I can see risking your life if you'\re really going to prevent a nuclear bomb from going off, but for a movie it seems a little foolhardy. However, Cruise, who is showing his age and beginning to resemble Dustin Hoffman, clearly wants to give his fans a big thrill and prove he's still "got it." This is Cruise's picture all the way, but he gets some good support from Henry Cavill [Man of Steel] , underplaying as a suspect American agent. Alec Baldwin [Blue Jasmine] offers his customary effective performance as the Secretary of State while Angela Bassett as a CIA chief is in bust-ass mode throughout.

Alec Baldwin and Cruise
Hunt is an admirable character, but I had to laugh when someone who worked on the film suggested that he's not a super-hero, but an ordinary guy. Sure, like James Bond is an "ordinary" guy.  Dodging bullets, surviving car and copter crashes against "impossible" odds, Hunt is as much a super-hero as Batman. As entertaining as this movie is, however, it and the other films in the series never achieve that classy, action-elegant level of the best of the James Bond movies. Younger viewers are more impressed by movies like this because they haven't seen as much to compare it with.

Verdict: If you liked the other MI movies you'll probably enjoy this one but you'll also forget it before you've even left the theater. ***.


angelman66 said...

Had not seen a Mission Impossible in the theaters since part 3, so this was a very pleasant surprise. Good for Tom--he needed a good picture! And he looks pretty damned good for 56! There's hope for us all...
Have a great week, Bill!

William said...

You, too, Chris. Yes, Cruise is holding his own as he approaches sixty, but if he keeps up with these very dangerous stunts he may not look so good for too much longer, LOL!