Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Stubs: Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) Starring Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie. Based on Mission: Impossible (TV Series) created by Bruce Geller. Produced by Tom Cruise, J. J. Abrams, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Christopher McQuarrie, Jake Myers Runtime: 147 minutes. USA Action, Espionage

If you’re looking for a negative review of the new Mission: Impossible film, Fallout, then you should look elsewhere. While not a perfect film, Fallout definitely checks all the boxes for a Summer season film. Big star, check. Lots of action, check. It’s a sequel, check. While I was a fan of the previous film, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015), I will say the new film is not only bigger but better.

For the most part, this is a continuation of Rogue Nation, taking some of the characters and themes from that film and bringing them to what seems like a conclusion, though I would have said the same thing about the last film as well. For some reason, the only main character from Rogue Nation not to make it to this film is William Brandt (Jeremy Renner). There is no explanation offered for his absence even though the character had been a fixture in the last two films, dating back to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011).

The story continues with the struggle between IMF Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), a former MI6 agent who went rogue and became the supreme leader of the Syndicate, whose ambition was to shake the new world order up and somehow, through its own warped logic, save civilization by destroying it. Even though their leader has been in prison, the Syndicate has not given up on their goal.

Like James Bond films, Mission: Impossible has a penchant for foreign locales, in this case, Paris, London and, of course, Kashmir. And like Bond, Hunt is not only the object of desire of any strong and attractive woman he comes in contact with, he is also hailed as the only thing standing between us and chaos in the world.

Tom Cruise does many of his own stunts in Mission: Impossible - Fallout.

A place where this out does Bond are the stunts. Cruise, who does many of his own, is a real risk taker and it is unusual to see a major star doing his own reckless stunt work. At least it looks reckless, I’m sure there are above and beyond precautions to ensure his safety, as well as the continuation of the franchise. In the end, they still look very, very dangerous and daring.

The acting is for the most part pretty good. Since this group has acted together before, there is a real sense of camaraderie amongst the cast. There is a playfulness to the relationship between Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Benjamin "Benji" Dunn (Simon Pegg) which only works since we’ve seen them together through several films.

Getting the band together again, in this case, "Benji" (Simon Pegg), Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson,
Ethan (Cruise), and Luther (Ving Rhames) in Mission: Impossible - Fallout.

I know there has been the ongoing talk of a female Bond and if it is okay that she’s Swedish, I would recommend Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa Faust), who has the beauty of Ingrid Bergman and the toughness, on screen, of Bruce Willis’ John McClane. And she can, obviously, play an English character.

Alec Baldwin is a fine actor who has done much more challenging roles in his time than the Trump impersonation he is now probably best known for these days. It's also good to see Henry Cavill do something more on screen than play the one-dimensional Superman that he's been in the DCEU Justice League franchise.

Having the same director and writer as Rogue Nation, Christopher McQuarrie helps give the franchise a consistency that others, like Die Hard, sorely lack. I would hope, that should there be another sequel in the series, and there probably will be, they should stick with McQuarrie at the helm.

As a writer, myself, there are a couple of plot holes that the film doesn’t try to hide. (I’m sensitive to things I couldn’t get away with in my own work.) There are actually fewer in this film than there were in predecessors but like any summer film, you have to overlook those and go with the ride. And Mission: Impossible – Fallout is quite a ride. Sit back and enjoy.

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