SYN Reviews: Mission: Impossible – Fallout

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MISSION IMPOSSIBLE  – FALLOUT

Special preview screening at Hoyts Melbourne Central.

Words by Tom Parry.

Passes provided by publicists.

 

 

Now that franchising is the norm in Hollywood, the release of a sixth Mission: Impossible film is anything but surprising. What is a surprise, though, is how this vehicle for Tom Cruise continues to astound and astonish after two decades, with this instalment providing the greatest thrills yet.

Impossible Missions Force agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) has put the world at risk after letting nefarious forces take possession of weapons-grade plutonium. It’s an act which has drawn the ire of CIA bigwig Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) who wants one of her top operatives, August Walker (Henry Cavill) to join the IMF’s mission to retrieve said plutonium. Hunt is none-too-pleased about the suggestion, but obliges to letting Walker take part.

For their mission to proceed, Hunt and Walker must first attend a high-end party in Paris, where they are to assume the identity of a broker named Lark (Liang Yang). This plan proves difficult to complete, partly because Lark is trained in the martial arts, but mostly due to the presence of Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a former associate of Hunt’s and British secret agent who is also seeking the lost plutonium.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout, or M:I6, feels very much like a celebration of the venerable franchise, a notion that is reinforced by the film’s cast. Joining tentpole star Cruise is Simon Pegg, a mainstay of the franchise since its fourth instalment; Alec Baldwin, who previously acted in the fifth movie; Michelle Monaghan, making her first appearance since Mission: Impossible III; and Ving Rhames, who has been involved in the film series since the very beginning.

 

Also making a return is Sean Harris who, like Baldwin and Ferguson, is reprising his role from the fifth movie in the franchise, Rogue Nation. Once again, he plays villain Solomon Lane, but finds himself relegated to a supporting role here – most of his screen-time sees him seated, mouthing exposition. As of such, Henry Cavill finds himself fulfilling the role of antagonist, one which he doesn’t seem particularly suited to. (His moustache is quite dapper, though.)

 

Thankfully, the same cannot be said of the other cast members, who embrace their roles whole-heartedly. Rhames and Pegg are both great as Hunt’s technical support, engaging in banter and proving resourceful throughout; Bassett is a rather cool spy chief, seemingly making her case for a role in any future instalments; and Vanessa Kirby – best known for playing Princess Margaret in Netflix’s The Crown – livens proceedings further as a blonde femme fatale.

 

The actor who puts in the greatest amount of effort is, of course, Tom Cruise, who fully commits to the role of Ethan Hunt by doing his own stunts, rather than rely on a body-double. He is no stranger to such activities, having previously scaled the Burj Khalifa and attached himself to the exterior of a flying plane, all in the name of practical effects. In Fallout, he takes that approach one step further by free-falling from a moving helicopter and performing a high-altitude, low-opening skydive.

 

These aren’t the only thrilling moments of M:I6 either, as there is also a fracas in a public bathroom, an aerial battle in the Himalayas and a fantastic car chase through Parisian streetscapes – easily the best chase sequence of the year. Problem is, these set-pieces are accompanied by a rather confusing story in which characters have the vaguest of motivations, and are left to engage in some rather lengthy, confusing conversations filled with spy mumbo-jumbo.

 

One additional element that astonishes in M:I6 is the locations, with the producers having found the most gorgeous areas to film in. As well as Paris, the actors find themselves travelling to London and an undisclosed locale which stands-in for Kashmir, a region beset by border disputes for many years now. In each of these locations, the camera has stunning backdrops to accompany the action, thereby making these scenes even more wondrous than they already are.

 

Mission: Impossible – Fallout has done the unprecedented and upped the excitement in an already thrilling franchise. Each action sequence is like a shot of adrenaline, helping to overcome the film’s more baffling moments, while the returning cast members only add to the enjoyment.

 

 

Mission: Impossible – Fallout opens Thursday, August 2nd in cinemas nationwide.

 

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