Review: Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Christopher McQuarrie returns to direct the sixth installment of Tom Cruise’s vanity project, which he has every right to be proud of, and not just because it continuously breaks box office records internationally. For what it’s worth, the Mission: Impossible franchise is the most seaworthy of action vessels, but that reliability is only partly due to its watertight premise based on the famous 1960s TV series about a secret organization that tackles cases too difficult for the usual U.S. government intelligence bodies. What generally keeps the series afloat is Cruise’s unflappable penchant for his own impossible stunts and scripts that are not built to be taken seriously by anyone.

It’s rumored, in fact, that McQuarrie and his writers mostly came up with the story as they filmed. This is certainly the most carefree addition to the monolith, a trait that doesn’t impinge on those moments of ludicrous suspense as Impossible Missions Force team leader, Ethan Hunt (Cruise), dangles precariously from an airplane fuselage or scales a rock face while dripping blood. And while attempting to follow the plot closely amounts to a chump’s game, there are moments of coherence that are so startling as to make you wonder if McQuarrie and his gaggle of writers might have boned up on their Le Carre beforehand. As is often been the case in all the movies in the series, the IMF is working at odds with the CIA, who as represented by an often confused Alec Baldwin and a steely Angela Bassett, is as likely to feed Hunt to the sharks as send in the cavalry to save him. But that theme results in one of the series’ most intriguing characters, a CIA bruiser named Walker (Henry Cavill), who at first seems to be working for the other side but eventually reveals himself as Hunt’s government appointed minder. The tension between the two men as they carry out their mission, which is to retrieve nuclear bomb parts that are on their way to some secretive, freelance terrorist organization, is the most satisfying aspect of the film and makes for a compelling love-hate relationship between the two men that often results in violence. Lovers’ spats can be so thrilling, especially when one of them is known for having played Superman.

This dynamic makes the more conventional romantic relationship between Hunt and the returning turncoat Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and the one-that-got-away, Julia (Michelle Monaghan), trite, but while both women are injected into the festivities rather gratuitously, they do manage to bring a welcome feminine sensibility to proceedings that are top heavy with the tired boys club atmosphere supplied by the dwindling IMF team of Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg). Nobody expects an MI movie to be boring—that would be a violation of Tom Cruise’s contract with Paramount—but Fallout is actually better than it has any right to be. It’s stupidly thrilling.

Now playing in Tokyo at Toho Cinemas Nihonbashi (050-6868-5060), Toho Cinemas Hibiya (050-6868-5068), Shinjuku Wald 9 (03-5369-4955), Shinjuku Picadilly (050-6861-3011), Toho Cinemas Shinjuku (050-6868-5063), Toho Cinemas Shibuya (0506868-5002), Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills (050-6868-5024), Ikebukuro Humax Cinemas (03-5979-1660), Toho Cinemas Ueno (050-6868-5066).

Mission: Impossible – Fallout home page in Japanese.

photo (c) 2018 Paramount Pictures

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