<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 31, 2018

Mission Impossible: Fallout Movie Review - Action Film Making At Its Best That Fires Spectacularly On All Cylinders

“MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT” is the 6th in the series of MI movies that started in 1996 directed by Brian de Palma, which was based on the original TV series that aired from 1966 to 1973. It’s easily the best in the franchise, a totally engrossing, relentlessly paced spy thriller with a storyline full of twists and turns and plenty of spellbinding action sequences even if it runs for 2 hours and a half and can definitely stand some trimming to tighten it.

This is directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who won the best original screenplay Oscar for “The Usual Suspects”. He also wrote the script of “Fallout”, and also wrote and directed the last MI movie, “Rogue Nation”, which introduced plot threads that are now further developed in “Fallout”. Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is his own version of James Bond and his director really brought an 007 flavor to his MI flicks, with Alec Baldwin as some sort of M figure and the usual uber villain, the double-dealing Solomon Lane (Sean Harris).

The film retains the iconic musical score by Lalo Schifrin and the tape-recorded mission instruction which says: “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…” And of course, we know Ethan would accept it. Familiar faces back in this movie are Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames as Ethan’s ever loyal friends Benji Dunn and Luther Stickelle, Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust who is Ethan’s seemingly real love interest and Harris as Lane. Michelle Monaghan as Julia, the previous love interest of Ethan also returns to provide closure on her own storyline courtesy of Wes Bentley as a doctor you’d meet near the end.

Newbies in the movie are Angela Bassett as Erica Sloan, the CIA director (a role she has played in Gerald Butler’s “Olympus Has Fallen”), Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret in the acclaimed TV series,”The Crown”) as the White Widow, and Henry Cavill who shuns his Superman persona to play August Walker, a CIA agent who’s supposed to babysit him but turns out to have his own agenda.

What triggers the plot is a suitcase with three plutonium orbs that Ethan lost in a mission that went wrong when he chose to save one of his friends early in the film. The nuclear material can spell global slaughter for the world and the CIA sends Henry Cavill to help Ethan get it back. In “Rogue Nation”, the evil group called The Syndicate was effectively terminated, but now, they’re back as The Apostles who want to get hold of the plutonium. Ethan finds an underground broker, White Widow, who can help him get it back if he’d get to free Solomon Lane who’s under custody. Things get complicated when Ferguson is ordered by MI6, the British intelligence agency where she works, to kill Lane who Ethan is supposed to protect.

The director is a brilliant storyteller and he deliberately plays tricks with the audience a couple of times then resorts to giving us so many spectacular high-octane action scenes that would remind you of the cat-and-mouse caper elements in other action blockbusters, notably “The Fast & Furious” franchise. The highlights are an adrenalin-fueled extended chase on the rooftops near the Tate Museum (where Tom had an accident that broke his foot and delayed the shooting for several months), a helicopter showdown amidst beautiful snowy mountain scenery, and many car chase (the one in busy Paris streets is stunning), fist fight (the one inside the men’s room is the most astounding) and shoot out sequences that make this the perfect popcorn actioner for the U.S. summer season.

Tom Cruise might have turned 56 years old last July 3, but he seems like he’s a real life Dorian Gray who doesn’t age. As Ethan, he doesn’t even pause to allow his love life to interfere with his work and continue to risk his life and limb to do jaw-dropping stunts without a double that would make Jackie Chan blush. He just induces awe as he continues to up the edge-of-your-seat stakes and one can never predict his limits. It makes you think: what will he think of doing in his next MI film?

Tom is effective not only in executing the action scenes with his unquestionable athletic agility, but also in showing his inner turmoil as he feels guilt over the consequences of his split-second decisions. This is woven tightly into the film’s fabric as Tom gets to question the after effects of his choices, giving the film some emotional resonance.

We see the nuances of his vulnerability in Tom’s layered performance as the doubting Ethan, also the myriad of feelings he expresses nonverbally when he meets Julia again, making this one of his best performances ever. This gives the film a strongly engaging element about personal relationships. In our book, he deserves an acting nomination but we know award-giving bodies don’t go for this kind of vehicle.

The stunning work of the fight choreographers and the cinematography is truly so well crafted, like in the toilet brawl with a fierce Asian opponent where the dark suits of Tom and Cavill are in perfect contrast against the luminous white background of the walls and floors. Take note that this is presented without any musical score but with the sound design of grating punches, broken mirrors, grunts and thuds that heighten the tension.

But the piece de resistance is surely the nail-biting finale where three separate climactic sequences are shown peaking for a sustained period of time and all of them simultaneously feel urgent and immediate. The helicopter stunts involving Tom are surely a slambang but the one that engages us the most involves Rebecca Ferguson in her showdown with Lane while trying her best to also save Pegg from strangulation. All in all, it’s a perfectly calibrated masterpiece of action moviemaking that fires on all cylinders.