REVIEW | Mission: Impossible — Fallout Hardcore action at its finest

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ACTION flick of the year. Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible: Fall out, this time with Henry Cavill and Rebecca Ferguson. Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures International.

““I’ll…figure it out,” Hunt bravely, or foolishly, says. And that’s what makes ‘Fallout’ crazy fun.

Should you choose to watch Mission: Impossible – Fallout in cinemas, you won’t regret it. In fact, it’s going to be the best choice you’ll make this week. Heck, this entire year — even if we’re still halfway through it.

Fallout plays around the concept of choice. The choice to save a friend or the world. The choice to protect or kill a loved one. There’s always a consistent need to make a choice in a matter of seconds without any clue about the consequences. And our hero, superspy Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), tends to always choose the impossible, the crazy and the vastly unknown. “I’ll…figure it out,” Hunt bravely, or foolishly, says. And that’s what makes Fallout crazy fun.

Writer and director Christopher McQuarrie returns for Fallout, the direct sequel to the fourth film, Rogue Nation, which he also helmed.

In this sixth installment of the franchise, McQuarrie and frequent collaborator Cruise treat us to raw, CGI-free hardcore action sequences, which shows complete reverence for the genre—and for the paying audience. With action set pieces uncorrupted by visual effects, relying on the power of practical stunts, location and wild imagination, the thrill is heightened to new levels never before seen in recent action films.

If the trend in action movies nowadays is to kickstart the story with a CGI-laden climactic event in incoherent speed that fatigues instead of excites (Marvel, ahem), Fallout takes its time, carefully constructing tension and buildup and putting care into pacing and timing, so that each action sequence unfurls naturally. And, oh my, what action.

Each action sequence is pure delight, breathtaking in its clear execution. The action taut and defined, that if it were a dance, displays stunning choreography and rhythm. From a hand-to-hand combat in an immaculate white public bathroom to a death-defying helicopter chase in Kashmir skies (Cruise flew the helicopter himself) to speeding on a motorbike — helmetless — through Arc de Triomphe, each set piece is designed to give you a heart attack, or, if you survive, maybe just a panic attack.

So the story takes place a few years after the events of Rogue Nation. With psycho terrorist Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) locked up in high-security prison, an unidentified group of terrorists called The Apostles rise to bomb cities. Hunt’s mission is to hunt for three plutonium cores before The Apostles get to them. And while on the hunt for nukes, it’s a convoluted journey of twists and turns, double-crosses, revelations and all that intricate spy stuff.

But who really cares about the plot, which sometimes makes you think, wait, what? How? Relinquish all your Whys because they become irrelevant in all that rooftop-jumping in Paris, skydiving through clouds ripped by lightning, and the very welcome presence of Superman Henry Cavill, who plays mustachioed CIA assassin August Walker assigned to keep a close watch on Hunt.

Ok, so the terrorist tale is nothing new, complete with familiar elements. But this is a stunt show, and for a stunt show, it surely raises the bar of stunting. This is the film where Cruise broke his ankle. The 56-year-old actor seems first and foremost a stunt master, just sidelining as an A-list movie star. He plummets, flies, crashes and boomerangs, unfazed, like he’s Mr. Incredible. No, all the Incredibles put together. No, Bond, Bourne, and the guys at MCU put together.

The comic relief is not hilarious, but never desperate to make you laugh either. This is not a comedy, anyway. Again, it’s a stunt show.

Hunt is flanked by his usual support team, techman Benji (Simon Pegg) and hacker Luther (Ving Rhames). Adding to the great cast is returning character Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and a blackmarket arms dealer, the White Widow, played by Vanessa Kirby, with eyes and a smile that is quietly lethal. Angela Basset and Alec Baldwin also appear.

McQuarrie and cinematographer Rob Hardy provide spectacular camerawork, with the camera having a love affair with the action, flawlessly and romantically gliding and giving us all the perfect angles and vantage points for maximum impact.

Forget about bringing popcorn into the theater, as you will finish the 2.5-hour running time barely eating. Instead, choose spending that snack money to upgrade to IMAX and have immersive fun watching Tom Cruise trying to kill himself in a giant screen. Should you choose to spend money for a single mainstream movie this year, this is it. A second viewing is not impossible. Even a third.
4 out of 5 stars

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