“Mission Impossible – Fallout” Lacks Impossibility

The Sixth Installment of Series Delivers on Action, Falls Through on Plot

Andrew Mello, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Falcon Rating: 2.5/4 Falcons

Authenticity can be incredibly important for the big summer movies. If you couldn’t believe Iron Man was really flying, then you wouldn’t believe what the story’s selling. The key ingredient of the Mission Impossible series is to show just that: impossibility. The grand schemes and high stakes come together for a decently compelling story yet still one with many holes and empty scenes. This series so far has kept up a somewhat high standard in a genre so often forgettable, making good on a promise of funny jokes, an understandable plot, but most notably, action set pieces that feel leagues ahead of many competitors.

There’s plenty going on in Mission Impossible – Fallout. However, the inter-governmental ties, the double crossings, the spy networking—all of that is unimportant. The Impossible Mission force headed by Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) have found themselves in a tight spot after their last few missions, and their new mission tasks them with buying weaponized plutonium to be used in a nuclear weapon. Complications during the trade results in them needing to chase the plutonium across the globe, weighed down by their CIA babysitter, August Walker (Henry Cavill). Nothing in that aspect of the movie deserves anything above a C-grade, as it’s mostly just an excuse to tie together two action scenes. The plot twists fall flat—if a situation seems to be heading south, you already can tell it’s not actually going to result in disaster, so you sort of space out. But while the writing might not always be great, there’s still enough substance in the action scenes to make up for these shortcomings.

The real pain and fear on Cruise’s face makes you forget he is still acting and not a real person holding on for dear life.

It’s well known at this point in his career that Tom Cruise does his own stunts, and nowhere is it more insane or life threatening than in this series. So far in the Mission Impossible series, Cruise has climbed the tallest building in the world, dangled off a plane during takeoff, and this time, he’s upping the ante with even higher-risk adventures. There’s a nail biting scene of him climbing up from cargo dangling off a helicopter. During this climb, when he reaches the top, he falls off and desperately attempts to cling onto the rope. Despite believing earlier that all suspense had been drained from the movie, I wasn’t entirely sure he was supposed to fall then. The fear in his eyes was entirely legitimate. The real pain and fear on the Cruise’s face makes you forget he is still acting and not real people, holding on for dear life. Even moments like Cruise stopping to catch his breath after sprinting along rooftops convince an audience that they aren’t watching something made on a soundstage; it does a great job to provide legitimacy for these crazy scenes you’re seeing, and it momentarily strips off the glamour and polish of typical Hollywood features. While the rest of the movie lacks the impossibility that made the previous movies so exhilarating, Cruise causes the audience to hold their breath.

The most visceral reaction I’ve ever heard in a movie theater was to the ankle-breaking jump Cruise takes across rooftops. It’s been made infamous in interviews and tabloids because of the damage it did to the star. He’s been sprinting and hopping between buildings in the film but at last, it seems like an end has come to his chase. The daunting gap seems insurmountable even for our hero, but he still advances, unphased. Finally, he takes the leap and a violent shiver goes through him from his rough landing. Still needing to race after his target, Hunt limps his way to the finish, beaten & bruised. That scene brought back the real stakes of the Mission Impossible movies just in time for the climax, showing these action heroes are more vulnerable than they seem.