‘Mission: Impossible - Fallout’ misses the mark
When I first saw the trailer for “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” in February, I was thrilled to see that in their sixth installment the franchise had decided to go in a more mature direction. Based on the preview, Impossible Mission Force agent Ethan Hunt, once again portrayed by Tom Cruise, must again beat impossible odds to save the world. This time, however, he must defeat not only the villain from the previous film, but also his former allies. “If the vision can be executed thoroughly,” I thought, “this movie may elevate the Mission: Impossible series from summer blockbusters to the classics.”
Like all the previous works of the series, “Fallout” maintained top-notch production, especially in the action sequences and set designs. Once again, Cruise proved that he is not too old to meet the demand of the Mission: Impossible franchise. The rest of the returning cast didn’t stand out particularly, but they adequately performed their roles in the movie, whether they were Simon Page’s one-liners or Michelle Monaghan’s nostalgic return. Some of the new characters did feel refreshing, especially the White Widow, the mysterious queen of an underground arms dealing business, portrayed by Vanessa Kirby. As the sixth installment of a franchise, it does almost everything that fans would expect it to do.
That is my biggest problem with the film.
After 22 years, the producers know exactly what the audience expects from the film: over-the-top spy equipment disguises and identity swaps, intense chasing scenes, Tom Cruise running to different locations while trying to beat the last-second timer. After two and half hours of non-stop action, nothing came close to surprising me. Structurally, the film’s pacing almost entirely copies “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” which makes it considerably less intense. In the previous two films, creative set designs often stood out. In “Fallout,” the major sets and action sequences are more extravagant than smart. As a result, Hunt goes from a super agent who has everything under control to a reckless man who is unrealistically lucky. It may be exciting to see him hanging off the side of a plane as it’s taking off, but one can hardly empathize with someone who crashed his helicopter into another one and survived.
Even more frustrating: The film avoids putting any character in a real conflict. A big difference from the other movies is that for a considerable amount of time, Hunt is forced to work with Agent Walker, portrayed by Henry Cavell. This could have been a great opportunity to explore a whole different side of the character. Were there no one to cover his back, would Hunt still be able to stay true to himself? Instead, the director gave up on digging into the more human side of Hunt, and went with what had already been done five times in the previous movies, which is more, and bigger, action scenes. This directly comes at the cost of Henry Cavell’s character, who had the potential to be an unexpected ally or a new influence, going against both the terrorist group and the Impossible Mission Force. Instead, he became another villain who does little other than stand in contrast to the unbeatable protagonist.
“Mission Impossible — Fallout” is a solid action film that will entertain audiences for two and half hours, but I had higher expectations when I walked into the theater. After watching Tom Cruise riding a speeding motorcycle or hanging off a cliff for 22 years, it would have been nice to see him stop running and act like a tired, vulnerable 52-year-old man.