Life is a Cinema Hall rating: (4 / 5) (This rating is only a snapshot. The details are in the words.)
As we humans get older we tend to somehow wrap ourselves in a bubble of blubber, tearing up at even the slightest of provocations. Ethan Hunt, getting older and wiser and played by the frustratingly evergreen and handsome Tom Cruise, is no exception. Which is not to say that in his latest outing, Mission: Impossible—Fallout, Hunt’s going around hugging folks with flowers in his hair (what does he do to maintain that Nobel-prize worthy mass of seductive follicles anyway?) or singing songs at an old age home. But just about not. He’s more humane now, more circumspect, and if you wanted to be barred from his list of Facebook friends you could do worse than use the words “collateral damage” in front of him. Why, even Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames, very good as usual) whimpers and wells up and almost gets you going too.
But let not director Christopher McQuarrie—returning to helm the Mission Impossible series after his earlier, superb Rogue Nation—fool you. For, that’s just about as much sentiment that you’ll get from this crackling movie. Well, almost. Opening with a sequence that tells you where Hunt’s heart is and whom it beats for, the mission comes soon enough for him and the Impossible Missions Force (IMF). The rogue from the earlier movie’s Syndicate—Solomon Lane (Sean Harris)—is back, whose group has now regrouped into The Apostles, and is on its way to acquire three plutonium cores and has an unknown, new client named John Lark. Even as the IMF team—including Simon Pegg‘s Benji—gets cracking and slips almost immediately, CIA director Erica Sloane (the stately Angela Basset in an engaging cameo) assigns assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) to shadow Hunt and his team —much to IMF secretary, Alan Hunley’s (Alec Baldwin) consternation and despite his protestations—to ensure the core acquisition goes without a hitch. Needless to say, things go awry. There’s a broker, White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) who sets the terms and conditions of getting the core back, and nothing’s ever straightforward.
Add to the mix MI6 and its redoubtable ex-agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) coming in from Rogue Nation, a crisscross of chases, crosses, and double-crosses across continents, agencies, and gangs, and you are set up for an IMAX experience that is nothing but mesmerizingly stunning. The plotline (written by the director) is tight and the action sequences are devastatingly good. Director McQuarrie adds more grit and sinewy muscle to the hand-to-hand combats, and fittingly makes his intent known in a men’s room fisticuff—as did director Martin Campbell when he introduced Daniel Craig in the Bond series in Casino Royale—that’s bone-crackingly superb. Using Rob Hardy‘s unrelentingly hypnotic cinematography, the movie straps up some of the best action sequences you’d have ever seen onscreen. The HALO (high altitude – low opening) jump over Paris, amidst sheaths of lightning is breathtaking; as are the later chase sequences through the streets of Paris. Watch Cruise take off on a bike and chased around the city, and you’ll know what breathless action means—Cruise looking over his shoulder as his bike turbos ahead, and then narrowly missing a car ahead is a stunner. Even the score by Lorne Balfe stops awhile, as if his orchestra couldn’t keep up with the zig-zag pace. (The score throbs and pulses, supplementing the action onscreen: the insistent percussion, the double brass, and in the scene where the IMF team rides into White Widow’s mansion—the violins ominous, but the piano tinkling so beautifully. If there was a sound for suspense, this would be it.)
But there’s more action sets, each ridiculously magnificent and unpredictable: the choppers’ sequence over snow-capped peaks—supposedly in the Himalayan region—is jaw-droppingly good, as is the literal cliffhanger of a climax. It’s as if McQuarrie and his team tease you to figure out just how they did it and challenge you to separate the actual action sets from special effects and CGIs. Give it a shot if you can and want to but it’s Mission Impossible, and all you can do is capitulate and fall in. Topping this enterprise’s energy is its terrific cast. Rebecca Ferguson is sunshine presence, flaming action with her limbs even as her eyes spin emotions of their own. Simon Pegg brings more likeability and world-wise maturity to his Benji, but he’s in his element when he has to remotely guide Cruise around the rooftops of London. And he gets to kick butt—and get kicked—too. Vanessa Kirby as the White Widow brings an alluring sauciness and mystery to her role.
While I sorely missed Jeremy Renner in this outing—but he’ll surely be back after wrapping his Avengers sequel shootout?— Henry Cavill shows he’s a mean machine minus the cape as well. His frame powers the screen even when he’s with Cruise, and that’s saying a lot. When he throws a punch, you know he means business, but you simply can’t take your eyes off those searching eyes or that magnificently sculpted jaw. And what would the Mission Impossible series be without Tom Cruise? (Or Jack Reacher, for that matter?) The actor’s in superb form here, his grey stubble making his Hunt world-weary and yet wanting to do the right thing. His conflicted act is hauntingly good. And when he walks under a canopy of trees, the camera following him from a distance, you’re awestruck, as you are when he’s all dash and suave action elsewhere. But the biggest pleasure is watching Tom Cruise hoof it at super speed, because when he does, it’s not just him pounding the gravel incessantly. It’s your anxious heart too.
Life is a Cinema Hall ratings chart
(1 / 5): Don’t bother
(2 / 5): Not too great
(3 / 5): Worth a watch
(4 / 5): Very good
(5 / 5): Drop everything else NOW
Movie data powered by IMDb
Mission: Impossible—Fallout is rated U/A [Parental Guidance for children below the age of 12 years) There’s intense action sequences and violence. The Indian censor board has helpfully deleted all F-words and the K-word as well. (K for Kashmir.)]
Director Christopher McQuarrie Running Time 2h 27min
Writer Christopher McQuarrie
Stars Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Vanessa Kirby, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris
Genres Action, Adventure, Thriller
Watch the trailer of Mission: Impossible—Fallout here: