Movie Review: “Mission Impossible: Fallout”
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has received a new mission. Although Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) has been captured, his terrorist syndicate plans a big nuclear attack using three massive bombs that each have the capability of taking millions of lives. With Solomon Lane in custody, a mysterious man, known only by the alias of John Lark, has taken over as head of the terrorist syndicate. That syndicate plans on purchasing three nuclear cores and using their expert scientist to create the bombs. After that, the IMF has no intelligence on the specifics of John Lark’s plan.
Ethan‘s mission, should he choose to accept it, is to identify the mysterious man known as John Lark, and recover the nuclear cores before they can be used to take the lives of millions of innocent people. While he has his team by his side, Erika Sloane (Angela Bassett) has assigned August Walker (Henry Cavill) to the team as well. August Walker is a deadly assassin and his job on this team is to keep Ethan in line. If Ethan does not play by the rules, August has the authority to hunt and kill him, if he deems it necessary.
The Pros & Cons
The Action (+8pts)
John Lark (-4pts)
Ethan & Ilsa (+5pts)
The White Widow (-4pts)
August Walker (+5pts)
Erika Sloane & Alan Huntley (-3pts)
Pro: The Action (+8pts)
As should really be no surprise, Mission Impossible: Fallout is full of spectacle-quality action. There are car chases, motorcycle chases, and even helicopter chases. The car chase was exciting, the motorcycle sequence was awesome, and the helicopter chase was epic. In addition to the great vehicular action scenes, there is plenty of stationary action that will keep audiences glued to their seats.
Bullets are flying throughout this movie, but it was the hand-to-hand combat sequences that stood out to me. There is a scene in which Ethan and Ilsa are helping The White Widow escape a club. This scene had some subtly awesome action, but was preceded by an amazing action sequence between Ethan Hunt, August Walker, and John Lark. This is the scene shown in the bathroom in the trailer. It is pretty brutal, pretty awesome, and it sets the bar for the rest of the action in this movie. I gave a few examples here, but there are a ton of awesome action sequences from the beginning to the end of this movie (way too much for me to mention it all in this review).
Con: John Lark (-4pts)
This was an element of the story that I thought needed a lot more work. I honestly cannot speak for everyone, but I found that the identity of John Lark was way too obvious. The movie does a good job of distracting the audience, but if you think (just a little) you will be able to figure out the ”mystery” pretty quickly. The problem with this is that the main character (an elite member of an intelligence organization) has no idea.
As an audience member all you need to do to figure this out is to ask yourself the following questions. Which cast member is important enough to make an impactful reveal moment? Who has been actively acting against Ethan‘s interests? Why? There is one character who satisfies the first two questions but does not have any real motive to answer the third. This means they are John Lark! It should really not have been that easy to figure this out considering how much focus the secret identity got and how long it took Ethan to figure it out.
Pro: Ethan & Ilsa (+5pts)
The relationship between these two characters started in the last movie but, though it did not get a whole lot of development, continued in this one. Ilsa works for MI6, while Ethan works for IMF. They cross paths in their hunt for John Lark, which provides a level of unpredictability to the plot. Ethan cares about her so seems to have a huge blind spot (initially) when it comes to her. This created a few unpredictable moments in the first half of this story.
They are working for two different intelligence organizations, but they definitely have a thing for one another so they work together. The movie then touches on the complicated fact that they have different missions but do not want to hurt eachother. I liked this concept and would have liked to have seen it explored further. That being said, I thought their relationship worked well for the movie. In a genre filled with cheesy characters, I bought their relationship. The actors had decent chemistry and did a good job at bringing the character’s complicated feelings for one another to the screen.
Con: The White Widow (-4pts)
I really liked the concept of this character and I enjoyed seeing the actress that played her (as I recognized her from The Frankenstein Chronicles, which is a Netflix series that I enjoy). Unfortunately, I thought the filmmakers struggled to find a place for this character in this story. The White Widow is essentially a criminal mediator. When someone needs a job done, they go to her with what they are willing to pay. She then finds mercinaries and criminals who are willing to do the job.
This was a pretty unique character and I got the impression that she knew way more than she was letting on. Vanessa Kirby did a good job of playing this character in a powerful and mysterious way, but the filmmakers really dropped the ball on the character. The focus of this story was on Solomon Lane and John Lark. This made The White Widow somewhat of an afterthought. This unique character suffered from a cluttered movie and the filmmakers lacked the ability (or desire) to give her proper focus. She is a major focal point in the beginning of the movie but, by the story’s halfway point, this character ends up being forgotten.
Pro: August Walker (+5pts)
I thought August Walker (Henry Cavill) was a good addition to this movie, though I thought his 70’s mustache was a little unnecessary. August Walker is an experienced and very well-trained assassin who works for Erika Sloane and the United States. His job on this mission is to, essentially, babysit Ethan. If Ethan gets out of line or decides not to do things by the book, August has the authority to hunt Ethan and even kill him (if August thinks that is necessary).
What made this character so entertaining was his rivalry with Ethan. It seemed like August was trying to prove himself as Ethan’s better. He undermined and sabotaged Ethan’s plan whenever possible so that he could prove himself the better agent. Meanwhile, Ethan is just trying to finish the mission and keep August from getting himself hurt. It created an almost one-sided rivalry and an additional obstacle for Ethan to overcome. It was an almost impossible mission to begin with, but the added variable of August Walker made the mission feel unpredictable (at times).
Con: Erika Sloane & Alan Huntley (-3pts)
I honestly do not know why either of these characters got the focus that they did. There was a whole side storyline of Erika Sloane (Angela Bassett) versus Alan Huntley (Alec Baldwin) that did not make any real sense to me for a few reasons. The first (and most important) reason was that the feud gave away the plot twist of the identity behind the alias of John Lark. The next reason was that both characters could have been removed from the story entirely and the story would not have suffered (it would actually have been better that way).
The last reason was that Alan Huntley was in Ethan Hunt’s corner from the beginning while Erika Sloane was against him. Then at the end of the movie, one of them has a sudden and unjustified change of heart that makes the whole feud seem pointless. Long story short, these were two unnecessary characters that had an unnecessary feud which gave away a big plot twist and ended in a way that made the whole thing feel like a waste of time. What an unfortunate waste of two talented actors.
Grade: B- (82pts)
I went into this movie expecting a mindless, generic action movie. Do not get me wrong, the movie has its problems, but it definitely exceeded expectations. The filmmakers introduced a couple new characters with August Walker and The White Widow. I liked both characters quite a bit but the filmmakers dropped the ball on the latter. The White Widow was a very unique character that could have made the ending of the movie very unpredictable. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seemed to forget all about the character after the halfway point of the story.
The mystery of John Lark was very predictable and the feud between Erika Sloane and Alan Huntley was severely unnecessary, but the movie definitely had some redeeming qualities. August Walker was a fun rival character for Ethan and created some unpredictable moments. Ethan and Ilsa’s storyline was unexpectedly interesting to see, and the action lives up to the hype. The movie is a blockbuster action movie at its core, so intent of each scene should be to transition into the next exciting action sequence. This movie has plenty of exciting action sequences and character’s that will entertain audiences between them. Mission Impossible: Fallout has its flaws but it is definitely an enjoyable action movie.