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Movie Review: “Mission Impossible: Fallout”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Theatrical Release: 7/27/2018

Theatrical Release: 7/27/2018

Synopsis

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has received a new mission. Although Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) has been captured, his terrorist syndicate still plans a big nuclear attack. They plan on using three massive bombs, each with 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. Beyond 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.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

The Action (+8pts)

John Lark (-4pts)

Ethan & Ilsa (+5pts)

The White Widow (-4pts)

August Walker (+5pts)

Erika Sloane & Alan Huntley (-3pts)

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Pro: The Action (+8pts)

As should really be no surprise, Mission Impossible: Fallout is full of spectacle-quality action. There were car chases, motorcycle chases, and even helicopter chases. The car sequence was exciting, the motorcycle sequence was awesome, and the helicopter sequence was epic. However, this movie had a lot more than just vehicular action sequences.

Bullets are flying throughout this movie, and those scenes were always intense, but it was the hand-to-hand combat sequences that really stood out to me. There was a scene in which Ethan and Ilsa were helping The White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) escape a club. This scene had some awesome action, but there was also an amazing hand-to-hand combat scene between Ethan Hunt, August Walker, and John Lark. This was the scene shown in the bathroom in the trailer. The hits were pretty brutal, the scene as a whole was pretty awesome, and it set the bar pretty high for the action in the rest of the movie. I gave a few examples here, but there was a ton of action in this movie—as you would expect from any movie in this franchise—and it was always exciting.

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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 thought that the identity of John Lark was way too obvious. The filmmakers did a good job of distracting the audience from thinking about it, but if you think about it—even just a little—then you will be able to figure out the mystery pretty quickly. The problem with this was that I knew the mystery when the main character—an elite member of an intelligence organization—had no idea.

As an audience member all you need to do to figure this out is to ask yourself the following questions. Which character was important enough to make an impactful reveal moment? Who had been actively acting against Ethan‘s interests the entire movie? Why? There was only one character who satisfied the first two questions, while also not having any explanation to explain why they were against Ethan. This made it obvious that them being John Lark was the answer to the third question. 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.

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Pro: Ethan & Ilsa (+5pts)

The relationship between these two characters started in the last movie, and it continued in this one, although it did not get a ton of development. Ilsa worked for MI6, while Ethan worked for IMF. They crossed paths in their hunt for John Lark. They were both after John Lark, but for different organizations. While they had the same goal, they were very much not on the same side, and this provided a level of unpredictability to the plot. Additionally, Ethan cared about her, so he ended up having a huge blind spot when it came to her intentions.

They were working for two different intelligence organizations, so they were against one another, but they also had a thing for one another, so they did not want to hurt one another. It was a complicated dynamic, that I enjoyed seeing. My only complaint was that I 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 complicated relationship. It was a relationship that added complexity to this story, and I thought Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson had the chemistry and the ability to bring this complexity to the screen effectively.

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Con: The White Widow (-4pts)

I really liked the concept of this character and I enjoyed seeing Vanessa Kirby getting a big movie role—as I recognized her from Netflix's The Crown. Unfortunately, I thought the filmmakers struggled to find a place for her in this story. The White Widow was essentially a criminal mediator. When someone needed a job done, they would go to her with what they were willing to pay, and she would find mercenaries and criminals who were willing to do the job. Unfortunately, I got the impression that the filmmakers thought of an interesting character, and did not really have the space for her in this movie, but they squeezed her in here anyway. That or she was supposed to be a inconsequential character, then they got Vanessa Kirby for the role and decided to force the character to have a more significant role, even though there was not enough space for her.

The focus of this story was on Solomon Lane and John Lark, and it made the White Widow feel like somewhat of an afterthought. This unique character suffered from being in a cluttered movie, and the filmmakers lacked the ability or the desire to give the character the focus that she deserved. I liked the idea of the character, and I am looking forward to seeing more of her in future movies. However, in hindsight, the filmmakers probably should have saved the character for a future movie, where she could have taken on more of a significant role in the story instead of unnecessarily cluttering this one.

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Pro: August Walker (+5pts)

I thought August Walker (Henry Cavill) was a good addition to this movie, although I thought his 70’s mustache was a little ridiculous. August Walker was an experienced and very well-trained assassin who worked for Erika Sloane and the United States government. His job on this mission was to essentially babysit Ethan. If Ethan got out of line or decided not to do things by the book, August had the authority to reel Ethan in and even kill him, if August thought that was 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 to be the better agent. Meanwhile, Ethan was 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 trying to prove himself made the mission feel unpredictable at times, because you never knew what he would try to do next.

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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 had a sudden and unjustified change of heart that made 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 it ended in a way that made the whole thing feel like a waste of time. What an unfortunate waste of two talented actors.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-79

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B- (82pts)

I went into this movie expecting a mindless, generic action movie. The movie had its problems, but it definitely exceeded my expectations. The filmmakers introduced a couple new characters with August Walker and the White Widow. I liked both characters quite a bit, but I thought the filmmakers dropped the ball with the latter. The White Widow was an inherently interesting character that could have made the ending of the movie very unpredictable. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seemed to forget all about the character after about halfway through 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 its redeeming qualities. August Walker was a fun rival character for Ethan and he made for some unpredictable moments. Ethan and Ilsa’s storyline was unexpectedly interesting to see unfold, and the action throughout the movie lived up to the hype. This movie had plenty of exciting action, and characters that will keep audiences interested between them. Mission Impossible: Fallout had its flaws, but it was definitely an entertaining action movie.

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