“Mission: Impossible – Fallout”

Writing reviews for the Mission: Impossible franchise is often repetitive since I’ve said the last three installments, “This is the best of the franchise.” Well, I’m here again to say that about Fallout! If more installments are released, they’ll have to work hard to top the suspense and insanity of this one.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) saves his team in a failed mission, resulting in the loss of plutonium cores. He’s forced to team up with the straight-faced CIA operative, August Walker (Henry Cavill) to recover the cores, leading to a reunion with double agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and old enemy Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). It wouldn’t be a Mission: Impossible movie without the action sequences!

The previous M:I installments (Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation in particular) had impressive action sequences that relied on Cruise’s stunt work. Fallout’s action reaches new achievements in action movie filmmaking. Every sequence raises the stakes both for the film’s cast and narrative. HALO jumps, a brutal bathroom fight, and a thrilling helicopter chase will leave you wondering, “How the hell did they do that?”

Screenwriter/director Christopher McQuarrie (Rogue Nation, Jack Reacher) once again balances character-driven storytelling with spectacular action sequences. We learn what makes Ethan tick: his addiction to the mission and love for his team. Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames return as Benji and Luther. We see a few key scenes where Ethan’s willing to sacrifice the mission for his only family. Both Pegg and Rhames once again shine in their supporting roles.

Cruise has never been better as Ethan Hunt. At 56 years old, Cruise displays amazing agility and fearlessness in his stunts. It’s hard not to gasp for breath watching him jump into a lightning storm or fly a helicopter between mountains. He also delivers a more tormented performance, showing Ethan is burned out, but determined.

Cavill’s August Walker is a great foil to Ethan. Younger, more physically imposing, and okay going after colleagues since “it’s the job,” August is one of the more formidable antagonistic characters in the franchise. Plus, I can watch his “arm reload” pose on repeat.

Fallout runs at 147 minutes long (the longest installment in the franchise) and is never dull. In fact, McQuarrie paces the film in a roller coaster fashion. If we can just get rid of the “last-second countdown” cliche, then Fallout would be perfect. But I can forgive that one little flaw and will pay full price to see it again (thanks, MoviePass).

Grade: A

 

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Top 5 Summer Movies of 2015

I’ll keep this very brief, but here are my picks for the top 5 summer movies of this year.

5) Jurassic World – I know a lot of people disagree with me here, but it’s two hours of nostalgia at its finest. Funny and suspenseful, Jurassic World keeps me invested as a fan of the Jurassic Park franchise.

4) Trainwreck – I’ll ask this – why hadn’t I heard of Amy Schumer before seeing Trainwreck?! She’s fucking brilliant!

3) Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – Tom Cruise hangs on the side of a plane, nearly drowns, crashes a car, and chases bad guys in a high speed motorcycle chase in the best installment of the franchise.

2) Inside Out – You know you found a special animated film that depicts the highs and lows of growing up while paying tribute to abstract art and disaster movies.

1) Mad Max: Fury Road – It’s the action movie no one expected to like then went back to see it three more times! Why? Because it’s a groundbreaking, beautiful, and thrilling spectacle.

Where’s my worst? Well, it’s no competition with “Fant4stic”, ladies and gents!

“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”

Tom Cruise is a maniac. Does he have a death wish when he swims under water for several minutes with no oxygen tank? Is he trying to gain attention by hanging on the side of a flying cargo plane? All I know is I respect the crap out of him for his commitment to his work; especially in the “Mission: Impossible” movies.

“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is the fifth installment in the “M:I” franchise and has Cruise returning as Ethan Hunt, alongside Jeremy Renner’s Brandt, Simon Pegg’s Benji, and Ving Rhames’s Luther. The plot is fairly similar to the first and fourth installments since Hunt and his team are evading officials while tracking down a terrorist organization known as The Syndicate.

I’m a big fan of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise and grew up watching these movies. I watched “Mission: Impossible” (1996) several times when I was a kid, “Mission: Impossible 2” (2000) is a stupid-yet-enjoyable sequel, “Mission: Impossible III” (2006) is the best revenge spy thriller since “License to Kill” (1989), and “Ghost Protocol” (2011) is a brilliant spectacle piece that had audiences taking Tom Cruise seriously again. Cruise once again proves in “Rogue Nation” why he’s one of the best action stars of all time.

Cruise keeps us on the edge of our seats between his aerobics, stunt driving, fight sequences, and his motorcycle chase. We all know about that now iconic plane stunt from the trailers, but the best part is, that’s not even the BEST action sequence! I won’t tell you what is because it’s too hard to choose!

The film is also suspenseful without action sequences and at times feels like the first “M:I” movie as characters betray each other, and bypass high-tech security systems. Remember that scene in this year’s spy tribute “Kingsman” where Colin Firth and Samuel L Jackson discuss spy movies? Where Firth says the old spy movies had sillier far-fetched plots while the newer ones are more serious? “Rogue Nation” is equally measured in silliness and intensity.

We also get dramatic scene-stealing work from Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson is the strongest female character we’ve gotten in this series as a femme-fatale rogue operative, and Sean Harris (one of the dummies who gets killed in the cave scene in “Prometheus” (2012)) plays a subtle and menacing villain.

I recommend everyone should see “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” if they like action-packed sequels that nearly outdo their predecessors.

Grade: A