Movie Review : Mission : Impossible - Fallout (2018)
The Mission : Impossible movies are weird. Because they're never really felt like an ongoing thing, like Star Wars, Marvel and DC's cinematic universes or even Lord of the Rings. They just dropped unannounced every couple years, delivering adequate thrills, ridiculous double crosses involving lifelike latex masks and copious amount of footage of Tom Cruise running. Except for Brian De Palma's original film, the Mission : Impossible movies were never considered great and faced little to no expectations, except for the three variables named above. But have we slept on Mission : Impossible all these years?
Mission : Impossible - Fallout was released in theaters in late July and well... it's the best self-consciously over-the-top popcorn movie I've seen in recent years.
Fallout is the direct sequel to Rogue Nation, where our gorgeously haired protagonist Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) battled a mythical international terrorist organization called the Syndicate. The organization might've been vanquished, but loyalist to its leader Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) remain scattered around the globe, acting under the name of the Apostles. Hunt is given for mission to remove plutonium from the black market after the mysterious de facto leader of the Apostles John Lark kidnaps a Norwegian nuclear scientist (Kristoffer Joner) to build three nuclear devices. But shit hits the fan, Hunt is forced to choose between the plutonium and a team member's life, so the former disappears again.
Now, is it just me or the Mission : Impossible movies are becoming low key fun under their latest writer and director Christopher McQuarrie? I mean, they don't have the slightest pretenses of being even remotely close to reality anymore. Tom Cruise abandoned the idea of playing anyone but himself, it features an imaginary terrorist organization built by anarchist secret agents instead of an easy scapegoat like Al-Qaeda or ISIS and it embraces the idea of a rogue nuclear threat with a straight face like it hasn't been done by a thousand action movies over the last 50 years. That's what makes Mission : Impossible - Fallout so much fun. It's a movie that's just trying to be a movie. And your only job is to let go and enjoy it.
Speaking of which, let's talk about Mission : Impossible - Fallout's last half hour. Because Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise let go of the wheel then and the movie becomes abstract art. It delves into a level of ridiculousness that mirrors the last fight at the end of Bloodsport. By the two-hour mark, the movie is over. There is no narrative left. But it goes on for half an hour on tension porn alone. I've never seen a movie that just refused to climax for so fucking long. It's like a tantric lover that denies you pleasure for the sake of its own orgasmic finale. It become so exhausting to follow Tom Cruise and the bad guys chasing one another in helicopters at some point that it makes you wonder what the fuck you're actually watching.
I've enjoyed Mission : Impossible - Fallout way more than I thought I would. Up to a point where I'm starting to think we collectively haven't been nice enough to this franchise. Maybe it's our fear of scientology that kept us from enjoying anything Tom Cruise is doing to its fullest. Maybe our constant and hopeless search for meaning lead us to dismiss these movies that don't have a greater purpose. But Mission : Impossible is an anachronistic pleasure. They're movies that are just made to be enjoyed, like these 90s thrillers we like to worship today. They're weird, bombastic and so far into their own delirium that you can watch them without feeling shitty about the world afterwards.