The Lesser Column

Mission Impossible: Fallout – Cruise cheats death (again)

mission

The sixth Mission Impossible adventure is much more than an advertisement for Tom Cruise’s cardio program, it’s a white-knuckle ride with a knowing smirk on its face.

 

 

Try as he might, Tom Cruise isn’t being taken seriously as an actor, which is a shame given he’s actually really, really good when he’s given the right material. So we might assume from this point he’s neither getting an Oscar, nor is he going to try to get one. He knows what the people want, and from the look of things, he’s determined to deliver. Even when he’s phoning it in for the cash in what might be the absolute nadir of his screen credits (The Mummy – so very, very bad), people line up. The man’s popular.

The thing about his Mission: Impossible films is that, for the most part, they don’t make any sense, they are comprised of a series of spectacular action set pieces strung together by some ludicrously convoluted plotting, and everything comes down to the assumption that Cruise’s secret agent will defy death and save the world. They exist not out of cultural necessity, but because they’re big and silly and hugely popular.

 

 

The sixth outing presupposes you paid attention to the minutiae of the plot of Rogue Nation, which I didn’t, and that suspension of disbelief is a given, which it is. It scarcely matters what the plot is, the film (much like a bulk of its predecessors) is one brilliantly staged set piece after the next. Each of them requires a host of implausibility and coincidence. And the fact is, it’s just fun. It’s large, and engaging, and silly, and so much fun.

It’s also a film which has a literal cliffhanger of an ending.

I can’t for the life of me imagine how Cruise and Co can take things up a notch with any potential seventh installment, or if Cruise would ultimately be up for the challenge; there are moments in the film where his Ethan Hunt takes a few hits, and the actor – now in his mid-fifties – looks like he’s taken one beating too many. And who could blame him? Sometimes these films are exhausting to watch, let alone participate in. I give full credit to the actor for his commitment, as well as the steady eye of writer-director Christopher McQuarrie, who builds and holds tension throughout and keeps things going at momentum for the duration of its 2½ hour running time.

Fallout is as good as anything of this genre, the quintessential popcorn picture. Don’t think twice, it’s alright.

 

The Lesser Column

The Lesser Column covers a broad spectrum of content. With a focus on film, we also publish reviews of music, books, TV shows, live theatre and stand-up comedy, as well as occasional pieces of social and cultural commentary. Our reviews don’t give star ratings or ‘thumbs up/down’, and come from a more personal perspective – why what’s on display affected us in the way it did; why it’s good or otherwise, how it fits in a broader cultural context. Here is where you come for informed opinion and analysis. People are often very selective about how and where they find themselves entertained, so we’re offering reasons why you should see, read, hear, and experience something beyond simply what it’s about.

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