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You can say what you want about movie franchises over-staying their welcome, and sucking the life out of itself. But when it comes to the Mission: Impossible franchise, it remains to be one of the most consistent and reliable franchises right now.
Universally, the weakest in the franchise is seen as the second installment. However, I think most people will agree that it still has redeemable qualities and is still a fairly enjoyable watch. As for the rest of them, the order is most definitely not set in stone. A lot of peoples favourite MI film is quite possibly the most varied. For me, it's MI: III which saw J.J Abrams make his directorial debut as well as his breakthrough. Since then, Abrams has been heavily involved in the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises.
For part six for this series, I wasn't super excited for this. However, I was eager to see it as I knew this reliability of this franchise and I was expecting a good time at the very least. I certainly got that.
This particular Mission: Impossible seems to follow the steps that the Bond film Spectre has done and that is link the main story with some of its previous film, which is a first for MI. They did harken back to small parts of previous films, but never to be integral to the story.
This therefore means that watching the last three MI films would help. Thankfully, it doesn't quite ruin the overall enjoyment of the film, but seeing those previous films will clear up some small aspects of the story for people who haven't any of the others. The way they're resolved was quite satisfying and I think hardcore fans will appreciate this the most.
I also noticed about halfway through the way they were executing and editing certain scenes. It was as if they were trying to make it as realistic as possible in terms of resolving situations. It looked as if that their mission (pun not intended) was to limit their mistakes in logic and continuity as much as possible. Fair play for that. But did that improve my enjoyment of it? I will be talking about that later on.
One thing I noticed early on was the pacing. Dare I say, it was ploddy. I came to realise this as they overstayed their welcome in various scenes, whether it be on a tiny development piece or one of its pivotal moments, they all added in the almost two hours and 30 minutes duration.
But one thing is for sure, the action is terrific and for some people, that is all they are looking in this type of film.
It is always was nice to see the old gang back together with Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames still featuring in every MI film. Cruise continues to astonish us at still kicking-ass, doing his own stunts and doing a lot of running even though he is now 56. The arch given to Cruise's character of Ethan Hunt was a very intriguing one, and ended up being well explored, developed and executed by the end. It may the most in-depth character study we have seen in any MI film.
While it seems to be the only major project Rhames is still a part of, he remains a solid addition to the crew rather than just being a token for nostalgia.
While I still think Simon Pegg did well in his fourth MI outing, it was probably the least memorable performance out of all of them in my opinion.
We also have a few new regulars back for a second outing. Rebecca Ferguson gives us another memorable outing after her brilliant debut in Rogue Nation. Her contribution in the action scenes is great to watch and her characters strength is still believable and is becoming one of the best parts of this franchise.
Alec Baldwin is back and certainly has his shining moment in this one that is worth looking out for.
Sean Harris also did a solid job. It was not as memorable as his first appearance. But it still never felt out of place.
As for newbie Henry Cavill, he certainly came in all guns blazing. He had a nice mix of mystery as well as brute force and was a memorable character. Also, after all the controversy involving his moustache, it was certainly worth it.
I must quickly mention Vanessa Kirby's character. I liked her mysterious persona and I would happily more of that character if they decided to make more.
There was also a nice surprise minor role that further expands an aspect to the timeline.
What everyone will be talking about after seeing this is most definitely the action. It is what the franchise is best known for, and they always seem to better themselves each time. Plus, I love they try to make it as practical as possible. In this one, there are three stand-out set-pieces. They are all gripping, exhilarating, well shot, well choreographed, and are made to be seen on the big screen. One in particular towards the end has the cinematography to thank for. The in-built cameras perfectly enhanced the action and made it great finale.
Also a brief mention of some great sound design during one of the set-pieces.
Sadly, I do have some problems with it. I respect and appreciated the high-quality level and amount of realism and logic that they put into this one. I was fine with that being the route of director Christopher McQuarrie and his team went down, but I think concentrating too much on that detracted the enjoyment level. As mentioned before, it also affected its pacing as well in my opinion and lingered too much on several occasions.
Another negative that needs mentioning that was a big reason for me not giving a great rating was the lack of fun. It was probably the least fun MI film I've seen. It was all very downbeat and even when they went for a comedic moment, it wasn't that great. I think the most fun I had during the film was probably the action scenes.
Also, some of the decisions characters made felt a bit unnecessary and some of the twists were predictable and felt being there for the sake of it.
So while I was somewhat disappointed with certain aspects, this is still another solid addition to this increasingly reliable franchise. I am quite surprised at the ridiculously high scores this is getting from other movie critic outlets, and I can partly see why this is the case. But for me, it is decent-to-solid with three great action set-pieces. If I had to rank to it, I would place it in the bottom half and on a par with Ghost Protocol.
If you are a fan of Cruise and this franchise then you cannot miss this, especially on the big screen.