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I have now watched Mission: Impossible – Fallout three times. Twice with my sisters and once by myself in IMAX. And I have to say, this is the PERFECT movie to watch in IMAX. Everything is just so much more breathtaking in that giant screen.
So, when I first watched the movie, I wrote a spoiler-free review where I talked about how this was my favorite one in the series and how everything was perfect in this movie. But since I had to stray away from spoilers, I couldn't talk about it as much as I wanted to.
But since I was gonna watch it for the third time today, I decided that I should analyze it like a film critic and go in depth. So, I watched the movie with a notebook and took some sloppy notes while watching Fallout.
So, here is my spoiler-filled analysis of Fallout. If you want to read my spoiler-free review, click here.
Okay, so right when we get our opening logos, you get something different. You don't hear the logo music or the Mission: Impossible theme. You get the first of Lorne Balfe's spectacular soundtrack, which is just a drum beat, which increases in intensity as the logos continue until we get introduced to our first scene.
We have a wedding scene between Ethan and Julia. Right from the start, we know something's off. Because we already saw their wedding in Mission: Impossible III, and the voice of the minister should sound similar to all of who watched Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
His face wasn't shown just yet, but the raspy, monotone, threatening voice of Solomon Lane in Rogue Nation definitely tipped us off that it was Lane. He tells Ethan, "You should've killed me, Ethan." And right then —
An explosion goes off in the distance. This foreshadows the climax of the film, when Ethan and his team must stop this very thing from happening.
When I watched this in IMAX, the sound of just the dream sequence ending and Ethan waking up was so loud and powerful. Ethan hears a knock on the door and goes down to see who it is.
At the door, there is a shadow of a man. He says, "Fate whispers to the warrior." Ethan replies, "There's a storm coming. And the warrior whispers back—" before he steps into the light and says, "'I am the storm.'"
Something like this should be the new "password" in movies. You have to have a badass exchange like this. Although, I'm glad that Fallout's password is unique in this aspect.
Ethan has his message told to him in a classic Mission: Impossible style with perfect, almost neo-noir style lighting. When the message self-destructs, the smoke rises in front of Ethan's face and his face fades away, transitioning to the next scene.
Little details like this are what make this movie so great. Everything is just crafted so perfectly. Action movies don't usually get considered for Oscars or anything like that, since they're usually pretty simple. But I honestly think Fallout is a cinematic masterpiece.
In this scene, Ethan and Benji are waiting to buy black market plutonium before it can get into the hands of the Apostles. We get some nice little banter between longtime team members, Luther and Benji.
And the directing in this scene is just perfect. Every single shot looks beautiful and uses lens flares to enhance every shot. It looks like a scene straight out of a dark crime thriller, and is exactly what you want from a Mission: Impossible movie.
Once the black market sellers get killed by the Apostles and they take Luther hostage, Ethan must decide between taking the plutonium and escaping or saving Luther's life.
And Ethan chooses to save Luther. This shows how much Ethan cares about his friends. He's known Luther since the original film, and he's not gonna lose him, even if it means he loses the plutonium to the Apostles.
Ah, the HOSPITAL SEQUENCE. This scene was one of the best in the whole series. Balfe's soundtrack complemented this scene perfectly, as Ethan and Luther trick Nils Delbruuk into giving them information on John Lark's dealings.
The twist where it's revealed the room is fake, and Wolf Blitzer on TV was actually Benji in a mask is perfect. Ethan then tells Nils, "What's done is done when we say it's done," before shooting into his neck, as the Mission: Impossible theme begins along with the opening credits.
There hasn't yet been a Mission: Impossible opening credits sequence to not give me chills, and this movie did not disappoint. I love how the openings for the last three films have given hints at what was to come later in the movie.
We have a scene where we get re-introduced to Hunley, and get introduced to CIA assassin August Walker, along with CIA director Erika Sloane.
She forces Ethan to take Walker with him to retrieve the plutonium cores, and the scene of Ethan and Walker talking on the plane actually has a LOT of foreshadowing for the big twist in which Walker is revealed to be John Lark.
The first thing I noticed this time was when Ethan scanned Walker's face, pointed at his face on the screen, and then said, "I'll assume John Lark's identity." He LITERALLY pointed at Walker's face and said he'd make a mask of John Lark's face and we missed it.
Ethan also mentions that Walker is the only reason that the IMF doesn't have a living witness of John Lark. Why is that? Because Walker IS Lark. That's why they don't have a living witness.
And remember—Ethan said, "I'll assume John Lark's identity," which foreshadows the fact that Walker and Lane would eventually try to frame Ethan as John Lark.
Then, we have the HALO jump sequence. What makes this scene so good? You can start with the fact that the whole thing was done in ONE SHOT. There are virtually no cuts in the whole sequence from the beginning of the jump to the end.
And there's also the fact that Tom Cruise actually performed this stunt over a hundred times, once every day, in order to get the shot that they wanted for the film.
They were also able to replace Henry Cavill with his stunt double using a stitched-together shot. Most directors would simply cut away from the actor just as he is about to do the stunt, and then the stunt gets done by a stunt double.
But Christopher McQuarrie? He TRULY sells the idea that Walker was the one who did it and the swap between Cavill and the stunt double is basically invisible.
The scene gets much more tense when Walker gets struck by lightning during his fall, and once this happens, the music accompanying the scene completely stops, which really complemented the scene. And as they drop, Ethan must give him his own oxygen tank for him to survive.
First, it shows that even though Ethan barely knows this asshole, he's still gonna try and save him, and I have a list of "Extremely Difficult and Dangerous Things to Never Do", and ACTING while plunging to the ground thousands of feet in the air is one of them. So, props to Tom Cruise.
Given the chronology of the movie, and the location of this deleted scene, it can be safe to assume that this scene took place right after the HALO jump sequence, where Ethan and Walker have to find a way to get from the roof of the building to the ground.
And I have to say, I'm glad this was cut. While it would have been a thrilling scene, we had JUST watched the HALO jump sequence. ANOTHER dangerous stunt right after it would have just been an unnecessary action scene that didn't add to the actual plot. So, I think it was a good idea to leave this on the cutting room floor.
THIS. A scene like this is just perfect. After walking around for a bit on the dance floor, Walker and Ethan enter the bathroom so that Ethan can take the identity of "John Lark" and meet with the White Widow.
And this is exactly how to build up tension and suspense for an action sequence. Walker and Ethan stand on both sides of Lark, and eventually, a huge fight begins between Walker, Ethan, and Lark.
And this fight scene is just really good for an action movie these days. No crazy shaky cam, no jump cuts. Just real-sounding punches, real stunts, and a well-choreographed fight. Directors, take notes. THIS IS WHAT ACTION SHOULD LOOK LIKE.
Ilsa gets reintroduced when she shoots Lark in the head, and Ethan goes out to meet the Widow himself, impersonating Lark.
For me, the scene felt very neo-noir. It was nice seeing Ethan pretend to be Lark, and it really felt like a Bond-esque spy thriller.
The scene ends with another quick action scene, and something I really like is how McQuarrie directs action. Wide angles, and in not only this scene but also the bathroom fight, there isn't any loud, distracting music over the action.
Ethan and the White Widow go to a place where a plot is revealed to release Solomon Lane from custody and killing all the police guarding him so there would be no witnesses.
And Ethan would have to participate in this as well. We have a very nice fantasy sequence, where Ethan imagines himself murdering police officers in cold blood.
The scene is pretty dark, and it's a chilling sight to see Ethan Hunt kill officers like that (unless you watched Cruise in Collateral). It's a very well-directed scene with long takes and it perfectly sets the stage for the upcoming scene in which this plan is brought into action.
Walker meets Sloane in Paris and voices his suspicions about Ethan being the real John Lark, giving his reasoning behind it as well.
He then hands her a phone, saying it was the phone that they pulled off the dead body in the bathroom. Sloane takes it facedown, and then turns the screen over, and we see the screen is completely intact.
If you were watching closely, you'd have caught that the phone Ethan actually pulled off the body had a cracked screen. The little detail, with emphasis given to Sloane turning the phone over, is a first hint that Walker might be the main antagonist of this movie.
First off, I want to just say that this scene in which Walker and Ethan push the vehicle carrying Lane into the river is really where Balfe was able to showcase his fantastic original score for the film. His score sets the scene perfectly, and the scene is just so tense and well-directed.
After this scene, you get a fantastic action sequence in which Walker and Ethan ride through Paris on motorcycles getting chased by police. This is a very thrilling scene with amazing music and crazy stunt work.
We have seen similar motorcycle chase scenes in past Mission: Impossible films, but this scene, for me, is the best one out of all of them.
I've been going pretty in depth about this movie, so I'm gonna have to skip forward in the action a bit to talk about the film's twist and the ingenious reveal.
Ethan discloses his plan to send Benji to the White Widow, where he would impersonate Lane. They put a Lane mask on Benji, and leave with him, telling Walker to stay behind and guard Lane.
Walker, now believing that he is alone with Lane, reveals his intentions to him, which involved framing Hunt as John Lark when he is Lark himself. Walker then slowly catches on, and rips the Lane mask off of Benji, revealing that the team had actually taken the real Lane with them.
Hunley shows up behind Walker, pointing a gun at him. Walker grabs the gun and attempts to shoot Hunley, but realizes the gun is empty. The team had anticipated Walker would do that, and they even had Hunley point an empty gun at him.
So, Walker is revealed to be the main villain, and the IMF exposes him for his true intentions. However, Sloane sends in a team from the CIA to bring all of them in to D.C. The team had been infiltrated by the Apostles, and they attack Ethan's team.
A fight breaks out between the team and the Apostles. Hunley and Walker have a brief altercation, which ends with Walker stabbing Hunley to death and escaping with Lane.
Like I've said, it takes some BALLS to introduce a character in Rogue Nation and kill him in Fallout. I did not expect Hunley to die in this movie, and it was pretty sad to see, given how much his character changed since the fifth film.
So, Ethan begins chasing Walker on foot.
This chase scene has the perfect amount of thrills, intensity, levity, and it shows that Cruise can still sprint like a badass at the age of 56.
Now, some of you don't know this, but there's a stunt during the chase where Ethan has to jump from one building to another, jumping just far enough to grab onto the other building.
As always, Cruise performed the stunt on his own without a stunt double, and while filming this stunt, he accidentally slammed his foot into the concrete wall, completely breaking his ankle.
You can't see the actual broken ankle in the movie, but you can see it in the trailer, if you look at his right foot in the following picture.
Now, any logical actor, or person in general, would just give up once they knew they had broken their ankle. But after he broke his ankle, he literally climbed up onto the roof and completed the shot.
And that shot is in the movie.
Once Walker escapes with Lane in a helicopter, we have a very emotional scene in which Luther talks to Ilsa about Ethan and what happened to his wife. And his dialogue really shows how good of a person Ethan is, and it was a REALLY good performance on the part of Ving Rhames.
They go to Kashmir in order to find Lane, Walker, and the two bombs that they had planted to poison the water supply for three large countries.
And this sets up the BEST CLIMAX EVER in a Mission: Impossible movie and literally one of my favorite climaxes I've ever seen in a movie. Ethan sees Walker escaping on a helicopter, and he grabs onto the helicopter next to it.
This scene is also so much better in IMAX, because as Ethan is running to the helicopter, the aspect ratio gets larger and we get a full IMAX view of this intense helicopter action sequence.
At the same time, Julia helps Luther defuse a bomb. Benji and Ilsa have to find the bomb, but during their search, they find themselves in an INSANE fight with Lane.
The fight scene is simply well-choreographed, uses dark lighting to its advantage, and looks very REAL and POWERFUL, which I love seeing in an action movie.
Ethan gets onto the other helicopter and throws out the two people inside. He starts chasing Walker's helicopter, and at one point, he goes, "Hold this for me, will you?" before he drops the helicopter's payload onto Walker's helicopter.
Man, and just when I thought the only thing this movie was missing was a badass action one-liner.
This helicopter sequence is literally the most intense action sequence I have ever seen. It was SO GOOD. It had me on the edge of my seat every single time I watched it, and I had a blast seeing this.
I mean, before this movie, I thought, "No M:I climax could be more heart-pumping than Ghost Protocol." This scene ended up being a HUGE step up from that movie's already-fantastic climax, and this scene was literally perfection.
Ethan rams his helicopter into Walker's, and we get an insanely frightening scene in which the two helicopters crash into each other and slowly fall down a cliff. Walker's face gets sprayed with some boiling liquid, disfiguring him.
The two, now out of the helicopter, begin to fight on the edge of the cliff.
And the final fight between these two is what I consider action perfection. The perfect ending to an action movie that's genuinely very exciting to watch and has no corny slow-motion fighting surrounded by birds.
It's also really nerve-racking watching Ethan try to get the detonator, and having it fall to JUST on the edge of the cliff.
Ethan and Walker end up grabbing onto the rope holding the helicopter to the cliff. They both then suddenly let go of the rope, rock climbing upwards with their bare hands. Ethan then pulls the rope downwards, causing the hook to hit Walker in the face and pull him to his death down below.
And this is the first M:I villain death to actually be REALLY GOOD. Death by exploding chewing gum, gunshot, hit-and-run, and suicide are NOTHING compared to Walker's death in this movie.
As Luther, Benji, and Ilsa are ready to cut the wires to defuse the bombs, we have an insanely intense sequence in which Ethan must climb up the steep rock in order to get the detonator at the top. Everything about this scene is fantastic and made with so much tension.
When the clock hits zero, Ethan turns and sees a light shining on the horizon. The audience is then supposed to briefly believe the bomb went off, as it looks remarkably like the shot from the opening scene. But then, we see the detonator in Ethan's mouth, as he spits it out.
The bombs are defused. Ethan lies on the rock, exhausted, and a medical crew arrives to help him. Lane gets arrested, and Ethan reunites with his team, as the film ends with more flashy end credits and more of Balfe's take on the M:I score.
So, why is this one of the best action films of all time? Well, let me start with why it's better than the prior installments. This is all my opinion, and you may disagree, but hear me out.
Mission: Impossible suffered from a lack of exciting action, a spy scene that could be undercut by SECURITY CAMERAS, and a very dated final action sequence on a train. It also has a slightly convoluted plot, and that can make it quite boring during rewatches.
Mission: Impossible 2 deviates from the M:I formula, misinterprets the character of Ethan Hunt as a handsome, Bond-esque playboy spy, and ends up having another uninteresting plot with some action sequences that may be well-choreographed, but rely heavily on birds, fire, and slow-motion.
Mission: Impossible III was a breath of fresh air, with J.J. Abrams's take on the franchise. While he directs action very well, the movie's premise doesn't have very high risks. We don't know what Owen Davian would do with the Rabbit's Foot, and therefore, the only tension in the movie revolves around Ethan, not everyone else.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a fantastically made movie with animation director Brad Bird at the helm of the film. It introduces new, memorable cast members, but the biggest setpiece of the film (the Burj Khalifa) is in the middle of the movie, and after it, nothing ends up really topping it.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is one of the more intelligent M:I movies. Unlike its past three predecessors, it focused more on the spy thriller aspect than the action aspect. Most of the movie is just very intelligent spy work, but compared to Ghost Protocol, the climax of this film ends up becoming anticlimactic in comparison.
But Mission: Impossible – Fallout? You have some good spy stuff, but McQuarrie decided to make action much more prevalent in this movie, giving us not one, not two, but FIVE huge action setpieces, many of which were done practically.
And this movie tells a fantastic story. Every single acting performance in the film is just amazing. The soundtrack sounds like it came from a Christopher Nolan film, and it's just a really well-made soundtrack.
The action keeps you engaged in the movie, and every single one of them is just so grandiose and entertaining that I could watch them again and again and I'd never get tired of it.
Once again, Tom Cruise proves himself not only to be a very talented actor, but an incredible action star, committed to realism in his action films.
He trained for a year and a half to fly a helicopter for the film's climax, and put his life on the line multiple times to film the mind-blowing stunts you see in Fallout, and I respect him for that.
Now, let's talk about the fight scenes. One of the biggest problems with action films these days is that during the action, you usually have so many jump cuts and the camera won't stop shaking to the point where it's hard to tell what's happening DURING the exciting fight scene.
An example of a very badly directed action sequence is this scene from Taken 3.
A scene directed like this is a perfect example of what NOT to do when directing action. But in Fallout? You had so many wide angles of Ethan, and so many long takes that I really enjoyed watching.
Fallout doesn't need any complex themes, messages, or morals to be as good as it is. All it needs is a bunch of popcorn-munching action, well-choreographed and rehearsed stunt work, and a stellar cast along with amazing writing and directing from McQuarrie.
The climax, again, is just so good, and so is everything about this movie. I've watched a TON of action movies and in my opinion, a movie like this goes up there with films like Die Hard, John Wick, Speed, and Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
It's in my top ten favorite movies of all time, and it's just a genuinely great movie that I love watching. Anyways, are you still here? This is one of my longest articles ever. If you're still reading this, you rock.
I'm Jonathan Sim, and I give this movie a 10/10.