Mission Impossible: Fallout


I was thinking about how Risky Business came out in 1983, the year I graduated from high school, while watching Fallout today. I honestly think Cruise has made some of his best movies in recent years.

Fallout was OK, saw the twist coming a mile away but the action made up for it.


My response is vague, but still spoiler tagging it since it’s only Friday night:

The “big” twist is spelled out to the audience by the end of the first act unless you’re dozing off in the theater, the fun for me wasn’t being surprised by it, but in wondering when the other characters were going to be aware of it.

Was it going to be like some heist movie where the antagonist is being played the entire time they (and the audience) think they’re still ahead of the game? Or will there be a point where the protagonists are caught off guard by the situation and have to deal with being outsmarted?

I though Fallout did a good job balancing that.


I had a marathon yesterday. I watched MI:2, 3, 4, and started 5.

I still can’t quite believe how bad MI: 2 is. I remembered hating it when I watched it in the theater, but I’d forgotten why it was so horrible during the intervening years. The music is so sappy, and there’s tons of typical John Woo scenes with characters staring at each other in slow motion, sudden zooms onto the protagonist and antagonist’s faces, all accompanied by really cheesy Hans Zimmer music. I honestly can’t even believe that music this bad was done by Hans Zimmer. But on the other hand, it really, really fits the cheesy action on the screen. So in a way, the music is actually kind of brilliant.

MI: III, in comparison, is a masterpiece. The opening of that movie, and the stakes it sets out, is such a brilliant piece of movie making. It sticks in the audience’s heads, and so then later when you’re watching what would have been a really boring engagement ceremony between Ethan Hunt and his girlfriend becomes filled with a kind of menace as you remember Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s chilling words from the opening.

One thing I’d forgotten about is in the middle of the movie when Ethan puts on a Phillip Seymour Hoffman mask. I had a great laugh at those scenes this time. I love the visual of Phillip Seymour Hoffman climbing wooden beams and ledges like a lithe, fit Tom Cruise. I wonder if they really had Hoffman do that or if they digitally inserted his face later.

MI: IV was just about as good as I remember it. It lacked a certain energy that a good villain brings like in the previous movie. But it was still a really well done movie by Brad Bird that still feels like the style of the previous movie. I’d forgotten about Benji (Simon Pegg’s character) being just a desk techie in movie 3, but being out on the field with Ethan in movie 4. The scene where they setup a projector that displays the end of the hall the way a guard would see it, that scene is so good. I love that Benji is shown to be really competent in the field during that scene, despite still being the comic relief character.

The Dubai scenes are, of course, very memorable. But I also really appreciated the last action sequence (Mumbai) in that fancy rotating automatic car valet building. Ethan’s solution at the end actually had me clapping.


Oh, and I thought Ving Rhames had been part of Ethan’s team in all 5 movies, but he wasn’t part of it in Movie 4 (Ghost Protocol). He only shows up at the end where they’re telling him about what happened in Dubai, etc.

Ethan’s team members that didn’t stick around from movie to movie really weren’t that memorable I guess. There was the Australian member of his team in part 2 that also played the role of comic relief. But he wasn’t very good comic relief. Maggie Q makes a fantastic impression in part 3, but there’s another team member in 3 that’s so forgettable that I can’t even remember him now. And I just watched the movie last night! His team in part 4 is really memorable, I will give it that. While it lacked a good villain, each member of Ethan’s team in 4 really gets some great scenes. Benji (Simon Pegg) gets his moment in Moscow. The female member of the team kicks ass in Dubai, and Jeremy Renner’s character also gets his moment in Mumbai. I think it’s the only Mission Impossible movie where each member of the team gets to kick ass like that.


The absurdity of the motorcycle duel was just the epitome of how awful the film was in comparison to the rest.


It’s almost a different genre. Cheesy Hong Kong action flick. Throughout the movie, I love how when vehicles crash into other vehicles, they blow up. The Simpsons did this to make fun of movies, but honestly, movies stopped doing random vehicle explosions a while ago. Certainly before 2000, when this movie came out. It feels like a hilarious throwback in that way.

Even in the motorcycle duel, they jump off their motorcycles, have their hilarious mid-air collision, but what’s easy to forget is that their motocycles collide and they blow up! Presumably it’s because Ethan’s motorcycle has been leaking fuel when it got shot up earlier, but man, it’s still so funny and looks so ridiculous.


Yeah, that was probably the best action movie since Fury Road, and may be my favorite Mission Impossible movie. I’ll give Tom Cruise this: Outside of Jackie Chan in his prime or Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd, has any actor committed to doing so many of his insane stunts on his own? And Cruise isn’t just doing his own physical stunts; he’s also busy doing his own flying in this and American Made. He’s doing stuff in this movie that would make most people shit their pants.

I really love Rebecca Ferguson. She needs to be bigger. Way bigger.

Thought I had leaving the theater: No one in the billed cast is under 30. Vanessa Kirby is the youngest at 30. Cruise is 56, and if he makes another one of these in two or three years he’s pushing 60!!! So, yay, summer blockbusters with middle-age people in them!

Speaking of the lovely Miss Kirby, her little speech was a nice callout to her mother, Max. Yes, that can only be that Max. (Who was famously played by another Vanessa, Vanessa Redgrave). I was listening to The Ringer’s podcast on Mission Impossible, and they really called out the fact that can you think of anyone who had better chemistry with Tom Cruise over his entire career than her scenes in Mission Impossible? It’s really intense and weird at the same time.

It’s crazy how this franchise is in its sixth movie and it’s almost better than ever.

Other thing I liked: no silly McGuffin this time around, now it’s just plutonium. We all understand why that’s dangerous. Still a McGuffin of course, but very much a real-world one.


Really, really enjoyed it. But, I’ve been a sucker for pretty much all of the Mission Impossible movies (except for the 2nd one…)

There’s a definite transition starting with the 4th one, similar to how the Fast and Furious movies became increasingly ridiculous. But, it’s a formula that works for me. What sets the Mission Impossible movies apart from other action movies is the sheer ludicrous nature of the set pieces. It’s set up like a good heist movie. We know Ethan and his team are going to come out on top, but like a good heist movie the thrill is in seeing how they do it, and McQuarrie nails that process. He also keeps the movie moving along quickly enough so that you have less time to poke holes in the overly complicated plot. Is it believable? No, but god damn if it does not entertain me.

The movie is not perfect; it could be 15 minutes shorter easily, and despite being a 20+ year old franchise Ethan Hunt still does not much of a personality (an attempt was made in III and then they just went completely away from that). But I’m sure I’ll be seeing it again and hopefully in IMAX.

Random thoughts based on some recent rewatches:

  • I also liked the call back to Max from the original, and I thought Vanessa Kirby did a great job in her role. I imagine they’re keeping her around for the inevitable 7th
  • I think I like Fallout and Rogue Nation better than Ghost Protocol, but man is that Mumbai scene a classic. Would love to see Brad Bird do more action movies. He just has such a great sense of kinectics
  • Agreed that MI:III is a lot better than it might get credit for. It doesn’t have action scenes on par with the ones coming after it, but Hoffman is by far the best villain in the series and the movie has the most stakes due to his kidnapping of Hunt’s wife.
  • Can’t believe Tom Cruise is 56 and still going so strong. He’s an easy target but these movies really don’t work without him. He’s the straw that stirs the drink.
  • On a similar note, Rebecca Ferguson does not have as much to do in this one as Rogue Nation, but she’s still fantastic and adds a lot to every scene she’s in. I hope she keeps getting more great roles.


I just came back from Fallout. Man, oh man. The action, the stunts, the cinematography, the music, it’s hard to envision how any upcoming Bond movie or any other action movie can top this one. It’s just breathtaking.

Edit: For folks who are able to do so, you should go see this movie in a theater. This is the kind of movie that theaters were made for.


From that trailer, in the actual movie, that head on collision with the truck wasn’t in the movie!


Yup! McQuarrie responded to a question about that being missing: https://twitter.com/chrismcquarrie/status/1023286203255156737


It’ll be interesting to see where it was intended to fit in the movie. As it is, the bulk of the movie takes place in 3 locations. And I can’t picture that scene in any of the 3 places. So it must have been a fourth place they must have originally intended to be in the movie.


I also thought this movie was exhilarating - building the tension until your knuckles are white, even though you know it’s going to be all right.

I did have a few nitpicks with continuity - a rear door to his van magically closes itself, bullet holes disappeared from the car’s windshield, and one that I’ll put in spoilers:

When August (Cavill) is standing on top of the elevator, he tells Ethan to go back and take the blame and say he’s the guy everyone’s looking for when they’ve already been through this - Angela Basset’s Erica Sloan character already knows that August is him.

But it’s a nitpick. Really great action movie.


It’ll be interesting to see where it was intended to fit in the movie. As it is, the bulk of the movie takes place in 3 locations. And I can’t picture that scene in any of the 3 places.

I can: during the final helicopter chase, there was a moment when Ethan dived through the clouds, but the 2nd helicopter pilot didn’t follow him, saying that he doesn’t know what’s down there. Pretty sure, that truck was down there.


So… I loved this movie. I’m not sure yet if it’s my favorite MI film because I think MI:3 is sublime, but it’s really damn good. I do have one bone to pick with it though…

Why did I get a montage of all the action scenes in the film RIGHT AT THE START?! Fer chrissake… the previews already gave away so much of that stuff. Why did they feel like they had to show it all and more before they even kick off the film? That’s just wrong.

We live in a time when it is incredibly difficult to go see a film without knowing way too much about the plot, the characters, the actors, the (non) surprises. It’s so hard to avoid spoilers today. I think it’s one of the reasons that otherwise well-made movies get creamed even before release by certain factions of the fandom. Star Trek: Into Darkness comes to mind there because I knew NOTHING about it before I went to see it and was blown away by who Cumberbatch’s character actually was and felt like it all fit together really well.

Then I go see this movie and not only have they shown so much in previews already that gives away how scenes will unfold in the film, they show even more right as the film begins! *sigh*

Anyway, by the time it got to the helicopter stuff, I was so blown away by the stunt stuff that I looked over at my son and said, “He’s really doing that!!” with giddy glee. Tom Cruise may be a wacko off the screen, but he’s becoming legendary on it.


This weekend I caught up on the whole series. I was surprised to learn that they’ve been doing this since MI: 4. The credit sequence in 4,5,6 all have scenes from the coming movie you’re about to see. In 4, for instance, you get to see him on the Burj, you get to see him in Moscow, you get to see him at the rotating car park in Mumbai.


Yeah, I vaguely remembered that being the case in the last few. I get that the stunts are a huge part of these films, but that’s just unnecessary!


I could’ve sworn they did it in every M:I movie. I thought it was kind of an homage or reference to the original TV format.


I thought the opening credit sequence was always a compilation of clips from the movie, going back to the first film, because that’s what the original show did.

As for the film, really loved it. McQuarrie brings a sophistication to the Business As Usual that Abrams and Bird didn’t and I really love it. Not that I don’t also love 3 and 4. 3 was a really good “let’s get this franchise back on track after 2” flick, and 4 was just a really well-made action movie that was a lot of fun and a pleasure to watch.


I watched from 2 onwards this weekend, so I don’t know if the original did this, but 2 and 3 definitely did not do it. It started with 4 in my marathon.