The Movie Guru: Tom Cruise surprisingly funny in new ‘Mission: Impossible — Fallout’
‘Mission: Impossible — Fallout’
Rating: PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action and for brief strong language.
Written by: Christopher McQuarrie and Bruce Geller (television series)
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett and more.
Guru’s Grade: Two and a half stars
Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible” movies are what would happen if Laurel and Hardy felt like they needed to save the world on a regular basis. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on what you’re looking for in an action movie.
The latest entry in the series, “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” is by far the funniest movie in the series, as it drops our increasingly hapless heroes into more and more impossible situations. It’s at least a half hour too long and fumbles any time it attempts serious emotional moments, but it also proves that pratfalls on the scale of huge action movie stunts are surprisingly fun to watch.
Unlike other entries in the series, the movie is actually a direct sequel to the movie that came before it (“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation”). The bad guy is back, along with the potential love interest, though at least some of the people wanting to blow up the world this time are new. As always, Ethan Hunt and his team get things wrong for awhile, with disaster building until the timer on Armageddon has ticked down to the last metaphorical second.
It’s vital to have recently watched “Rogue Nation” before starting this movie, or at least have a clear memory of everything that happened in it. A lot of the emotional motivation of this movie is based entirely on the events of the last one, and if you don’t have them fresh in your mind, then it’s hard to care about a lot of what happens here.
There’s also finally the resolution to a plotline that started all the way back in “Mission: Impossible III” (yes, back when there were so few sequels they could number them without shaming themselves) and has carried through ever since.
Of course, many of the people who watch the “Mission: Impossible” movies couldn’t care less about emotional motivation of any kind. They’re there for the crashes, chases and explosions, and “Fallout” delivers all of that and more on a genuinely spectacular level. Some of it edges into comedy, but I don’t mean that as an insult. The fusion of embarrassment humor and action films is something that’s never been done before, and it turns out it’s possible for a fight scene to be both spectacular and oddly hilarious.
For the final sequence they pull out all the stops, including some that were probably allotted to another movie. The series has long tried to top itself with each new installment, and the last half hour or so of “Fallout” is going to haunt whoever has to write the script for the next movie. I’m not sure topping it can actually be done.
Another reason people watch “Mission: Impossible” movies is for their traditional plot twists, and here the movie’s success is less clear-cut. Several people in the audience were clearly surprised, if the noises they made during the screening were any indication, but I saw all of them coming long before they actually happened. My far less analytical friend also saw all of them coming, which is even more telling.
If you’re in the first category, however, then “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” is a surprisingly funny thrill ride.
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.