The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Tom Cruise is insane. For moviegoers, that's actually kind of a good thing. The actor does many of his own stunts in the Mission: Impossible movies, and they've been getting crazier with each new installment. If you thought hanging on to the side of an airplane as it's taking off, which he did in Rogue Nation, is wild, just wait until you see all the stuff he does in Fallout. Cruise is determined to entertain you at all costs. He and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie succeed.

Ethan Hunt's mission this time is to prevent three canisters of plutonium from getting into the hands of a terrorist organization that wants to destroy a large swath of mankind and subsequently create a new world order. He and his team Benji (Simon Pegg), Luther (Ving Rhames), and Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) must first find and capture old nemesis Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the man who is helping spearhead this plot. Complicating matters is that the CIA has ordered one of its men, August Walker (Henry Cavill), to tag along, much to Ethan's chagrin.

As befitting of the man who wrote The Usual Suspects, McQuarrie gives Mission: Impossible Fallout a complex plot with so many twists and turns that it can be easy to lose track of what's happening. (If you pay really close attention and can follow along, a lot of those twists are clever.) Fortunately, the basics of it prevent the world from being destroyed are easily grasped, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the many, many action sequences.

Here's where the fun really begins. Tom Cruise has extreme dedication to this series. He obviously wants it to be a cut above all the other action movies around. To do so, he performs death-defying acts for the camera. Yes, the scenes are well-staged in and of themselves, but lots of action pictures have that. By visibly putting himself in harm's way, the suspense level increases exponentially. It makes the sequences feel real, which gets your pulse pounding just a little bit harder.

Fallout has the actor zipping through the streets of France at high speed on a motorcycle, going against traffic. He skydives from 25,000 feet, jumps from the top of one building to another, and has a brutal fistfight in a restroom. The highlight, however, is the finale, which finds him dangling from beneath a helicopter, then taking over the controls for a harrowing ride. Cruise actually learned how to fly the thing, just to capture this intense scene.

To say the gonzo approach works would be an understatement. Mission: Impossible Fallout has interesting characterization, a good sense of humor, fine performances, and a tender subplot involving Ethan and his wife (Michelle Monaghan). Those are all selling points. But the primary reason to see this movie is that it delivers virtually non-stop mind-blowing action. You get totally sucked in by the sights put onscreen before you. Few action pictures are able to provide this level of excitement.

The Mission Impossible series has been consistently thrilling. Fallout kicks everything up a level. It's ridiculously enjoyable. What will Cruise do next? I can't wait to find out, but I'm not sure I want to know.

( 1/2 out of four)

Mission: Impossible - Fallout is rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action, and for brief strong language. The running time is 2 hours and 27 minutes.

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