Mission: Predictable

mission-impossible-fallout

I’ve noticed that whenever I watch one of the Mission: Impossible films from the comfort of my own home I really enjoy them, but the two that I have seen in theatres have been a little disappointing.  Now, this could be simply because of the quality of the movies themselves but I think that there is another reason for this.  For me, the Mission: Impossible films are excellent “day-off movies”.  These are the kinds of movies that I want to watch from home when it is my day off, and I am in my pjs drinking tea and working on some sort of craft.  Lots of action, not a whole lot of plot.  Now, sometimes these kinds of movies are still fun to watch in theatres, but I would personally prefer to watch a Mission: Impossible film from home.  That way, if/when my attention starts to waver I have other things I can focus on.  In a theatre, I am trapped if the lack of substantial plot and excess of action is starting to grow old.  Unfortunately, this is exactly what I experienced for Fallout.  I will admit that my current work/sleep schedule is partly to blame.  I wake up extremely early, work long hours between two jobs, and then go to bed early.  So, of course, when my partner-in-crime could only get us tickets to a later showing on our date night, that was a recipe for disaster.  Overall, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is not a bad film – it’s just not necessarily the strongest film in the franchise, and it certainly wasn’t strong enough to keep this overly exhausted audience member awake throughout the entirety of the film.

When I saw Fallout in theatres, it was shortly after watching Ghost Protocol (2011) and Rogue Nation (2015) at home on DVD.  I had fallen behind in the Mission: Impossible franchise and my fiance insisted that I get caught up. Now, the main issue with seeing these three films within a week of one another is that I was able to more closely compare these films.  I know I enjoy the Mission: Impossible franchise, but when I start to compare them to one another I find I am more likely to find fault with them.  Ghost Protocol was, in my opinion, the strongest of the most recent three films.  Between Rogue Nation and Fallout it just appeared to me as though this franchise plateaued instead of improving; neither one of the two newer films could quite compare to M:I 4.  And since the two most recent films revolve around the same story line/villain (i.e. the Syndicate) I think that is probably why I feel I did not get anything new out of Fallout; it was essentially Rogue Nation part 2.  To be clear: I enjoyed all three films, I simply enjoyed Ghost Protocol more than the others.

I think what was the most frustrating for me was the Fallout had the potential to do something really interesting with the plot, but it just fell short.  The film was really slow in getting started, but the action really picked up closer to the middle when suspicion regarding Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) loyalties started coming into play.  This is where I think the crew behind the film could have really stepped it up.  Given that the Mission: Impossible franchise revolves around the world of international espionage this would have been a truly perfect plot point to delve into, especially sine Rogue Nation caused us to question the loyalties of Julia (Michelle Monaghan).  Unfortunately, there was never any real suspicion placed on Hunt; we always knew he was still one of the good guys.  (Spoiler: the way the film had been set up clearly showed that August Walker (Henry Cavill) was not only setting up Hunt, but was a villain waiting to happen.) I really wish that there had been more doubt for the audience; I would have loved this film a whole lot more if I had spent that first half of the film thinking: “but what if Hunt really did decide to become a bad guy?”

Probably the main reason audiences go to see the Mission: Impossible films is to watch the action and the stunts.  Not only is Tom Cruise known for performing his own stunts, but this particular franchise has presented some absolutely breathtaking moments.  From scaling a frightfully tall skyscraper in Dubai in Ghost Protocol, to clinging to the side of a plane in flight in Rogue Nation,  this next installment in the franchise certainly had a lot to live up to.  Although the stunts, fight scenes, and other miscellaneous action sequences were well done, I feel that they were not quite as jaw-dropping as those in the previous two films.  The main stunt that I have seen advertised in movie theatre pre-shows is the HALO jump; although it was an impressive stunt, it still didn’t feel as over-the top as clinging to the side of a plane as it’s taking off.  Another stand-out action sequence for me was the helicopter chase scene near the end of the film.  A high-speed chase in helicopters over a dangerous terrain definitely had me on the edge of my seat, and it was something new and unusual, but then the chase started to drag on a little too long.  By that point in the movie I was so tired that once the initial excitement wore off I found myself wishing they would just get it over with and crash already.

I think that one of the main problems in this franchise is that when they keep raising the bar and doing more and more outrageous stunts in every movie, it’s going to get to the point where it’s not exciting anymore.  Something that is super cool on its own, but not necessarily on par with the material in the previous film(s), can risk appearing lackluster. This is one of those films where I’ll remember that I enjoyed it overall, but did not enjoy it enough to be able to remember the details of the film in a year or so.  Despite my criticism of the film, I would definitely watch it again… but on a rainy day, in the comfort of my own home, with a cup of tea, and a pile of knitting in my lap.

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