Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ sets the new standard for action films

How a passion for stunts led to the best action film of the 21st century
(Official Mission Impossible: Fallout Facebook Page

The last two Mission Impossible films, ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ and ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Nation,’ have been nothing short of spectacles. They frequently display breathtaking action scenes that stand out with impeccable choreography, film and acting. However, there is no denying that since the series’ initial release in 1996, the massively successful franchise has drifted away from its small-scale, spy-oriented roots.

The sixth film in this series, ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout,’ while being released a staggering 22 years after the first, continues the action-packed trend of the series. Yet, where most franchises falter after so many years, whether it be from their inability to adapt to the ever broadening and evolving medium that is film or simply to maintain a serviceable quality in each movie, the Mission Impossible films maintain their standards.

As a matter of fact, ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ is the best film in this franchise, and frankly, one of the best action films of the 21st century.

This is a film to be experienced. It is a must-see for anyone who is a fan of the action genre. Thus, a viewer should go into the film knowing as little about the plot as possible.

In short, the plot can be summarized in one sentence: super-spy Ethan Hunt and the rest of his IMF team are engaged in a deadly situation with an opposing force intent on world destruction.

Before tackling the myriad of overwhelmingly positive qualities the film provides, its less positive aspects must be addressed. Its faults are consistent with ones present in the rest of the series, mainly being its overall story and lack of a compelling villain. ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ contains these specific elements that are admittedly among the better the series has given so far; albeit, with a bar that has been set rather low. The villain is extremely serviceable and contains almost no engaging motivations. This ultimately hinders the end of the film, creating a slight disconnect with the audience. Great villains are ones where the viewer can fathom the reason behind their decisions, which is something that ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ unfortunately does not contain. However, aside from these minimal flaws, there are no other substantial faults in the film.

Tom Cruise, the main star of the entire series, is back once again as Ethan Hunt, and it is no exaggeration to say this man is dedicated to his craft. The stunts he performs are a sight to behold and they are without a doubt the best aspect of this film. Not enough can be said about the commitment to the action scenes both the actors and film crew maintain. The film does not contain even a single moment that stands out as lesser than the others. Nearly every aspect of the filmmaking, from the directing and cinematography to the sound design, is impeccable. It is hard to find the words to describe the emotion felt while experiencing the action scenes on a big screen. It not only raises the bar for action movies but solidifies this franchise as one of the all-time greats. Christopher McQuarrie directs the entirety of the film with a natural fluidity that creates intense scene after scene that is easy for the audience to digest. A recent trope in action films is the incorporation of “shaky cam” in order to hide poor stunt work or the actor’s inability to perform said stunt. However, this film is completely void of that tactic. All action scenes are shown in complete clarity which adds to the impressiveness of the film, given its large scope. Narratively, disregarding the villain, the film contains many intelligently-written scenarios the characters must endure. Although a simple technique, it heightens the tension in the film because of both the connection to the characters — due to a series-long investment in them — and the believability of the scenarios that the characters are forced to overcome. Also, without spoiling anything specifically, the film takes the series’ typical narrative clichés and utilizes them in a humorous yet clever way. The score, including the iconic main theme, stands out as one of the better in the franchise. It is often appropriately loud and thunderous as it accompanies these electrifying action scenes.

The pace of the film is something that was one of the nicest surprises. Standing at two hours and 28 minutes, the longest in the franchise, the film flies by at a break-neck pace. However, for many this could be seen as a negative because there is never a real moment of breath. The film is constantly sprinting from scene to scene. Again, while some many not enjoy the speed of the film, it ultimately doesn’t harm it. The rapidity creates an atmosphere of heightened tension; it is constantly refusing to allow the characters to plan and instead forcing them to adapt on the move to the ever-changing plot. Finally, in regard to the performances, all of them are good for the material they are given. There aren’t any exceptional acting moments because the script recognizes the type of movie that it is and instead chooses to focus on the spectacles. Newcomers to the franchise may view this as a slight on the film but those familiar with the franchise will not hold this against the movie.

In the end, ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ is a sight to behold. It stands as the best film in its franchise and as one of the best action films of the 21st century. This is a must-see movie.

Tyler Clardy can be reached at [email protected].

View Comments (2)
More to Discover

Comments (2)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    Matthew MartellaOct 16, 2018 at 11:46 am

    THE best action film? As in, better than Mad Max: Fury Road?

  • A

    AmyOct 15, 2018 at 11:55 am

    I saw some of this movie and I walked out. . why ?

    A. It was boring.
    B> Tom Cruise is old.

    What you think senior citizens(tom cruise qualifies to join AARP) should be the action hero of films?