Let’s get the important part of this review out of the way first: this is a 10/10 action movie. Good. Now we can dig in.
I’m the kind of mediocre white guy who took a film class in high school and decided to make that the cornerstone of my personality. I’d like to say I got over it quickly, but I think I only really got over it about a year ago. So there was a good 5 years of me being unable to give a movie a “perfect” rating unless it was an “objective” masterpiece. I’m glad those days are over.
Anyway, an objectively perfect movie is not something that exists. What does exist is a movie that sets itself up to be something, and then follows through on that promise 110% or subverts expectations in a very satisfying way.
This makes Mission Impossible: Fallout a perfect action movie. It has a history of 5 movies to establish what it is. That’s 5 movies worth of “get those sticks out of your ass” warnings before this one came out. It’s an action movie and that’s THE thing. It doesn’t try for some huge character building thing like James Bond. It doesn’t create its own universe or anything. It’s just a mission that should be impossible, but Ethan Hunt is a walking Adidas commercial, because for him—Impossible is nothing.
So, even despite the fact that I came into the movie expecting an action popcorn movie, there were quite a few scenes that triggered my “think about this objectively” switch because the directing and camerawork was absolutely stellar. Despite KNOWING that things were gonna end up being okay, I literally held my breath and grasped like five or six times. 1
The action in this movie adds to the story. Car chases and fights are easy to follow. And despite the fact that the plot is very “surface level” the stakes for Ethan Hunt are high, and all it took was a 30-second scene of exposition-through-dialogue. 2
So yeah. It’s a 10/10 action movie, and if you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it.
Also, I watched these two videos by Patrick H. Willems in the run-up to the movies, and I have to say that both added so much to my appreciation for the movie.
This video that draws a truly incredible parallel between the character Ethan Hunt and the actor Tom Cruise. Of the three videos below, this is the “Must Watch” one:
Then there’s this 20 minute video about why the MI series is great:
And as a bonus, here’s a video he did about the anatomy of a good chase scene. This is definitely something I was thinking about during the movie. The car, motorcycle, and helicopter chase scenes are amazing and very well constructed: