'Mission Impossible - Fallout' is a familiar ride that's still worth taking
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'Mission Impossible - Fallout' is a familiar ride that's still worth taking

Tom Cruise falls off 50,000 cliffs and straight into our hearts during this sixth installment in the Mission Impossible series.


The year is 2040. After losing a tight gubernatorial race in New California to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Tom Cruise has soared to new heights. The vertically-challenged behemoth hasn't lost a step in the box office, leading the MI series to a record $1 trillion in total sales. Although "Mission Impossible - AqarioScorpio" floundered in theaters, the series bounced back with its next five installments: "Mission Impossible - There's Just No Way," "Mission Impossible - Don't Even Try It," "Mission Impossible - You Crazy For This One!," "Mission Impossible - Fat Chance, Buddy," and "Mission Impossible - This One Seems Do-able."

Considering acting to now be more of a "hobby," Cruise has turned his attention to politics. Although many jealous pundits credit his immediate rise to the presidency to "his very obvious, poorly concealed network of brainwashed religious zealots/lizard people," it is President Cruise who gets the last laugh. Specifically, he got it while jumping up and down on a couch made from the taxidermized body of Oprah Winfrey. The White House has yet to release a public statement on the incident.

Today, the dream of a celebrity-turned-politician with an overzealous following is still a long ways away. The Mission Impossible franchise, though, has already begun its return to the upper echelon of action movie series. With its premiere movie, Mission Impossible (1996), the series began a journey that continues more than 20 years and six films later. This installment, Mission Impossible - Fallout (2018), marks the first time that a director has reprised their role for a second MI film. Christopher McQuarrie, a longtime Cruise collaborator, has now written and directed the past two films in the series.

MI - Fallout focuses on the fallout from the breakup of the Syndicate, the evil group that Cruise previously faced off against, and deadly nuclear materials and a missing scientist and a new CIA agent and... just forget it. A self-destructing novel will pump that exposition directly into your brain within the few minutes. The film runs two and a half hours, features a tightly star-studded cast, and is sitting pretty with a 97% Rotten Tomato score at the time of writing.

I need to get this off my chest: I hate when critics describe movies as 'fun'. What does that mean? If a movie is good and you enjoy it, isn't that 'fun'? Could a horror movie, then, be 'fun'? Is 'fun' just what critics call movies that they don't feel like actually watching? Every time I read the word I find myself repulsed that the author couldn't have mustered the nominal effort to turn that bland adjective into something meaningful that might actually have given us an ounce of insight into what the movie delivered.

Mission Impossible - Fallout is fun.

Let me explain. Movies are made for different reasons. Some arthouse flicks are created to shock, some indie films are meant to inspire, and plenty of big-budget movies are meant to turn a profit. Those are three examples of the literally infinite motivations behind a film. The point is that movies are unique - that's the fundamental problem with reviewing them. Critics aren't judging a drawing based on how closely it resembles real life. Instead, they undergo a brief journey in a totally designed world that hasn't been created so they can push their glasses against their nose and call it a revelation in filmmaking. It doesn't make any sense to judge the entire landscape of film with the same ruler when films simply aren't made for the same reasons. How do you compare The Godfather to Cats & Dogs? Do we chastise a movie for its 300th fart joke if those have been written because they'll land every time with the seven-year-old audience? My belief is that a movie should make you think and feel. Everything after that is chatter.

Mission Impossible - Fallout makes you feel like a badass. The reason this film is fun is that you'll forget that you're not an international spy when you're trying to piece together the bad guy's plan. When a movie has violent chase scenes that are simultaneously this smooth and tense, you'll feel like you're the one driving. A few key scenes are so cleverly written that you'll be excited to watch the events lock into place. That's fun. That's the same fun as playing basketball, betting it on all black, or biking down a mountain. Fun is being invested in a high-stakes storyline that grabs you by the endorphins and pulls you along.

Mission Impossible - Fallout is not groundbreaking. If you see it, you'll be treated to the same typical beats that you have grown to expect out of a mega-budget action movie installment: the protagonist haunted by his past, token nervous techie, old friends reunited, quick action sequences, obvious plot twist, clever dialogue, an overriding theme about utilitarianism, and Tom Cruise hanging from things. Let's be clear: Fallout isn't trying to break the mold of action movies. If anything, it's digging itself deeper into the cracks. So, uh, does that mean it's good?

Like we said, movies are made for different reasons. This is a movie that's meant to be a thrill-ride (or dare I say 'fun' again?), and it delivers. I can confidently say that it does a fantastic job of executing the necessary parts of a by-the-books action film. It does not do a whole lot more.

There's this cool idea: commercial art. It sounds like an oxymoron - free expression meant to invoke feeling that's also meant to turn a quick profit. Can we, though, not appreciate the beauty of advertising campaigns? There is an art to billboards plastered across highrises, a majesty in the way departments stores are built to draw our gaze. Mission Impossible - Fallout is undoubtedly commercial art. It's a film created to reach across demographics and draw major crowds to rake in bags of money for its major funders (including Alibaba!). That's why this film was made. It's not what this film is - this film is a gripping and worthwhile example of how the action movie genre can collect 100 people, put them in their overly-leathered seats, and deliver an exciting, worthwhile experience.

ANYWAYS... It's no masterpiece, and it isn't meant to be. Mission Impossible - Fallout is an extremely well-executed action movie that's worth seeing for even the casual fans of the genre. It's genuinely fun... whatever the hell that means.

Score: 4 / 5 perfectly manicured henchman's eyebrows.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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