Warning: Possible Spoilers
First Jurassic World II, now this. I'm getting worried that people will think that I love every movie I see, because here I am, gushing about two movie sequels in a row. I promise, I've seen movies that I didn't like. I'm capable of being objective and dropping criticisms on a bad film, and I definitely will in the future. But for now, you'll have to put up with my incessant fanboying.
Me watching literally any movie.
I am hopelessly in love with the Mission: Impossible movies. I'm willing to suspect that part of my complete giddiness and suspense watching them is fueled by nostalgia, because these were the action movies I watched as a kid, among others. In my formative years, these films helped lay the foundation of what an action movie actually was in my brain. For that reason, I'll share a little of my nostalgic journey through the series, to fully contextualize where I'm coming from.
I was but a little boy when the first film came out, but that catchy, U2-updated theme song is in my blood, and I remember doing dive rolls in my living room as a pre-schooler whenever the theme came up and my family tried to ignore me while watching the movie.
Then came the Mission: Impossible II with the type of insane action you only get from pairing the dove-tossing slow-mo of John Woo with the adrenaline-chasing manic death wish of a human being that is Tom Cruise. This deadly combination gave us a movie with games of motorcycle chicken and number of mask removals reminiscent of Scooby Doo. I'll be the first to say that, yes, Tom Cruise is a bit...different to say the least. But holy crap, can the man make a good action film.
Part of what has made these movies is Cruise's insistence that he do his own stunts, and that CGI be avoided when possible. The man was so insane that he insisted on climbing a Southern Utah cliff with nothing but a tiny safety cable, and allowing, nay insisting, that actor Dougray Scott come so close stabbing him in the eye that his eyelashes tickled the tip of the blade. The knife was attached at the other end to a cable to keep it from actually gouging Cruise's eye, but Cruise himself insisted that the cable be as long as possible, and that Scott lunged at him with all of his strength to add realism.
No CGI. That is an actually knife, actually coming an eyelash-length away from Tom Cruise's actual eye.
Where the series really picked up for me was in Mission Impossible III. Philip Seymour Hoffman was such a dark and foreboding villain who energized the movie and created such palpable tension, and J.J. Abrams' revitalization of the then 6-year latent series pulled me back into the world of the IMF when I was truly old enough to appreciate it.
Since Ghost Protocol, the stunts have consistently had me at the literal edge of my seat. I don't mean that as a general platitude, I mean that I was so keyed up and in such complete suspense that I seriously could not sit still in the theatre. There have been moments in each of the past three films that have made me gasp out loud in spite of myself. That's such a rare feeling to get at the movies. Lots of action movies intrigue me or even get me excited, but it's not that often that they get me squirming in my seat, biting my knuckles, and jumping with surprise at the twists and turns. In short, these movies turn me into a giddy 10-year-old boy, bouncing off the walls because I can't contain my sugar rush.
Which brings me to the reason you're really here.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout is no exception. Everyone from the top-down was so dedicated to the production that this movie was nonstop crazy adrenaline and intrigue. Tom Cruise, true to form, did several very real stunts, including:
- A real HALO (High-Altitude, Low Open) parachute jump
- Actually piloting a helicopter, plus climbing on a cargo rope hanging below it
- Jumping from one building to another (which actually broke his ankle and halted production for 8 weeks)
- Speeding against traffic on a motorcycle with no safety equipment around the Arc du Triomphe
- Clinging to the side of cliff in Norway
Not to mention the return of Sean Harris as Solomon Lane. He was a pretty good villain last time, but when you bring him back this time with Manson-esque unkempt facial hair, still gritting his teeth and practically hissing each line in his nasally, contemptuous voice, I just might wet my pants from his intense creepiness.
When I say everyone gave it their all, I mean everyone. Think of Benjie, the comic relief character played by Simon Pegg. Pegg was so invested in the film he got into insanely good shape. He wasn't under any obligation to train, because his character wasn't an action star, but he got so ridiculously ripped, that Tom Cruise and Henry Cavill actually nicknamed him "8-pack Peggles". When Ethan Hunt and Clark Kent are talking about how chiseled Shaun of the Dead has gotten for his role, you know that everyone's bringing their "A" game.
Absolutely insane. I would recommend this movie, and the whole series for that matter, to anyone who likes action movies and somehow hasn't already seen it. It is your duty as a human being to bear witness to its cinematic glory.
To catch up on the Mission: Impossible series and support this blog, rent a movie from one of the links below. Or, if you've already seen them all, but have a hankering for some QuestSeans hoodies, T-shirts, and phone cases, click here!