Director: Christopher McQuarrie.
There’s obviously a working relationship between Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie, this being their third project together after the previous M:I - Rogue Nation and the first Jack Reacher. Both films I was very impressed with overall, especially the action sequences and I certainly wasn’t disappointed here, which makes me hope this relationship continues should the saga expand, which I’m sure it will.
Ethan Hunt is back on the trail of trying to eliminate the shadowy, terrorist organisation, The Syndicate following on from Rogue Nation. There’s the obvious threat to humanity and no one’s seems to be able to stop it, or even want to stop it, apart from Ethan Hunt and the remaining IMF team. All sounds pretty standard for espionage spy actioners but there’s a couple of little clever twists and conflict of interest, even if quite predictable.
The team is much of the same characters we should all be familiar with, the story again overlooks the absence of past members like Jeremy Renner’s Brandt, repeating what Rogue Nation did with Paula Patton’s Jane. However the addition of Henry Cavill’s Walker is a welcome change, but does he do fill the boots of being Hunt’s opposite and likely looming threat. He sure is the hammer to Hunt’s scalpel but I found him a little underwhelming and not menacing enough with this being the only weakness of the story. Personally, I wished they developed his character a lot more but maybe I’m asking too much. I was pleased to see Vanessa Kirby after watching her in the low budget Kill Command. Her character of the double-sided, trickster fence was more intriguing than Cavill’s Walker.
The action is sharp and often brutal with some of the best, slickest sequences of the entire series. Especially with Cruise’s impressive stunt work which seems to be the foundation of this film’s hype. Believe me, the hype is real and it’s action-packed from start to finish with some little moments of heart; there is one scene where I thought Cruise was going to break into Jerry Maguire’s “help me, help you!” It doesn’t let up hitting the audience hard and fast with fights, car chases, van chases, motorbikes, parachute jumps and helicopters. It ticks all the boxes for what makes a great action film great. This is a fest in itself for being the longest in the franchise. But, it’s downgraded it’s outrageous scenarios, excluding the grand finale. And this was actually very refreshing. There’s no scaling of the Burj Khalifa, no free diving down a giant urinal or sliding down a glass building and dodging missiles. It’s as if they wanted a more real action movie pushing aside the elaborate CGI effects and gave us a raw, high-octane and grounded action piece. Instead of a CGI budget, the money must have been spent of the editing and production units as the sequences and shoots are astonishing shot and equally spliced together.
And then there’s those moments of heart which are mostly reserved for Ferguson’s story arc adding to that conflict of interest. There is a moment that had me echoing the same emotional connection I had with Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, though I’m probably on my own with that one. And these are both small and too far in between all the action that goes on barely giving the audience enough time to catch a breathe, let alone digest what’s going on. Though this is a negative observation and is a likely result of the film being a caffeine-dosed version of the saga.
And then there’s Lorne Balde’s impressive score. Balfe is now one of my favourite composers however the Zimmerish influence is impossible to deny. You only have to listen to tracks “Change of Plan” to pick up Zimmer’s Batman Trilogy or “Free Fall” to hear the looming threat of Dunkirk. But it perfectly incorporates Lalo Schifrin’s iconic theme throughout the score to hair-raising effect. Balfe does this with such craftsmanship and respect to the original theme, it becomes very much part of the score as oppose to just being a remixed or reworked version. Just listen to tracks “The Exchange” and “Escape Through Paris” to hear what I’m talking about.
It has to said because it’s something that normally niggles me when films get it wrong, but whilst the timing might be a little off, it’s geographically accurate, in particular London. All the scenes were spot on and it’s a refreshing change. It might not be so obviously to most viewers but to me, the London locations, even the unimportant scenes are all in sync meaning you could draw a logical and chronological map of action in the city. However, I can only speak of London, as Paris I’m not too familiar with.
It’s the best of the series, possibly because it’s actually more grounded yet upping the action content. It’s going to be a hard movie to top. I definitely want to go watch this again.
Running Time: 9
The Cast: 9
Job Description: 10
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for being all-out action packed!