4 August 2018

Tom Cruise Has A Death Wish

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The word “Fallout” has been very carefully chosen in the title of the latest Mission: Impossible – Fallout. For some it will reference the major threat that Ethan Hunt faces during his current assignment which involves three nuclear weapons and the inevitable fallout from their radiation. On a deeper level it also references the personal cost of each mission to Hunt himself and the effects that his life's purpose will have on his friends and family. Most excitingly of all though, I think it references the fact that Tom Cruise likes to fall out of shit all the time. I mean sure he tends to hang from things a little more than he falls but Mission: Impossible – Hang Out probably sounds a little too casual for an action movie. The first film began this trend of him falling when he dangled from a ventilation shaft and at one point fell a little closer to the floor than he'd hoped to go. By the fourth instalment things had escalated to the point that he was now falling from the tallest building in the world. He still had a rope attached to him but that clearly still takes balls as I can't even look vertically down from my bedroom window without my arse falling out.

This time however the ropes are gone and the suicidal psychopath has quite literally thrown himself out of a plane and with no intent of opening the parachute until the last minute. My theory is that Tom Cruise's subconscious is trying to use death to help him escape the shackles of scientology with each film getting him closer and closer towards actually killing himself. From this I assume that the next movie will be called Mission: Impossible – Volcano Dip with Cruise's subconscious encouraging him to hurl himself into molten lava, like he's the ring at Mount fucking Doom, all just to prove that the great God Xenu isn't in there. However unlike previous instalments of this franchise, there isn't just one show-stopping stunt but fucking hundreds of them. Whether he's doing the HALO jump, single-handedly performing helicopter stunts, or breaking his ankle by hurling himself across buildings, this film never fucking stops. Mission: Impossible – Fallout is like an over the top trailer for itself in that it consists almost entirely of money-shots except that this is sustained for two and a half fucking hours. The movie is insane. I'm not a scientist but I'm pretty sure that simply keeping up with the pace of this movie will burn the same amount of calories as shitting yourself as you run a marathon. 

Of course there's more to this movie than just stunts though, with the acclaimed writer/director Chris McQuarrie breaking from the tradition of the series and returning to helm his second Mission: Impossible. Following on from where Rogue Nation left off, Hunt is tasked with tracking down three nuclear bombs that may or may not have something to do with Sean Harris's previously captured and constantly whispering super-villain. Despite having a name like a Channel Five soap-opera, Solomon Lane is up to his old tricks and it seems that nobody is able to trust anybody. In fact there are so many double-crossings and back stabbers here that you start to wonder if these characters had previously graduated from a high-school movie. To describe these spies as two-faced would be an understatement, especially in the cases in which they're literally wearing somebody else's face. There are so many twists in this movie that it's quite hard to keep track of where everybody is up to although it's never a problem because you always know the dynamic of each scene's dilemma. There's even one huge plot point in which Hunt himself is suspected of creating the villain as an alternate identity for himself to get away with his treacherous real motives. This obviously bears a slight similarity to the McQuarrie scripted The Usual Suspects and its Keyser Söze. Although in this case Cruise wasn't able to just walk off his limp at the end having well and truly fucked up his ankle up. 

Not that The Usual Suspects is the only reference point for this film of course. One of the reasons that this franchise has lasted so long is because each new director has been allowed to put their own spin on it. In keeping with this, McQuarrie has tried to find new influences to give the movie a different flavour from his previous Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. For me his last film was a combination of Hitchcock and old Noir movies with this one instead borrowing from the 70's Hollywood thrillers that he presumably grew up on. At one point there's a pretty smashy car chase that looked a little like my fourth driving test and takes place under an over ground railway. If the phrase, “A smashy car chase under an over ground railway” doesn't instantly scream The French Connection to you then I'm going to have to lean my head pretty far back to look right down my fucking nose at you. This also culminates in a scene in which a gun is being aimed at somebody with the increasing volume of an oncoming train serving to build up the tension. If you don't know what that's referencing then I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse which will involve you fucking off to watch The Godfather before I vomit.

Rumour has it that after Cruise had clung to the side of a plane as it took off for the previous movie, McQuarrie turned to his demented lead actor and said, “I feel sorry for whoever has to top this”. Apparently the only person capable was McQuarrie himself who has officially now set the bar so unbeatably high that whoever directs the next instalment really will be accepting an impossible mission. Mission: Impossible - Fallout is pretty much a flawless action movie with the perfect combination of a genius writer/director and an insane but dedicated lead actor. Henry Cavill plays a pain in the arse for Hunt here and it's pretty clear why he chose this film in the 'War Of The Moustache' that took place during the Justice League reshoots. There's one scene in this film that begins like an advert for Grindr with both Cavill and Cruise using their phones to track a man into a public bathroom, and even that ends up being one of the greatest fist fights of the year. It's worth noting too that throughout this whole thing, Tom Cruise is fifty-six years old. That's one fucking year younger than my own Dad and he struggles to walk from the bathroom to his bedroom these days. Although that's possibly because living with my bitch of a step-mum has driven him to drinking three bottles of wine a night. Hunt and Cruise obviously share a lot in common in that they're clearly both adrenaline junkies that are members of a secretive organisation with a stupid name. But as long as both haven't been prevented from working by either a bullet or a cult with decades of blackmail material then I can't wait to see what the hell they do next. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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