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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Mission Impossible Fallout: Better (These Days) Than Bond

Just saw the 6th Mission Impossible movie - Fallout - with Tom Cruise in the lead role as Ethan Hunt.  I thought it was outstanding - the best of the movies so far - and, yes, better than the Bond movies these days.

The dominant philosophic theme was a refutation of the utilitarian principle that the good of the many outweigh, or should outweigh, the good of the few as a motive for action.   We see this refuted at least three times in the movie, which begins with Hunt blowing a mission to save one of his team.  He later takes precious time to make sure that a French woman police officer survives a deadly encounter.  And in the one of the scenes in the movie, Ilsa struggles with whether to thoroughly choke out an arch villain while Benji dangles from a nearby noose and looses consciousness.

There's some excellent double-agent moves in which good guys turn out to be bad guys and vice versa.  And the action scenes - in bathrooms in Paris to cliffs in Kashmir - are top-notch and in some ways better than usual.   In the bathroom, a single bad guy gets the better of both Hunt and another agent, until - well, I don't want to give too much away.  But that's more realistic than we often see in scenes like this.

There's the best balance of tongue-in-cheekness about Mission Impossible tropes and using them to effective purpose in the narrative.   An early scene features Wolf Blitzer delivering a news report on CNN.  I had a feeling he was making up the report for MI purposes, but didn't guess that he was actually one of the MI team wearing a Wolf Blitzer mask.  After that, the cracks by disbelievers that the MI strategy of masks which just Halloween had an especially delicious irony.

Tom Cruise, I have to say,  did another fine job.  I never got the criticism of Cruise in this or any other role.  He delivers his Ethan Hunt character with just the right mix of grit, determination, self-awareness, and even self-deprecation.    I guess comparing these MI movies to Bond is apples and oranges.   But I will say that I liked Fallout more than last few Bond moves, which were certainly good cinema.

See alsoMission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol

the Sierra Waters time-travel trilogy

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