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Why ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ is the Quintessential Action Film

Mission: Impossible – Fallout will be remembered as the greatest movie in its series, and one of the greatest action movies ever – and here’s why.

The HALO jump from Fallout.
Tom Cruise stars Ethan Hunt in the series. Credit: Paramount Pictures

Fallout, the sixth entry in the iconic Mission Impossible series, stands tall as one of the most iconic action movies in all of cinema.

Tom Cruise and the Mission Impossible crew brought back Christopher McQuarrie to direct Fallout – which is a huge change because, in the past, each movie had a different director. McQuarrie and Cruise pushed everyone involved to make the film as exciting as possible, and it paid off big time.

From jaw-dropping stunts to a riveting plot, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is a beautiful symphony of elements that collectively make it the epitome of modern action filmmaking.

Tom Cruise’s Insatiable Commitment

Tom Cruise attending the London premiere of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. Credit: Shutterstock/Fred Duval

At the heart of Fallout‘s success is Tom Cruise’s unwavering commitment to his craft. His dedication to authenticity has earned him the title of “the last movie star.” The 58-year-old actor, who performs the majority of his own stunts, has become synonymous with the series. Fallout takes this commitment to new heights – literally. In the previous movie, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Tom Cruise hung onto the side of an airplane in the middle of takeoff, but in Fallout, Henry Cavill and Tom Cruise did a completely practical HALO (High Altitude Low Orbit) jump.

The thunderstorm was added in post-production, meaning they actually jumped out of that plane with the cameraman following them the whole way down. Cruise and Cavill leapt from a plane at 25,000 feet, and they performed the stunt over a hundred times to get the perfect shot.

The film’s introduction was stellar in how dark it was, but the HALO jump was the set piece that established the film’s mood in a matter of minutes. The trailer advertised the iconic bathroom fight, featuring Cavill “reloading his fists,” but the HALO jump was a complete surprise. It wasn’t shown as much in the marketing material, so when it appeared, it provided a sense of genuine danger because the practical effects showed the audience that it was being done for real.

A Classic Mission: Impossible with an All-New Cast

Henry Cavill, Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson
Ethan Hunt and the new characters Ilsa Faust and August Walker. Credit: Paramount Pictures

While many action movies often face criticism for sacrificing plot coherence for the sake of spectacle, Fallout strikes a perfect balance between narrative depth and exhilarating action. The film follows Ethan Hunt and his team as they race against time to prevent a global catastrophe. Despite a complex web of double-crosses and false identities, the plot is surprisingly easy to follow. It constantly keeps audiences on their toes, making Fallout more than just a series of visually stunning set pieces.

In addition to Tom Cruise’s charismatic portrayal of Ethan Hunt, Fallout boasts a stellar ensemble cast that brings depth and nuance to their characters. Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames return to play their iconic characters. Something else that Fallout does well is introduce new cast members – some of whom actually carried over to Dead Reckoning. Rebecca Ferguson plays Ilsa Faust, and Henry Cavill plays August Walker. These new characters create a totally new dynamic between Ethan and the other agents, who are just as good at their jobs as he is.

Practical Filmmaking and a Genre-Defining Score

Tom Cruise hanging off a helicopter.
Tom Cruise hangs onto a helicopter in one of the final stunts of the movie. Credit: Paramount Pictures

While many action movies rely on CGI and special effects to create excitement, Fallout distinguishes itself by delivering practical, in-camera stunts that leave a lasting impact. The HALO jump and the helicopter chase in the mountains of Kashmir show off the sheer effort that went into this movie. The realism and intensity of these scenes set a new standard for the genre, establishing the film as one of the most visually impressive of its time.

Christopher McQuarrie’s direction had a huge positive impact on both Fallout and the future of the franchise as a whole. The use of IMAX cameras and innovative cinematography create a sensory experience that drowns the audience in the world of espionage. Lorne Balfe’s pulse-pounding score adds an all-new soundscape that carries over to the next film’s soundtrack. The blaring horns and constant bongo drums were a totally novel addition. They replaced the electronic keyboard underscoring the films before Fallout.

Global Appeal and Box Office Success

The world premiere of Fallout.
The main cast at the world premiere of Fallout. Credit: Shutterstock

Like all other films in the series, Fallout received critical acclaim upon release. A lot of its success is thanks to its simplicity. Mission Impossible films know what they’re selling: entertainment and spectacle. The universal language of action and suspense speaks to audiences worldwide. It reaches back to the old Hollywood action movies of the 80s and 90s being enjoyed worldwide.

Fallout became revolutionary by redefining both the action genre and its own series. From Tom Cruise’s devotion to his craft to the jaw-dropping practical stunts, Fallout embodies the essence of action filmmaking. The Mission: Impossible franchise will continuously push the boundaries of action cinema. However, Fallout will remain a shining example of the entire genre’s evolution.

Written By

I'm a University of Southern California alumni. I have a Bachelor of Sciences in Business of Cinematic Arts and a minor in Cultural Diplomacy. I enjoy playing video games, reading comics and manga, and watching anime and movies. I love writing about topics surrounding the film and television industry, and the meanings behind many successful stories.

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