Paris has never pulsated with more panache. Could it be because cinema's greatest living superstar is chasing down the villains on the cobbled streets of this beautiful city? Or is it just the fact that this instalment of Mission Impossible is impossibly entertaining, wildly engaging and finally more profoundly satisfying than the action genre permits.
From Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango In Paris to ? ahem, Aditya Chopra's Befikre, Paris has always been favourite haunt of filmmakers on a passionate prowl. Passion doesn't perpetually pertain to the pelvic province. The fierce dedication with which Tom Cruise performs the action scenes in this film makes you realize why he is who he is. The mojo is not always about sex. Tom Cruise is seductive because he treats action scenes like high-quality sex.
Every time Cruise returns as Ethan Hawke we wonder how he will better the stunts. The answer, dear friends, is blowing in the Parisian winds. Why just Paris! This time as he sets out to save the world from a nuclear-toting apocalyptic organization known as the Apostles, Cruise stops by to go where angels fear to tread. And he comes out errr, Trumps.
Cruise's skyscraper-level derringdo makes all the other major action heroes of Hollywood look like contestants on Khatron Ke Khilari. He ups the action ante without making a brouhaha of his breathtaking skills. There is an action sequence on a helicopter where we see Cruise leaping to what would almost surely be death for ordinary mortals.
Be prepared to miss a few heartbeats when Mr Cruise jumps.
I suspect Tom Cruise is the only screen hero who can actually defy death. He doesn`t fudge the stunts. In this film the compelling camerawork by Rob Hardy(who earlier did the astonishing cinematography in Annihilation ) falls back in awe to watch Mr Cruise perform some of the most impossible daredevilry made utterly credible by an actor who acts not for the camera or for the thrills. But simply because there are some impossible peaks of valour to conquer.
And yet it is not all about the action alone. No. Mission Impossible Fallout packs a solid scriptural punch. The twists and turns that take Cruise's Ethan Hawke through a spectacularly heroic binge never slackens its pace. Don't look for popcorn space in the 2 ½ hour marathon of monumental hi jinks.
While Cruise takes complete and unconditional control of the plot, the secondary characters are never outlined in a shadow. Sharply drawn and projected in pockets of finely-edited narration every actor is beamed in a joyful light.
This time I found the female characters empowered by adrenaline. Maybe it's Cruise's company that makes them so electrifying. But Vanessa Kirby as an arms dealer and Rebecca Fergusson as Ethan Hawke's colleague add fuel to the fire. Their personality undergoes tremendous changes in the course of the plot. Only Ethan Hawke remains rocksteady in his heroism. He is undoubtedly the first among non-equals.
This is indeed the most persuasive Mission Impossible film to date. The slickness never slackens. While Tom Cruise's star power remains etched at the acme, this time there is also a rousing compelling plot-propelling Cruise through several countries and places(including Kashmir, though 'Kashmir' here seems fudged) with no respite from the action in sight.
At the end of the film I did feel as if the team was in a monstrously manipulative mood, not willing to let us off the hook for even a split second. But there is a wonderful sense of gratification in being manipulated by hands that knows what it is doing
And who knows this better than Ethan Hawke?
(IANS Ratings: 4.5 Stars)