Natalie: “I liked how the tech was fancy but practical.  Also, ginger swap!”

Alleged Buff is a series where MattRob talks to Natalie about a film that she hasn’t seen: what she thinks it is about, whether she was interested in seeing it. Then they watch the film, and talk about it now that she’s seen it.

Mission: Impossible–Fallout (2018) is the pretty dope sixth entry in the Mission: Impossible series, and, while the plot feels a little too Fast & Furious for my tastes (seriously, Solomon Lane coopted the entire “build a new world order” plan so he could get revenge on Ethan Hunt and Ethan Hunt’s ex-wife?), the movie has an incredible cast and some of the best set pieces in the whole danged franchise.

I sat down with Natalie and we talked about it. What follows is a lightly edited transcription of that conversation.


MAR: This week we are going to visit the very excellent entry in the Mission: Impossible series, Fallout (2018). I really like this one. I think it is the third best in the series after De Palma’s original and Rogue Nation

NR: Which one is Rogue Nation again?

MAR: It is the one with Rebecca Ferguson where the team are facing off against some other superspies. Lotta intrigue, Ferguson kicks ass.

NR: That doesn’t help me.

MAR: It’s the one between Ghost Protocol and Fallout. <shrugs>

NR: I’m not sure that I’ve seen it. It’s not the sandstorm one, right? That’s Ghost Protocol.

MAR: Correct. Tom Cruise outruns a sandstorm.

NR: Okay, I haven’t seen [Rogue Nation].

MAR: Or Fallout, obviously.

NR: Right.

MAR: Okay, so we got that out of the way. What do you know about Fallout?

NR: I’ve seen the first three MI. I really enjoyed the first one. And I really liked Ghost Protocol.

MAR: So you’ve seen the first four, then.

NR: I really liked the first one. The others I wasn’t as sold on.

MAR: Same. I saw MI 2 twice in the theater. My John Woo phase.

NR: I saw the first two in the theater.

MAR: So… Fallout.

NR: Henry Cavill is in it and he is hot, so I am interested. Thanks, Witcher. Also, he is the bad guy?

MAR: Ehhhhh. TBD. But moving on, you like some of the movies well enough. Do you like Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames?

NR: Pegg is funny. I like him in Spaced and Hot Fuzz. Ving is awesome. I am iffy on Tom Cruise. It depends. The Scientology is weird to me. But he’s very good as an actor. But personally I find him offputting. He also does his own stunts for the most part, which is pretty cool.

MAR: I think that he has a surprisingly consistent career. Not a ton of duds. Even ones that are kind of fun to make fun of after the fact, like Jack Reacher, could still be the best movie by some other actor.

NR: [He has] old-man muscles in that one. <laughs>

MAR: Ugh. Yeah, the forced attraction with Rosamund Pike does neither of them any favors. She’s the best. ANYWAY, you know about Cavill. Alec Baldwin is sort of the IMF branch boss in the past two movies. He’s in here. Vanessa Kirby plays the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave’s character from the first movie.

NR: I didn’t know that. Interesting.

MAR: Any other pre-watch thoughts on the movie?

NR: I am interested to see how they made Henry Cavill and Tom Cruise look at all in the same stature.

MAR: It is actually interesting… they don’t, really. You end up with some of the close-up action/reaction shots where they are the same height, the classic milk crate thing, but there are shots in helicopters and cars and you just can see that Cavill is 100 pounds heavier and like nine inches taller. They don’t/can’t really hide it. Which makes the fight scenes interesting..

NR: Is the score still iconic? Dunh dunh dunh dunh, dunh dunh dunh dunh dunh…

MAR: Yeah, the Lalo Schiffrin score is still present. As iconic as any film or TV score ever.

NR: I saw some of the TV show on Nick at Nite. Because I’m old(ish).

MAR: Probably a few years back, then.

NR: More than a few. <laughs>

MAR: They did a thing for a while where they had famous contemporary musicians redo the theme song. The DePalma one is U2, then that Limp Bizkit one, Kanye was #3, I think. Sort of a Bond theme song type of thing. I believe that they stopped doing that. At least, I didn’t hear Imagine Dragons or Billie Eilish the last time I saw this.

NR: Thank the maker for that.

MAR: OK, then, I guess we will go watch the movie now.


——-Pause to watch movie—–


MAR: So that was a wild one.

NR: My notes started off with “shit!” in a good way, and ended the same. To quote: “spy shit is so cool.”

MAR: Accurate.

NR: I will say the smallpox epidemic is a little too close for comfort. Kinda freaked me out.

MAR: If only we had the IMF and the HAO (the fictional health organization in the film. -Ed.) working on COVID.

NR: Right. I want to say that I really liked the use of technology. The movie was tricksy and I like that. It seemed like I wrote “cool” a lot in this review. Also, “Simon Pegg has never looked better.” 

MAR: I feel like it has the most tricksy twists and reveals outside of the very first one.

NR: Yeah, I think that is why I really liked it.  Oh… where did I write this down? “Why am I always curious about actors’ heights?” Also, “I appreciate that there have been more female action stars and villains in the past decade.”

MAR: Anything else?

NR: I thought the skydiving was wild at the beginning.

MAR: McQuarrie is a fun action director. I really like how he handled the past few of these, plus Way of the Gun and Jack Reacher.

NR: I liked the use of silence.

MAR: Silence? Do you have a specific scene where that stuck out to you?

NR: Like during the extraction scene where you think that it is happening, but it was just Tom Cruise imagining the outcome. I enjoyed that. And I liked how the tech was fancy but practical.  Also, ginger swap!

MAR: <laughs> I was definitely tricked by Simon Pegg in the Solomon Lane mask the first time I saw this.

NR: The end was very tense. Got a little ridiculous, but you expect it.

MAR: They took the Living Daylights aircraft stunt and they dialed it up to 11. And then Tom Cruise is really piloting a helicopter over a glacier.

NR: The biggest tragedy is Henry Cavill’s burnt face.

MAR: He should have showed up to the Justice League reshoots looking like that. Here’s Superman with 2nd-degree burns on his face.

NR: And a mustache. <laughs> I liked that it had action and intrigue. Especially the switcheroos. Good cast too.

MAR: What did you think about Vanessa Kirby and Rebecca Ferguson, seeing them for the first time in this?

NR: I liked both. Rebecca Ferguson had more to do, obviously. More lines and scenes. She was good and effective. [Kirby] was fine, whatever. I didn’t have a huge opinion. She was fine. Like a deer.

MAR: <laughs> Ferguson will be in Dune in December (hopefully in December! -Ed.) as Lady Jessica.

NR: It makes you feel old when you relate more to the parents… <laughs>

MAR: Yeah, for sure. Timothée Chalamet looks like a baby boy in that.

NR: He’s a nonentity to me. He’s a child.

MAR: So what are your final thoughts on this Mission Impossible sequel?

NR: This mission that I chose to accept… I thought it was good. I didn’t see the previous one so I can’t compare. But except for the first one, this felt the most spylike of them. I was not bored at all. I could follow the twists mostly. Cinematography was beautiful. Yeah, I recommend it.