What’s Your Favorite Set Piece in Mission Impossible: Fallout?

I wrote about Mission Impossible: Fallout last week before I saw it, through the lens of a question of whether or not actors should perform their own stunts. Normally I wouldn’t revisit the same topic so soon, but I really enjoyed the movie, hence this post.

Before I get into spoilers, here’s my quick review: I found the movie to be thrilling and highly entertaining on multiple levels. The action is spectacular, the twists and turns are fantastic (there are a few great reveals I didn’t see coming), and the human-level moments ground the movie in a way that truly makes me care for and worry about the characters.

I’m going to talk about specific set pieces below, though before I do, I wanted to talk about them in general for a minute. A set piece in a movie is a scene built around…well, essentially around a gimmick. Like, in the first MI movie, Ethan Hunt is lowered down from the ceiling in a highly secure room at Langley to steal some information from a computer.

I think I’ve undervalued the importance of setpieces until now. I’ve certainly enjoyed them, but I’ve lumped them in with all the other scenes of the movie. However, I’ve now come to appreciate them because I’ve realized how important they are for creating memorable moments (something I also try to do with my games). I may be entertained by Tom Cruise running and driving around in Rogue Nation, but the scene I remember is the one where he climbs up the side of the really tall building. It gives my memory an anchor point.

Even if you don’t read the following, what do you think about set pieces? Do you have a favorite?

SPOILERS BELOW

Part of what makes Mission Impossible: Fallout great is that there are several standout set pieces. Here are my favorites in order:

  1. HALO jump: This was one of the most entertaining, thrilling, edge-of-my-seat action scenes I’ve ever seen. I could watch it over and over. I love long shots, and even though this was three shots stitched together, I couldn’t tell. Absolutely stunning.
  2. Bathroom fight: The intensity of this fight scene was off the charts.
  3. Helicopter: My favorite part of this scene was Tom Cruise getting onto the helicopter. There’s a low shot the follows him as he runs towards the netting. It’s such an intense moment, and it’s followed by him climbing, falling, and climbing again. The rest of the helicopter scene was fine, but there were too many cuts–I didn’t have a good sense of place in it.
  4. Hostage: I almost forgot about this one, but I really liked the scene where Ethan Hunt seemingly needed to kill a bunch of people to capture Lane…and then he thought of a completely different way to do it. The shot of the water rising up to the right of Lane inside the truck is brilliant.

Also, while these weren’t set pieces, I really liked the twists in the early scene with the guy who thought the bombs went off and the later scene where Cavill doesn’t realize that it’s Benji, not Lane, in the room with him.

What was your favorite set piece in Fallout?