Exploring Soundtracks: Mission Impossible – Fallout

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghgjlLiXltM

The music to “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” has everything you want in a great blockbuster action soundtrack.

After coming off of three weeks of John Wick, it only seemed appropriate to follow up with another action movie. And what better one could we pick than another film starring a 50+ year old man who also does his own stunts?

But don’t be fooled by their apparent similarities. In terms of music, “John Wick” and “Mission: Impossible” aren’t so similar at all. For starters, don’t expect any ear-splitting, industrial dubstep tracks that pump the adrenaline through you so hard your nose starts to bleed. The soundtrack to “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is a little more traditional than that.

The musical score for “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” was composed by Lorne Balfe. A veteran of Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions, Balfe’s music in this film shows some striking similarities to Zimmer’s own scores and style.

But before we get into the soundtrack itself, here’s a brief recap of the plot to “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”, for those who either haven’t seen it, or just need a quick refresher.

Synopsis

“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” follows a similar, familiar structure to the rest of the films in the franchise. Ethan Hunt and the Impossible Mission Force join forces with CIA assassin August Walker to prevent an epic nuclear disaster. They are tasked with the mission (should they choose to accept it) of stopping a terrorist group from launching a triple nuclear attack on the Vatican, Mecca, and Saudi Arabia. But when the weapons go missing, they must race the clock to keep them from falling into the wrong hands.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

The music in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” starts off with a bang. Or rather, with a rapid crescendo of increasingly relentless percussion over the production credits. This quickly resolves, however, turning to sweet, calming strings in the tranquil, opening scene of Ethan Hunt and his wife getting married. When this turns out to be a dream, or rather, nightmare, the strings transition from calming to tension-building. Underneath the slowly building strings in the next scene (when Hunt receives his mission), the music begins to gradually build to the next round of swelling strings.

It takes a full fifteen minutes into the film before the opening credits and trademark “Mission Impossible” song finally appear. In terms of the tone of the film, it’s the first hint of energy since the percussive crescendo before the movie even begins. Thankfully, after the credits, the energy in the music begins to rise collectively.

The similarities between Balfe and Zimmer become more apparent as Hunt and Walker prepare to skydive into Paris. The deep blaring of baritone horns coupled with rhythmic strings that have become a mainstay for epic films call to mind nearly every Christopher Nolan movie ever. And for good reason, too. It’s a pattern that effectively builds the tension. We hear it again in “The Exchange”, but this time paired with the “Mission Impossible” theme. While it may not be the most original, it nevertheless pairs excellently with the action on screen.

Even though “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is in every way an action movie capable of standing up alongside “John Wick”, the soundtrack shows incredible restraint so that our ears aren’t buffeted by a never ending barrage of percussion and horns. The transition sequences, while somewhat bland, at least offer brief respites before plunging into the action once again.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Lorne Balfe’s soundtrack to “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” has everything you could ask for in an action movie soundtrack. From adrenaline pumping sequences, to softer, transitional strings, to the ever familiar, Zimmer-esque patterns, it covers all the bases. Not only is “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” a solid action film in its own right, but the music keeps pace with it every step of the way.

That about finishes up our discussion for today. I hope you enjoyed this exploration of the “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” soundtrack. We’ll be back next week with another soundtrack to explore.

Track List

1. A Storm Is Coming (1:12)
2. Your Mission (2:14)
3. Should You Choose to Accept… (2:34)
4. The Manifesto (1:44)
5. Good Evening, Mr. Hunt (4:19)
6. Change of Plan (5:47)
7. A Terrible Choice (2:54)
8. Fallout (1:30)
9. Stairs and Rooftops (6:00)
10. No Hard Feelings (4:20)
11. Free Fall (4:14)
12. The White Window (4:42)
13. I Am the Storm (2:07)
14. The Exchange (5:54)
15. Steps Ahead (1:02)
16. Escape Through Paris (5:05)
17. We Are Never Free (6:57)
18. Kashmir (4:29)
19. Fate Whispers to the Warrior (3:54)
20. And the Warrior Whispers Back (3:56)
21. Unfinished Business (1:49)
22. Scalper and Hammer (5:10)
23. The Syndicate (6:00)
24. Cutting on One (3:42)
25. The Last Resort (2:55)
26. Mission: Accomplished (1:15)

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