‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’: A mission you’ll never want to see end

3 out of 4 stars

“Mission Impossible – Fallout” has indeed done the impossible: it proves a franchise can get better over time, with each film better than the preceding one, which in this case, leads us to the pinnacle of Tom Cruise’s signature franchise.

Make no mistake: “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” which is the franchise’s sixth installment in the series that started in 1996 when Cruise’s Ethan Hunt character chose to accept his first mission, is nearly 2 ½ hours of irresistible fun.

Hunt leads the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) that ties to save the world by any means necessary, which generally Hunt’s  jumping out of airplanes, dangling from cliffs, scaling buildings and zipping around in helicopters, no to mention beating up  the bad guys like he’s Mike Tyson in his prime.

The stunts that are pulled off in this movie, which revolves on Hunt and his team’s pursuit to commandeer stolen plutonium that will be used to blow up the world, are impressive.

Even at 56, Cruise is at the top of his game.

The film, which was written by “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” writer-director Christopher McQuarrie, who won an Oscar for the “Usual Suspects” more than two decades ago, pits Cruise and his crew against the Apostles, who led by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), are plotting a massive nuclear attack against the world’s holiest cities with the plutonium.

“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” returns much of the cast that has superbly complemented Cruise through the years, including Hunt’s sometime sort-of lover, assassin Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and his boss at the IMF, Alec Baldwin. Trusty and comedic sidekick Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) also returns, as does Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), who has been at Cruise’s side since the franchise’s start with the Brian De Palma-directed film in 1996 – 30 years after Bruce Geller’s hit show debuted on TV.

“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” captivates the audience’s attention from the opening scene before stepping on the accelerator. There’s a HALO (high altitude low opening) jump where Hunt and his partner, August Walker (Henry Cavill) leap from a plane and land on the roof of Paris’ Grand Palais. There’s also a fantastic, bloody fight scene that occurs in a nightclub bathroom and plenty of chases to leave you dizzy.

The action scenes are spectacles. Director Christopher McQuarrie, who also was behind “Mission” Impossible – Rogue Nation” and Cruise’s “Jack Reacher,” as well as assisting on the scripts for Cruise-driven films  “Valkyrie” and “Edge of Tomorrow,” knows how to bring out the best in Cruise.

And that’s exactly what he does in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” which is a mission worth seeing.

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