(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

The “Mission: Impossible” franchise has always been about upping the technology, the action and the set pieces to astound the little part of the brain that yearns for excitement. Mission: Impossible Fallout manages to go above and beyond all the franchises expectations. It delivers one of the tensest and most action-filled experiences yet, one that not only cements itself as the best “Mission: Impossible” film but also as one of the best action films in recent years.

Continuing two years after Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) took down Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the head of a group of rogue agents called “the Syndicate,” the agents, now without a leader, have formed a new terrorist group called “the Apostles”. The IMF (Impossible Mission Force) tasks Ethan and his team with retrieving plutonium cores before the Apostles can get their hands on them.

The Apostles believe that there can be no peace without suffering and the bigger the disaster they cause the longer the peace will last afterward. Ethan knows they plan on using the plutonium to create bombs, but he doesn’t know where they will cause the suffering.

Admittedly, the plot sounds derivative of other spy movies. An evil organization wants to blow up the world and spies must spring into action to save the day. What really sets Fallout apart is the ability to examine its characters in-depth. This is in part done by fantastic work from writer and director Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Jack Reacher and Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation). McQuarrie does an amazing job of understanding who these characters are and why they would commit themselves to dangerous tasks.

Apart from that, McQuarrie knows how to make every fight scene and action set piece feel cohesive. He masterfully controls what happens on-screen so the audience never has to question what’s happening or who is winning a fight. Everything is precise and the fast pace ensures there is never a dull moment.

The actors are also worth praise for the action in the film, especially Tom Cruise. Cruise seems to have no limit to what he will do, whether it’s jumping out of a plane or climbing a rope to a helicopter. Him performing his own stunts really adds to the sense of realism of the scenes and keeps them from feeling like just movie magic.

All of the cast give great performances and really flesh out their characters. Simon Pegg is reprising his role as humorous as ever as agent Benji Dunn, Rebecca Ferguson returns as suave agent Ilsa Faust, Henry Cavill joins as CIA agent August Walker and Alec Baldwin returns as Alan Hunley to name a few.

Hunt and his team still deploy a lot of the things people have come to expect from a “Mission: Impossible” movie. There are still twists and turns and, of course, mask reveals, but they are all staged in a way that rewards fans of the series and could surprise newcomers.

All in all, Mission: Impossible Fallout is perfect for fans of the series and anyone who just wants to see an action movie. It deploys some of the most intense and comprehensive action scenes out there and has proved itself to be one of the most exhilarating films in the Impossible franchise.

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