By Mark Saldana 

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

After offering movie audiences an impressive Mission: Impossible installment with Rogue Nation, director Christopher McQuarrie returns to wow audiences with another breathtaking and incendiary film.  With Fall Out, McQuarrie, his writers, cast and crew set out to out-do their previous stellar work and succeed winingly.  The strikingly compelling story, engrossing drama and awe-inspiring action sequences are guaranteed to leave audiences wide-eyed and breathless.  Mission: Impossible is one of the more successful movie franchises that continues to deliver popcorn devouring cinema with much fervor and excitement, which is quite respectable given both the age of the series and the age of its star Tom Cruise.

Cruise reprises his role of IMF team leader Ethan Hunt. Though Hunt and his team successfully captured Syndicate leader Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the Syndicate’s influence still poses a huge threat to the world at large.  Inspired by the work of the Syndicate, a terrorist organization known as The Apostles (led by the mysterious John Lark) has plans to detonate nuclear weapons at some strategic targets in the world.  While The Apostles work feverishly and skillfully to acquire the plutonium they need to arm their weapons, Hunt and his IMF team are tasked with stopping them. After failing to thwart one particular plutonium deal, the IMF must contend with the scrutiny of the U.S. government, particularly that of the C.I.A.  In order to appease them, Hunt reluctantly accepts the assistance of the agency’s golden boy, an infamous assassin named August Walker (Henry Cavill).  As Hunt and his team struggle to accomplish their mission, Solomon Lane’s imprisonment further complicates matters, as he desires to make Hunt suffer for his interference with his goals.

Written and directed by McQuarrie, the filmmaker’s second time at bat proves to be an even bigger grand slam than his previous film.  McQuarrie and his team deliver action movie thrills that are guaranteed to keep audiences tensely glued to their seats and utterly blown away.  In addition to the glorious action  sequences superbly executed, shot and edited, McQuarrie continues his story arc from Rogue Nation and launches it into new and exciting territories.  McQuarrie obviously has much respect and love for the previous installments as he remains true to the characters and makes an effort to recall events, beats and emotions from the previous chapters.

Tom Cruise, who also has much love for this series, does not at all come across as exhausted or bored with this franchise.  Even though he is now halfway into his fifties, he appears to hold his own with some of his younger co-stars and still refuses to sit out some of the more harrowing stunts in the film. In what seem like an insurance agent’s nightmare of an action scene, Cruise actually suited up and executed an amazing halo jump out of an airplane for the movie.  This moment already looks incredible cinematically,  but also knowing it is actually Cruise and not a stunt performer doing it gives it another level of amazement.

Also returning for the fun are Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson,  Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin and Michelle Monaghan. All of whom are wonderful in their roles.  Newcomer Angela Bassett gives a solid turn as C.I.A. director Erica Sloane.  Vanessa Kirby gives a scene stealing performance as the calculating, but irresistibly seductive arms dealer, the White Widow.  Last, but definitely not least, Henry Cavill proves he can do more than play Superman with an intense and sardonic turn as assassin August Walker.  He makes a welcome addition to the franchise and displays some impressive range and an awesome mustache.

And as long as Tom Cruise and his filmmakers continue to put much love, passion and energy  into this movie franchise, they will continue to make great movies for it. I know that time will eventually catchup with Cruise and maybe he will wise up and stop doing his own stunts, but until then audiences will keep returning to the theater to enthusiastically enjoy these adventures. I know I will.

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