Don’t look now, but Tom Cruise is back, hoping to recover from his disastrous The Mummy. Considering he’s back as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, recovery won’t be a problem. With Cruise looking to go all out in the name of entertainment, not only will The Mummy be a minor bump in his film career road, Fallout should go down as the best film in a franchise that stretches back to 1996. Cruise needs to be commended for sticking with it because there was a time when the Mission: Impossible franchise was all but dead (as action films overall weren’t fitting the bill).

Rest assured, Fallout is a fun and entertaining thrill ride that stays at 11 during its entire 147-minute running time. With director Christopher McQuarrie back as director (he’s the first to helm 2 M: I films) and writer, Fallout accomplishes the “impossible” task of topping all of its predecessors. McQuarrie and Cruise want to wow audiences by giving them action set pieces they’ve never seen before. And if audiences have seen it, they can still come away impressed.

At this point it’s not worth it to talk about the story - everything included in Fallout is secondary to the action. But if you must know, Ethan, Luther (Ving Rhames), Benji (Simon Pegg) and Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) are again in over their heads. They face insurmountable odds as they again attempt to save the world from pesky terrorist Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), who served as the main baddie in 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The threat of nuclear destruction looms and Ethan must do everything he can to prevent the death of millions.

But this is Mission: Impossible, which means there’s always a hitch. The CIA, led by director Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett) is breathing down IMF’s throats, and her top agent, August Walker (Henry Cavill) is assigned to keep an eye on Ethan. Throw in a black market arms dealer (Vanessa Kirby) and IMF director Hunley (Alec Baldwin), and what you have is a massively bonkers spy film full of twists and turns, the cherry on top being some incredible action.

With all due respect to Avengers: Infinity War, Fallout is the summer’s best film. With Cruise performing his own stunts, practical effects play a major role. Things get going early with an unnecessary, but incredibly awesome halo jump scene (this alone makes Fallout IMAX-worthy). Then things get wilder when Cruise rides a motorcycle against traffic while running from the cops, without a helmet, mind you, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background. Then we get the obligatory Tom Cruise running scene – this time he’s running across London rooftops, leaping from building to building and suffering (in real life) and broken ankle in the process.

Does it get crazier than that? Of course it does! Cruise attempts to steal a helicopter, in mid flight! That means, if he can climb up a long rope attached to helicopter, he has to get in the chopper, neutralize the pilot, and then fly it himself! Then he has to chase another chopper… with the chopper he’s attempting to steal! As Ethan runs toward the chopper as it first takes flight, Ilsa can be heard asking, “What the hell is he doing?” Everyone will ask the same thing - but the answer is simple, Cruise is puttin’ in work.

Everything I mentioned could be considered spoilers, but I left out a bunch of important details and Fallout’s trailers include stuff I already mentioned. I can’t help but talk about the action set pieces because they are everything. Cruise and McQuarrie got creative in ways I never would’ve imagined. Cruise will leave you out of breath, yet gasping for more because he’s so willing to take risks to win over his fans. And even more amazing is he’s 62 years old – he’s doing things that people a third his age would vehemently turn down. To put that into perspective, when Cocoon (random, I know!) was released in 1985, one of its co-stars, Wilford Brimley, was 51! Brimley wasn’t out there jumping off rooftops, that’s for sure. So in terms of risk, only Jackie Chan is at Cruise’s level, yet even he hasn’t attempted the things Cruise accomplished here.

Rest assured, Fallout is amazing as it defines the summer blockbuster and sets a new standard for stunts and practical effects. It took its cues from Mad Max: Fury Road and The Raid, yet Fallout may top both of them. In fact, not only is Fallout likely the best in the franchise, there is a good chance it’s the best action film ever. It’s certainly a bold statement but it means you’ll have to see for yourself.

5 stars out of 5

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