The newest Mission: Impossible movie lives up to its title with action scenes that are so spectacular—and preposterous—that it’s hard to know which ones to take seriously. Two highlights are an extended, white-knuckle car chase on the streets of Paris and much later, a helicopter pursuit. Yet Mission remains a piece of sheer escapism, even turning a lethal terrorist into just another movie bad-guy. With Tom Cruise in the lead and all the moviemaking knowhow on display, how can you go wrong?
Here’s how: you can have too much of a good thing. That’s the problem with this fast-and-furious sequel written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Tom Cruise is fierce and charming as the occasion demands; he also performs death-defying stunts. And boy, can that guy run.
His regular crew is back, with Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames filling their sidekick roles quite nicely. Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan, and Alec Baldwin lend solid support. Baldwin, as the U.S. Secretary of State, even has a fight scene!
These characters are built on the shorthand Mission: Impossible has established in earlier installments. There are plenty of twists, but ultimately McQuarrie relies on our familiarity with the series and its central characters to tell his far-fetched story. This is what people refer to as perfect summer entertainment: big, long, splashy, and (overall) fun. Something you should see in a movie theater with the electricity of an audience.