“MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT finds Ethan Hunt and his IMF team in a race against time after a mission goes horribly wrong and nuclear-grade plutonium falls in to the hands of The Apostles – a global terrorist organisation comprised of the surviving members of The Syndicate, who are promising to finish what Ethan Hunt’s ultimate foe, Solomon Lane, started two years earlier.”

Tom Cruise is back for yet another seemingly impossible mission as the world’s most badass secret agent, Ethan Hunt – a character once considered a poor man’s James Bond who has now took on a life of his own, completely separating himself from the rival franchise and establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with who, if we’re all being honest, could probably kick the double-o and the seven out of James Bond. Now, as a Brit, those words feel downright blasphemous leaving my mouth, but there comes a time in every man’s life when he must decide who would win in a fight between two beloved fictional characters and, when it comes down to Hunt vs Bond, I’d have to give the edge to Hunt. Unless we’re talking specifically about Daniel Craig’s Bond, in which case I may be forced to reconsider – but I digress.

Tom Cruise is not the only familiar face returning. Ving Rhames is back as Hunt’s close friend and IMF tech genius Luther, who has been with Hunt since his very first mission back in 1996. Over the years, Cruise and Rhames have developed an excellent rapport and their on-screen chemistry is always fun to watch. Simon Pegg is also back as Benji; another tech-whizz who sometimes doubles as a field agent, and he brings with him that trademark Pegg personality, complete with scathing British sarcasm and awkward British charm. The wonderfully magnetic Rebecca Ferguson returns as the sometimes-ally, sometimes-enemy but always badass Ilsa Faust, whose true intentions are a constant mystery, adding to the ever-escalating tension. Other returning cast-members include Alec Baldwin as Alan Hunley, IMF’s governing body and the wickedly talented Sean Harris, who is as terrifying as ever as Ethan Hunt’s ultimate nemesis, Solomon Lane. There is also a very welcome addition to the cast here in the shape of Henry “The Moustache” Cavill as CIA agent August Walker, who has been tasked with keeping a close eye on Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, with orders to shut them down if things get out of hand. Cavill’s hulking physique contrasts nicely with Cruise’s short, quick and lean physicality, with a fun “strength vs speed” dynamic between the two.

For the first time in the franchises twenty-two year history, we also have a returning director, with Christopher McQuarrie taking on another mission after the fantastic and highly successful ROGUE NATION and once again, he completely knocks it out of the park. It is actually quite difficult to believe that Fallout is only McQuarrie’s fourth feature-film as a director and he is already at a level where he is successfully orchestrating blockbusters of this magnitude, complete with long, intricately choreographed action-sequences and some of the biggest stunts ever committed to screen. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if, going forward, McQuarrie becomes as integral to this franchise as Tom Cruise, returning for each new instalment and finding new ways to blow our collective minds and, while we’re on the subject of having our minds blown, let’s talk about the stunt-work on display in FALLOUT. Seriously, this cannot be overstated – the stunt-work pulled off here are feats of sheer insanity and it’s quite amazing nobody died during the making of this movie. Most of us have known this for years, but if you still had any doubt in your mind then FALLOUT will confirm it for you; Tom Cruise is an absolute psychopath. Love him or hate him, it is difficult not to admire the sheer devotion this man has for his craft, insisting on giving audiences the most authentic cinematic adrenaline shot possible by performing all of his own stunts. If he’s not speeding through oncoming traffic on a motorcycle, he’s leaping from buildings. If he’s not leaping from buildings, he’s hanging from a helicopter thousands of feet in the air. There is nothing Cruise isn’t prepared to do for this franchise and that passion is infectious and rubs off on the rest of the cast and crew, who all up their game to match his madness. In a cinematic climate where CGI has become so commonplace that most people assume anything that seems far-fetched probably isn’t real, it is refreshing to see a big blockbuster franchise that dares to do things the old way.

Now, let’s not forget that this is a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movie and if you’ve seen any of the previous instalments, you know you’re in for a big, silly and completely ludicrous globe-trotting adventure and if you can suspend your disbelief for a few hours, you will love this movie. However, if you’re one of those people who prefer their action movies to be dark, gritty and grounded in reality, FALLOUT is not the film for you, because everything that happens in FALLOUT is utterly preposterous, but the material is approached with such a contagious enthusiasm that no matter how ridiculous things get, it never feels forced or out of place.

A complex plot with high stakes, twists and treachery around every corner, a great cast who all look like they’re having an absolute blast and action like nothing you’ve seen before, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT emerges not only as the best entry in the long-running action franchise, but quite simply as one of the greatest action movies ever made. The cast, the direction, the music, the stunts – everything comes together in a perfect storm of filmmaking, resulting in one of the most breathlessly entertaining movies of the year. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE has become the most consistent and reliable action franchise out there, with Tom Cruise and company constantly defying expectations and one-upping themselves with each new entry. One can only imagine where they will take any future instalments, because topping FALLOUT is going to be a very tall order, but I said the same thing about GHOST PROTOCOL and ROGUE NATION, so what the hell do I know?

Words by Antony Brown