It might have started as a way to cash in on a familiar TV series name, but over the course of 20 years, M:I has become the most reliably thrilling popcorn-movie franchise going. Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie returns for a story that’s a more-or-less direct sequel to 2015’s Rogue Nation, as Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and the IMF team take on the followers of Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), who want to disrupt the world with nuclear terrorist attacks. The mostly enigmatic Hunt is given a few more shades to play with this time around, but the series remains, like the James Bond films, mostly an excuse for great action set pieces in exotic international locations. And between a single-take freefall through stormy skies, a Paris car chase, Cruise dashing across the rooftops of London and a helicopter dogfight that winds up on a mountain precipice, McQuarrie delivers the goods in giddy-making fashion. Throw in Henry Cavill as a blunt-force CIA operative complicating this impossible mission, and you’ve got the kind of spectacle that somehow manages to make 2-1/2 hours zip by like a breeze.
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Producer: Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, Jake Myers, J.J. Abrams, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger
Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Vanessa Kirby, Wes Bentley, Frederick Schmidt and Wolf Blitzer