Like the James Bond films, the entries in the Mission: Impossible series are really only as good as the sum of their set pieces—and they might actually have become more reliably thrilling. Tom Cruise reunites with his Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie, as Ethan Hunt and his team (Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames) work to take down a vast terrorist network, assisted by a deep-cover British agent (Rebecca Ferguson, kicking enough unholy ass to shoot to the top of any casting list for future super-hero movies). Beyond grim determination, Ethan Hunt still barely exists as a character after five movies—virtually all the personality is left to Pegg, with Sean Harris reasonably effective as the ultra-confident villain—but it doesn’t matter much when the action beats are this strong. Between a fistfight on the lighting rigs of the Vienna Opera, an underwater race against diminishing oxygen supply and a motorcycle chase through the streets of Casablanca—as well as giving Ethan his strongest female counterpart yet—this installment does nothing to dim the hope that the franchise can keep rolling. Your move, 007.
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Producer: Tom Cruise, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger and Jake Myers
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, Simon McBurney, Zhang Jingchu and Jens Hultén