Well chaps, it’s Action Season, and – courtesy of Paramount Pictures – Tom Cruise and Co. have embarked on yet another high-octane quest to save the world. The ‘Impossible Missions Force’ (yes, really), headed by Alec Baldwin’s character, Huntley, seemingly consists of just 3 other operatives – Ethan Hunt (Cruise), Benji (Simon Pegg), and Luther (Ving Rames) – and together they set out to recover as many plutonium cores, with a view to foiling the nuclear armageddon envisaged by a new terrorist threat.

The premise of the movie is that ‘the Apostles’ – an egotistical band of extremists – have formed the view that Earth would be better off without civilised society, and consequently plot to bring it down. The plot thickens as the CIA come to meddle as – at least in the realm of contemporary fiction – they are wont to do, and the ludicrously named ‘August Walker’ (played by that handsome devil Henry Cavill) is installed as Cruise’s babysitter – in a brute-force: I’m going to hit people with inanimate objects kind of way, rather than a cutesy: look at the little baby kind of way.

The film, which is the sixth instalment of a well-established franchise, works surprisingly well as a standalone flick, though there are several call-backs to previous films – via returning villains, recurring love-interests etc. – which might go over the heads of those who are a perhaps late to the party. Never fear, however, as the series of near-incomprehensible connivances and intrigues which break up the action sequences will perplex newcomers and series-veterans alike.

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The action sequences are impressively choreographed throughout, and are just varied enough to hold the audience’s interest and remain fun – though at one point I did find myself thinking: “really, another car chase?” The fight sequences, which are used a little more sparingly, are a particular highlight and have the admirable quality of being intense whilst bringing a health dose of humour to proceedings.

The thing I enjoyed most about the film is the fact that it doesn’t shy away from being a super-sized-cliche; unlike the recent cinematic exploits of 007 – perhaps the most obvious comparison in the realm of silver-screen spy fiction – Mission: Impossible doesn’t ruthlessly insist on being taken seriously. Instead, the film is fun first and foremost; with the result that – though the plot is decidedly wacky – audiences are passively encouraged to suspend their disbelief.

Verdict: DO WATCH / DON’T WATCH

With a runtime of some 2 hours and 28 minutes, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is no doubt a rather hefty time commitment, and there’s probably a case for saying that if a film is going to be that long, it had better be bloody memorable. If you’re looking for the next masterpiece – a complex narrative that will stay with you for years, changing how you view the world – this certainly isn’t it; however, if you’re looking for some mindless entertainment, and can see the benefit of finding a dark room away from the summer heat, then you’d be well advised to get the popcorn in, and settle down to enjoy the latest adventures of the IMF!

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