"Mission: Impossible" is one of the most consistently reliable of all long-running franchises. Over six films and an almost unbelievable span of 22 years, the series has never grown stale, reinvigorating itself with increasingly outrageous action set-pieces and fresh blood at the helm nearly every time. Brian De Palma's 1996 original, John Woo's 2000 sequel "Mission: Impossible 2," J.J. Abrams' 2006 follow-up "Mission: Impossible 3," Brad Bird's 2011 installment "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol," and Christopher McQuarrie 2015 entry "Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation"—each one feels like a coherent piece of something larger even as each filmmaker has brought their own individual style and flair to the intrigue-filled, tautly designed, stunt-heavy proceedings. For "Mission: Impossible – Fallout," McQuarrie (the first director to return for an encore) has upped the ante once more, and to sometimes dizzying degrees. Even as the viewer watches, he or she can scarcely believe what has been pulled off.
The Impossible Mission Force is never long without a megalomaniac to thwart, and this time agents Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) have in-custody anarchist Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) and an entire terrorist group called The Apostles—led by a mysterious figure named John Lark—with whom to deal. IMF's mission, if they choose to accept it (and you know they must), is to retrieve three plutonium bombs in The Apostles' possession before they are able to fulfill a trio of cataclysmic coordinated attacks. As Ethan & Co. trot the globe, whisking off to Belfast, Paris, Berlin and Kashmir, allegiances are tested as Ethan struggles to get a handle on Special Activities operative August Walker (Henry Cavill), tasked by no-nonsense CIA director Erica Slone (Angela Bassett) to shadow IMF on their latest assignment. Also returning to the fold: MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), torn between helping Ethan and satisfying her own separate mission, and Ethan's ex-wife Julia Meade (Michelle Monaghan), now working as an international doctor.
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