The Mission: Impossible (MI) series has proved a lucrative vehicle for Tom Cruise as IMF agent “Nathan Hunt”, here the series takes a further step into Bond wannabe territory.

Starting with an impressive sequence which also highlights how Simon Pegg has become an integral and highly visible part of the team as “Benji Dunn”. Cruise as usual exploits every opportunity to indulge his desire to perform stunts by hanging onto a plane taking off. Later riding a motorbike at insane speeds, feeding his insatiable desire for bigger and crazier thrills.

The IMF team are as usual on the wrong end of a bureaucratic wrangle. Jeremy Renner as agent “Brandt” fighting off calls to disband the group whilst pitched against sceptic Senator Hunley (Alec Baldwin). It does seem like we have been here before and it would be good to find the group on the right side of the law for once.

All such films need a ruthless mastermind mind and is provided quite notably by “Solomon Lane” (Sean Harris), heading up the shadowy “Syndicate”, an anti IMF group. Harris plays the part as repressed, fussy and conspicuously meticulous to good effect.

The team are chasing an encrypted file a.k.a. movie McGuffin, providing an excuse for Hunt to access an impenetrable facility, protected by innumerable security devices which the team need to defeat.  The group are also helped/hindered by another rogue agent with somewhat elastic loyalties, “Isla Faust” (Rebecca Ferguson).

It is good to see a slightly more mature female lead, given so much to do and not forced into a token love interest. Ferguson makes for an intriguing foil and gives as good as she gets, Ferguson seemingly enjoying every moment in the spotlight outsmarting the boys.

MI is now up to number 5 in the series and on this basis the franchise has more to give, in fact number six has already been green-lit. The action has moved away from the original more serious tone, now falling more at the 007 end of the Bourne/Bond believability spectrum.

Cruise as usual has star quality to burn and Pegg rather surprisingly does bring something extra to the mix. With his role in Star Trek and a rumoured brief turn in the “new” Star Wars, he has come far indeed. Ving Rhames is pulled back in, almost as if contractually obliged but is given little to do and Renner mostly fights bureaucracy rather than bad guys.

Alec Baldwin attempts to add some gravitas but is not looking as cinematically sharp as he used to but hopefully may add more to the series as it progresses.

Director/Writer Christopher McQuarrie has worked with Cruise on “Jack Reacher” and “Edge of Tomorrow”, knows his action and moves the film along at a brisk pace. Admittedly not deep and with little time for characterisation but fun all the same.

Summary

Unlike most Franchises the series is growing stronger, whilst establishing a clearer identity at each outing.

If you enjoy your Mission’s Impossible and prefer mostly “done for real” stunts and action, there is much to like here.

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