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Movie Night – ‘Mission Impossible’ sequel offers non-stop action

By Bradley Griffith

It’s not been a great summer for movies. There were a few standouts, but most of the summer releases have been of average quality. If these movies were enough to almost lull you to sleep, “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is the elixir we all needed to pump life back into the theater. It also happens to be the best movie of the year.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is not only an agent for the Impossible Mission Force, he is the quintessential agent for the IMF. When a job absolutely has to get done, the IMF always turns to Ethan and his team of Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames).

It’s been two years since Ethan captured Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the leader of a global terrorist group known as the Syndicate. The remaining members of the Syndicate have formed their own organization called the Apostles. The Apostles are making a deal to sell three stolen plutonium cores to a radical fundamentalist who goes by the name John Lark, though no one knows what Lark looks like, or even his real name.

What they do know about John Lark is that he wrote a manifesto advocating chaos and death on a global scale to supposedly help save the planet. Lark can use the three plutonium cores to make three man-portable nuclear bombs. Ethan and his team can’t let Lark get his hands on the plutonium.

After an unsuccessful attempt to intercept the plutonium before it reached the Apostles, Ethan decides to pose as John Lark to the broker of the plutonium sale, the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby). Since no one knows what Lark looks like, the White Widow won’t know that Ethan is not Lark. Problems arise for Ethan when the CIA insists that one of their agents, August Walker (Henry Cavill), accompany him on the mission. Things get even more complicated when disgraced MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) shows up at Ethan’s meeting with the White Widow. Ethan must put all distractions aside so he can once again save the world.

“Mission Impossible: Fallout” is the mother of all action movies. There’s not only non-stop action throughout the movie, but the action scenes are so inventive and well-done that it’s hard to believe what you are seeing on the screen is not real. In one scene Ethan is being chased through the streets of Paris on a motorcycle. He travels down the roadways in the wrong direction and is nearly killed by oncoming traffic no less than a dozen times, and each time it felt so real I could almost feel the breeze off each car as it came oh so close to Ethan’s motorcycle.

Maybe the best scene of the movie is a helicopter chase near the end. It’s likely the best helicopter scene ever filmed for a movie. The special effects and stunts for this scene – and the entire movie – are amazing. A scene involving a high-altitude, low oxygen parachute jump featuring Cruise and Henry Cavill required over 90 takes before it was perfect. At age 56 Cruise doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

But, don’t make the mistake of thinking that “Fallout” is only about action. The story of the movie extends from the last movie in the franchise, “Rogue Nation,” and it’s both interesting and intriguing. The movie includes double-crosses on top of double-crosses and the story works perfectly to seamlessly support the action scenes.

“Fallout” brought back all of the characters you loved from “Rogue Nation” (except for Jeremy Renner), including Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust. The film added Henry Cavill as August Walker to shake up the tight-knit family that is Ethan’s team.

“Mission Impossible: Fallout” has spectacular action scenes with jaw-dropping stunts. It’s not only the best movie in the franchise and the best movie of the year, but also one of the best action movies of all time. It’s flat-out awesome.

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Grade: A+

Rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action, and for brief strong language.