Cert 12A 147mins Stars 5

Tom Cruise crashes back into cinemas with the sixth outrageous, death defying and exhilarating episode of his all-action espionage franchise.

IMF agent Ethan Hunt is the US answer to James bond, and Cruise chose to accept his first mission in the role back in 1996, and this is by a running jump the best one yet.

The preposterous plotting involves some missing plutonium and a terror organisation trying to establish a new world order. Plus of course the familiar latex masks, a series of betrayals and the famous signature tune.

Humour lands with the almost same impact as the punches as we’re whisked from Paris to London and Kashmir in bikes, boats, cars and helicopters, through a series of wildly improbable stunts. 

It begins in a surprisingly low key fashion with Hunt having doubts over his chosen career, but he’s soon accepting a new mission, aided by trusted colleagues Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg.

Joining them is former Superman, Henry Cavill, who’s on career best form as a CIA agent tasked to shadow Hunt and help complete his task.

And a cocktail lounge punch-up involving Rebecca Ferguson and The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby, suggests the possibility of an all female spin-off mission should Cruise ever decide he’s too old for all this.

He was famously injured during filming and his willingness to put his body on the line for our entertainment is what makes this franchise so compelling, 

Plus each dazzling display of virtuoso stunt work exceeds the previous one in ambition and scope and is conceived and executed with clockwork ingenuity. And they’re performed on location with a minimum of CGI assistance, adding to our gobsmacked disbelief. This is best watched on an IMAX screen for maximum effect.

Fallout establishes a new high bar in slick, glossy stunt-driven action adventure, and next year’s 007 film will have to keep it in its sights if Bond wants to remain top gun.

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