Entertainment

‘Mission’ accomplishes its goal, to entertain

Posted July 27, 2018 3:56 p.m. EDT

At this point, “Mission: Impossible” is “Mission: Predictable.”

Every few summers or so, Tom Cruise will be sprinting like an Olympic runner from a house fire and driving like Mad Max on the Autobahn — not to mention jumping, running, climbing, leaping and falling in what has to be the world’s worst CrossFit class — in pursuit of some evil low-life trying to destroy the world. But, as the saying goes, it never gets old and that’s certainly the case with the sixth installment, “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” which isn’t the best film in the franchise, but is still breezily entertaining nonetheless.

This time around, IMF (Impossible Missions Force) master agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is going up against a splinter group of his old foes in The Syndicate and his previous adversary, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). They want to blow up a good part of the world with some compact nuclear devices designed by a scientist (Kristoffer Joner) who has turned to the dark side.

After mistakenly letting the bad guys get their hands on the goods, Hunt has to get them back. Meanwhile, IMF rival and suspicious CIA chief, Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett), and her brick-wall of an agent, August Walker (Henry Cavill), want to solve the case their way, as does MI:6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who has her particular reasons for getting in on the action. Then there’s the duplicitous White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) and her gang of Euro henchmen.

So, Hunt and his devoted team — Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) — are taking incoming threats from all directions as they punch and shoot their way through another set of exotic locales (Paris, London and Kashmir). Directed and written by Christopher McQuarrie, who did the last film, “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” “Fallout” is at its best when it has its pedal to the metal, careening through narrow European byways by car, motorcycle and truck, helicoptering through narrow mountain passes, skydiving through a lightning storm and fighting in a preposterously clean and (mostly) empty bathroom at a French techno club.

The particulars of the story don’t matter; exposition is not your friend in a “Mission: Impossible” movie. McQuarrie knows that and, after an initial blur of information and who’s who, he gets down to fight-and-flight basics.

In fact, this is the first time that a director from a previous “Impossible” film has been called back for duty and he proves this was a wise choice with the aforementioned brawl in the stalls. Cruise, Cavill and stunt performer/actor Liang Yang, as one of the guys they’re pursuing, are electric in this spectacular feat of choreography, a wall-breaking, three-way beatdown of epic proportions. Fans of “The Raid” and similar head-slamming Asian action movies will be impressed.

The only problem is the scene is way too short. In a film just shy of two-and-a-half hours, they could have spent a few more minutes going mano a mano in the men’s room and the movie would have been none the worse for it.

But that’s a minor complaint. Big picture: Cruise once again shows that being 56-years-old is no barrier to being an action hero while the movie itself proves that being a summer blockbuster cash cow that doesn’t veer wildly from the unexpected doesn’t have to be uninspired. “Mission” accomplished.

cary.darling@chron.com