At one point – just like in one of the most Bondian of motifs – Ethan Hunt (the eternally young Tom Cruise) jumps out of a plane, skydives through a thunderstorm, lands on top of a gilded palace in Paris where he has to meet a contact who just happens to be a beautiful woman, and is wearing his immaculately cut suit underneath, ready to shed the chute and join the party. A tux under a scuba suit? Cruise and McQuarrie seems to scoff, check this out!
Hunt is on the hunt (fnur fnur) for some nuclear warheads he and his team lose early in the film. In the first MI film to continue an existing story, the SPECTRE-like terrorist organisation run by Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) – the captured villain from the last movie – is still active, taking possession of three plutonium cores Hunt and his team fail to secure in Berlin.
While they crisscross the globe in pursuit of them, the CIA assigns a battering ram-like minder, Walker (Henry Cavill, and how much trouble did that moustache cause Warner Bros?) to shadow the IMF team against Hunt’s judgement.
But they have no choice so off they go, meeting with an exotic weapons broker in Paris to put them back on the trail of the nukes, Hunt bought up short when MI6 agent Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) comes back into the picture with her own agenda.
Hunt’s former girlfriend Julia (Michelle Monaghan) plays a more active role this time too, having to help the team save the day when the bad guys plan to let the bombs off at the top of an icy glacier in Kashmir, poisoning the water supply for a third of the world’s population.
And it all delivers everything we’ve come to expect from the franchise upon that narrative framework, from the globetrotting to the incredible action and stunt photography. Cruise isn’t dangling out of a plane this time, but he still gets his trailer moment chasing Walker across the snowy slopes in a helicopter.
It’s great escapist fun, but I also couldn’t help being reminded of another movie I watched recently, 2 Guns. Where here the CIA (of which the IMF is part) is portrayed as being no-nonsense and virtuous, with a take-no-prisoners but morally solid approach to protecting the world, in 2 Guns it’s portrayed as a bunch of corrupt crime lords concerned only with protecting their own fiefdoms.