Mission: Impossible - Fallout ★★★★★

It doesn’t take long to recognize that “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” is one of the best action movies ever made.

Some will see the light during the first act HALO jump, when Tom Cruise caps off an exhilarating long-take by leaping out of a C-17 at 25,000 feet, aerial photographer Craig O’Brien capturing the stunt from the massive IMAX camera strapped to his chest (your move, Christopher Nolan). Others might cotton to the film’s brilliance during the bareknuckle fight scene that follows in the bathroom of a Parisian nightclub. Henry Cavill packs so much firepower into each punch that he literally has to reload his arms, and director Christopher McQuarrie — invoking the best of James Bond as he shoots the brawl without any music on the soundtrack — makes sure that we absorb every bodyblow and wince at each piece of busted tile.

And if anyone is still on the fence after that, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll be convinced by what comes next: A symphonic, character-driven rescue operation/motorcycle chase/underground getaway sequence that speeds across the City of Lights along a breathless riptide of raw spectacle. Not since “Fury Road” have such viscerally practical effects been put to better use by such deliriously impractical people. And they’re only just getting started. Tom Cruise hasn’t even broken his ankle, yet.

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