Tom Cruise Becomes Almost Huggable Again

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This latest installment of the Mission Impossible franchise is unmitigated fun with its deliciously overwrought motorcycle chases, hellish helicopter skirmishes, frenzied fisticuffs, plus rooftop jumpings galore. My favorite is the bathroom decimation.

More beneficial to our joy is that Mr. Tom Cruise has stopped making gossip headlines in recent years. He's only garnered press for injuring himself during an MI stunt. There's no added Oprahesque/religious/marital baggage to distract us from sitting back and being totally enveloped in this "global cultural icon's"* portrayal of the troubled Tom Hunt as he puts aside his own personal problems to safeguard the world from three plutonium bombs that have fallen into the hands of those who will sell them to terrorists.

The plot itself is much too complex to try to introduce to you here. (Something about a bonkers anarchist (Sean Harris) and his group, the Apostles, and their desire to overthrow world order.) And, yes, there are moments when you are about to say, "Huh!" But before you can scratch your head in bewilderment, the film hurtles forth at such a great speed from Belfast to Paris to London to Kashmir that you've forgotten that it might not at all make sense. It sort of does though in retrospect.

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Aiding Mr. Cruise are his regular sidekicks: Simon Pegg as Benji and Ving Rhames as Luther. Both add much needed humor to the proceedings. Rebecca Ferguson also appears again as Ilsa Faust, the ass-kicking, sharp shooter who has won over Hunt’s heart. And if the Oscars come up with an award for best cameo, Wolf Blitzer will definitely get a nomination for his solid comic turn here.

Then there's Henry Cavill as an overly attractive stick-in-the mud CIA agent. Perfect typecasting.

As for writer/director Christopher McQuarrie's helming, although he lacks Paul (Bourne Ultimatum) Greengrass's artfulness, his sensibility is a perfect complement to a large popcorn and a Coke. The man, who won an Oscar for The Usual Suspects screenplay in 1996, tries to pull out all the stops here, and he pretty much succeeds.

The result will be a huge hit, or is one already, which means get ready for Missions Impossible 7, 8, and 9 -- and at least another two decades of the personable Mr. Cruise doing what he does best.

*As noted in the film's production notes.

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