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Still throwing himself into insanely acrobatic derring-do, Tom Cruise returns for his sixth espionage adventure as daredevil spy Ethan Hunt.

As committed to pulling off ever more audacious stunts as his hero is to saving the world, here Cruise jumps out of a plane at 25,000 feet, races through Paris at breakneck speed on a motorbike and leaps between tall buildings in London. Indomitably gung-ho, he broke an ankle performing the last stunt but still completed the scene, with production on the movie subsequently shutting down for two months while he recovered.

Given all this, it’s no surprise that action takes precedence over plot in the finished film. The story picks up from where 2015’s Rogue Nation left off and finds IMF agent Ethan and doggedly loyal colleagues Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) trying to retrieve three plutonium bombs before anarchist terror group the Syndicate can detonate them.

On hand to complicate the mission is CIA hatchet man August Walker (Henry Cavill), sent by Angela Bassett’s flinty spy chief to keep an eye on Ethan and his team, while socialite arms dealer the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) and rogue MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (a returning Rebecca Ferguson) throw up further obstacles and opportunities.

The film’s cloak-and-dagger stuff, however, is simply a means to get from one hair-raising, white-knuckle action sequence to the next. Not that anyone will feel short-changed. As everything heads towards a cliffhanging ticking-clock climax, the big set-piece action sequences couldn’t be more exhilarating and brutally bruising.