MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE-FALLOUT – J.J. Abrams produced movies will gladly pay homage to their original source material while blazing a trail for their own cinematic paths to follow. A pre-credit sequence features an elaborate ruse (Involving Wolf Blitzer, no less.) where the players wind up pulling off their faces the way they were always doing in the minimalist 1966-73 television series as the strains of Lalo Schifrin’s familiar musical theme emerged in the background. That CBS show was a by-product of the global 007 craze and the film versions have no qualms borrowing heavily from the British secret agent’s bag of gloriously excessive tricks. This sixth installment in the franchise finds the globe-trotting Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his M:I team after a terroristic organization known as “The Apostles” (SPECTRE anyone?) who are trying to get their hands on a load of plutonium to start a nuclear attack. There’s nothing really new about the plot even though director/writer Christopher McQuarrie (MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE-ROGUE NATION) adds on layers of complication with multiple double and triple crosses along with the sort of complex, elaborate schemes that require the sort of obligatory explanation in order to keep audiences from being totally confused. But even if the eye-popping stunts feel recycled from the land of Bond, which is recycling themselves, they’re delivered with maximum exhilaration in the form of skydiving through a thunderstorm, hair-raising car chases through crowded thoroughfares and a helicopter pursuit climaxed by a literal cliffhanging sequence. It’s directed with excellent pacing and what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in execution and style. This movie, should you decide to go see it, is pure escapist, put your mind on hold fun with an occasional back story or plot twist until the next “can you top this?” stunt. CRITIC’S GRADE: B

CLOSING CREDITS: Here are some other good movies starring Tom Cruise who would be the most normal guy on the planet were it not for his association with that goofy, pseudo-religion Scientology - RISKY BUSINESS (1983), THE COLOR OF MONEY (1986), RAIN MAN (1988), BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (1989)*, A FEW GOOD MEN (1992), THE FIRM (1993), JERRY MAGUIRE (1996)*, MAGNOLIA (1999)**, THE LAST SAMURAI (2003), MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE III (2006), LIONS FOR LAMBS (2007), TROPIC THUNDER (2008), KNIGHT AND DAY (2010), MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE-GHOST PROTOCOL (2011), EDGE OF TOMORROW (2014), MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE-ROGUE NATION (2015), AMERICAN MADE (2017)

*Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor

**Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor