Journeying from Budapest rooftops to a Moscow prison to the patriotic Kremlin to divine Dubai to a palace in Mumbai, Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) of the IMF (Impossible Missions Force), along with agents Jane Carter (the pleasantly badass Paula Patton) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg, contributing just the right amount of comic relief), must thwart the schemes of an ex-Swedish Special Forces soldier and nuclear extremist, code-named Cobalt (Michael Nyqvist). Cobalt's plan is to obtain stolen, classified missile launch codes to use in a strike against the United States, which should initiate nuclear war. After Hunt and his crew are framed for the spontaneous bombing of the Kremlin, the IMF Secretary (Tom Wilkinson) delivers some unfortunate news: the IMF is disbanded and disavowed, and it's up to the remaining three active agents, along with chief analyst Brandt (Jeremy Renner), to apprehend Cobalt and stop his chaotic intentions.
With or without a memorable madman behind the nefarious plot, the stunts are still quite thrilling and the hi-tech gadgetry undeniably amusing. The stunt choreography once again includes dangling from towering structures, clinging to the outsides of immense buildings, or hanging by a thread, inches from some sharp blade. The timing is what makes these moments extraordinarily suspenseful - while an inescapable humor lines each scene with complimentary glee. The technological apparatuses that are in apparent never-ending supply (who funds these people?) also provide a great deal of wit and intensity, most being utilized for a single activity and then quickly abandoned in a hasty getaway. Anything is conceivable with these outlandish inventions, making their impossible missions considerably more achievable. It is nice, however, to see some of their contraptions occasionally fail. But it's generally the prolonged fight scenes, car demolitions and long-distance jumping that stretch the boundaries of believability. Contesting physics, wind resistance and gravity during far-fetched feats always appears completely absurd.
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By Joel Massie