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Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

He’s bungee jumped, scaled dizzy­ing rock climb­ing heights in Utah and hung from the world’s tallest build­ing – Dubai’s Burj Khal­ifa. You’d think there’s noth­ing left for Tom Cruise to prove when it comes to show­ing his ac­tion chops.

But the act­ing world’s bravest 53-year-old is back in death-de­fy­ing form – this time cling­ing onto an air­borne plane – in the fifth in­stal­ment of the hugely suc­cess­ful Mis­sion se­ries.

Whereas other fran­chises nor­mally run out of steam by films four and five, sev­eral smart cast­ing and di­rect­ing de­ci­sions have kept Mis­sion mo­tor­ing along very nicely in­deed.

En­try five sees Cruise re-team with his Jack Reacher di­rec­tor Christo­pher McQuar­rie as Ethan Hunt and his Im­pos­si­ble Mis­sions Force take on their most dan­ger­ous chal­lenge yet: highly-skilled rogue group the Syn­di­cate.

It’s a tes­ta­ment to the adren­a­line-fu­elled spy se­ries that Cruise’s much-hyped Air­bus A400M plane stunt ac­tu­ally kicks things off – for most ac­tion stars this would be the coup de grace.

But what has sep­a­rated the Mis­sion movies from other big bud­get blow-outs – and in­jected them with enough smarts to stay clear of Fast and Fu­ri­ous-style height­ened car­nage – are their es­pi­onage-flavoured plots full of twists, turns and buddy ban­ter.

McQuar­rie also co-wrote the script along with Iron Man 3’s Drew Pearce and, while the “good guys be­ing framed as bad guys” sto­ry­line is hardly a fresh idea, the pair keep sus­pense lev­els high through­out and, per­haps more im­por­tantly, don’t over­com­pli­cate things.

They also, wisely, keep their lead­ing man front and cen­tre and test Cruise’s ace agent like never be­fore.

For all the past con­tro­versy re­lat­ing to as­pects of his per­sonal life, there’s no ques­tion­ing Cruise’s sta­tus as the big­gest movie star on the planet. Keep­ing up with the times like few oth­ers, rather than coast­ing on his rep­u­ta­tion, Cruise en­ter­tains the masses like no-one else.

Ethan gets more than a help­ing hand, though, from re­turn­ing team­mates Wil­liam ( Jeremy Ren­ner), Benji (Si­mon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames); Pegg, in par­tic­u­lar, is a de­light, jus­ti­fy­ing the most screen time of his three se­ries ap­pear­ances.

The real sur­prise is Swede Re­becca Fer­gu­son who pro­vides the fran­chise’s best fe­male per­for­mance – and the clos­est its had to a Bond girl – as glam-but-deadly dou­ble agent Ilsa.

Brit Sean Harris (Solomon Lane) does a fine job as the film’s psy­chotic an­tag­o­nist, com­ing sec­ond only to the late Philip Seymour Hoff­man in the Mis­sion movies’ rogues gallery, and Alec Bald­win (Alan) barks out dev­il­ish di­a­logue as the head of the CIA.

Tak­ing in lux­u­ri­ous lo­ca­tions, scin­til­lat­ing set pieces and nail-bit­ing ten­sion, Rogue Na­tion main­tains the Mis­sion form guide – and leaves you won­der­ing what other meth­ods of neardeath risk-tak­ing Cruise has left up his sleeve.

rat­ing Chrome­cast from Google is a £30 streamer to show pro­grammes or films from your phone or tablet through a TV (as long as it has a USB port and you have wi-fi) and is the size of a key fob. Don’t for­get an ear­phone split­ter which en­sures more than one per­son can hear a pro­gramme from a tablet – at around £1, it could be the best tech buy you make this sum­mer.

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