Call it testosterone-fuelled recklessness, hubris or feeling the need... the need for speed. Tom Cruise certainly puts on a show in the fifth instalment of the Mission: Impossible franchise.
He clings to the side of an airplane as it takes flight, slaloms at dizzying speed on a motorcycle and performs death-defying leaps as secret agent Ethan Hunt.
The 53-year-old star performs most of these hair-raising stunts himself, allowing writer-director Christopher McQuarrie to capture every pulse-quickening second in thrilling close-up with minimum digital trickery. McQuarrie, Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Usual Suspects, bookmarks slam-bang action sequences with intentionally ambiguous exchanges between rival operatives, who acknowledge the futility of their efforts as pawns in the spy game.
Their inevitable deaths will go unnoticed and fresh-faced young agents will step forward to replace them, continuing the brutal tug-of-war between political idealism and global terrorism.
On this evidence, Mission: Impossible and its gung-ho leading man won’t be self-destructing any time soon.