Fairfield Citizen film critic Susan Granger reviews the new movie, “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation:”

This fifth incarnation of the “Mission Impossible” franchise begins with a spectacular, pulse-pounding stunt in which IMF agent Ethan Hunt climbs aboard a huge A-400 cargo plane as it’s taking off.

Yes, that’s really Tom Cruise! And the thrill-ride fun is just beginning …

Hunt is in the middle of a mission when he discovers that a stealthy group of terrorists, known as The Syndicate, led by coldly sinister Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), are working discredit the IMF by insidiously recruiting former intelligence operatives from around the world to destabilize countries and “eliminate” major international figures.

Problem is: no one will be believe him, particularly incoming CIA chief, Alan Huntley (Alec Baldwin), who discredits him and the entire operation.

Enter mysterious Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a lithe femme fatale, ostensibly from Britain’s MI6, who has infiltrated The Syndicate, yet may or may not be playing both sides. But since she resourcefully saves Ethan’s life — not once, but twice — that earns her some credibility with suspicious IMF operatives (Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg).

Adding unexpected touches of humor, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (“Jack Reacher”) superbly crafts the intricate, fast-paced espionage suspense, building to several dynamic highpoints, elegantly photographed by Robert Elswit.

There’s an eye-popping assassination attempt in the Vienna Opera House during a performance of Puccini’s “Turandot;” Hunt’s daring dive into a whirling maelstrom, holding his breath during a perilous underwater retrieval; and an intrepid car-and-bike chase in Morocco, plus other stunning surprises along the way.

Effectively at the top of his game, vital-yet-vulnerable Tom Cruise is heroically resilient, often matched stunt-for-stunt by Sweden’s stunning Rebecca Ferguson, whose name Ilse evokes memories of another enigmatic Swede, Ingrid Bergman, in “Casablanca.”

Fittingly, Joe Kraemer’s propulsive score includes strains of Lalo Schifrin’s original TV series theme.

FULL DISCLOSURE: My son, Don Granger, produced this movie.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” is a taut 10, the most exciting action-adventure of the summer.

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