***½/**** Image A Sound A+ Extras B+
starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin
screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie
directed by Christopher McQuarrie
by Walter Chaw At some point, sneakily, wonderfully, Tom Cruise became our Jackie Chan. It happened when the storyline shifted away from his essential ickiness--the Scientology thing, the Katie Holmes thing, and all the attendant nightmare gossip--and onto his fearlessness and absolute willingness to perform his own stunts wherever possible. (I realize of course that said storyline may never shift for some.) There were murmurs when he did the rock-climbing in the second Mission: Impossible flick--the one where he recruited John Woo, who was at the time the best action director on the planet. Those murmurs turned to grudging admiration once it was revealed that Cruise let himself be suspended for real outside the Burj Khalifa in Brad Bird's superior Ghost Protocol; and now, with Christopher McQuarrie's fleet, intelligent, immanently professional Rogue Nation, for which Cruise hung from an airplane in flight and held his breath for six minutes, Cruise's bravado is a big part of the draw.