For their fifth incredibly tricky mission, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his trusty IMF team, including tech-wiz Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and fellow field ace William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), must prove that shadowy terrorist group The Syndicate - a globe-threatening cabal of assassins and rogue operatives - actually exists... and then destroy it. Should they fail, it's bad news for the world - and even worse for the IMF. Hollywood's most fearless megastar accepts the challenge of writer-director Chris McQuarrie's all-action stunt-acular.
Tom Cruise knows how to do a lot of things, but above all he knows how to show an audience something new. Like, say, clinging to the side of an airplane during take-off for the opening sequence of a film that seems to throw a record amount of stunts - mostly performed by the man himself - at the camera.
Once Cruise's super-agent Hunt has dealt with the bad guys on the plane, he links the nerve gas cargo to a rogue group known as The Syndicate, which appears to be at the heart of many a tragedy, from missing planes to industrial accidents.
Unfortunately, the events of the last movie have come back to haunt Hunt's Impossible Mission Force, and with CIA director Alec Baldwin swallowing up Hunt's unit and cutting him loose - despite the best efforts of Renner's Brandt - only Hunt can set about identifying the villains and how to bring them down.
Despite the franchise's standalone nature, Rogue Nation enjoys name-checking the 'NOC' list from the first movie, referencing the toxic gas of the second and literally waving around a rabbit's foot from the third.
But it's the events of the last mission that have the biggest impact, and not just because Hunt gave nuclear launch codes to a terrorist, but in developing relationships between Simon Pegg's techy-turned-field agent, Benji Dunn, and Jeremy Renner's slightly shady Brandt.
Originally a source of comic relief, Benji has stepped up to buddy cop level, bringing heart where Cruise's Hunt brings steely seriousness (although his eyebrow raise has become a trait that offers occasional moments of levity).
Ving Rhames' Luther also makes a welcome return to give Brandt somebody to spar with, but new girl Rebecca Ferguson is the real standout as Ilsa, the Syndicate's own shady rogue agent with a complex agenda. (Although it's a little sad that director McQuarrie insists on leering over her in various states of undress.)
M:I3's strongest element was its stripped-down plot - JJ Abrams knew the the McGuffin just needed a name, not an explanation - while Brad Bird's M:I4 added some brilliantly realised set-pieces to a relatively straightforward nuclear bomb plot.
McQuarrie appears to have aimed for the dubious characters and personal treachery of Brian De Palma's convoluted 1996 original.
While that's not necessarily a bad thing, and arguably a defining element of what makes a Mission: Impossible what it is, the script will undoubtedly bemuse some, particularly as the stunts give way to exposition-led arguments.
McQuarrie doesn't quite hit the high notes of Bird's Burj Khalifa climb, or find the wit of a Dean Martin prison break, but he does add another level of peril, largely thanks to Sean Harris's menacing anti-Ethan, while the plethora of comic beats are perfectly timed.
And ultimately, the stunts deliver, from an underwater heist that will have the audience hold breath in empathy to a motorbike chase that's one of the most exhilarating yet-shot.
Although it's not the first time we've seen Tom Cruise do that.