By Johnny Cotton
PARIS (Reuters) - A skydiving Tom Cruise returns this month for the latest stunt-packed installment of the "Mission: Impossible" franchise, which co-star Simon Pegg promises "ups the bar" for action.
"Mission: Impossible -Fallout" sees Cruise - who famously does his own stunts - throw himself from a military transport plane at 25,000 feet, pilot a helicopter though mountain ravines and race a motorbike helmet-less through oncoming traffic round Paris' Arc de Triomphe.
"It just ups the bar so far, it's a crazy kind of evolution. Any one of the stunt sequences in this movie would do a film proud as its climax, and they're just all the way through," Pegg said.
Pegg returns as the nerdy sidekick to Cruise's suave spy Ethan Hunt, though Pegg says he would not swap places with the Hollywood star, whose last film in the franchise - 2015's "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" - took in $682 million at the global box office.
"I'm happy to be the one on the ground operating the computer. I get to be part of it but I don't have to risk my life," Pegg told Reuters ahead of the film's world premiere in Paris on Thursday.
Henry Cavill, appearing as a CIA-paid hitman who joins a terror ring intent on engineering a nuclear disaster to destroy the old world order, was equally impressed.
"When you're seeing a guy who's learned how to fly a helicopter and then do stunts in a helicopter, and not only stunts in a helicopter but stunts in a helicopter in the mountains, it's something else," Cavill said of the 56-year-old Cruise.
Director Christopher McQuarrie has said he wants the movie to explore a more human side to Hunt, starting with the return of his ex-wife, played by Michelle Monaghan, and British MI6 collaborator Ilsa Faust, played by Rebecca Ferguson.
"Mission: Impossible - Fallout" starts its international rollout in movie theaters on July 25.
(Reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by Leslie Adler)