Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One

Creating a six-hour action movie and splitting it into two parts is unbelievably self-indulgent. Thankfully, Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is worth it (although we'll have to  reserve full judgement until next year's release of Part Two). The seventh entry into the franchise once again finds Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team out in the cold on their own on a race to a prize with the safety of the entire world at stake. This time the enemy is both an AI capable of crippling the world with disinformation and its disciple, a spy with a past tied to Hunt's life before he ever joined the IMF.

While I enjoyed Mission: Impossible – Fallout, I don't think it stands up as well to multiple viewings as the previous two films which continue to be the apex of the series. Dead Reckoning not only returns the supporting players from the previous films such as rogue spy Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and Hunt's reliable pals Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames), but it also adds Hayley Atwell to the mix in a role that nearly steals her the film.

An action film as long as Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One shouldn't work as well as it does, especially given we've only seen half the story so far, but writer/director Christopher McQuarrie manages to continue ratcheting up the tension while providing a host of exotic locales and more impossible stunt sequences for Cruise. And although we get plenty of time for Hunt's hotdogging for his big hero moments, the latest entry also offers multiple sequences with the IMF team working together as a group. And, as a nice bonus, we also learn a little about how the IMF recruits.

In many ways Atwell's thief is the engine which keeps the film moving, constantly complicating matters for Ethan as she too seeks out a prize without truly understanding its deadly ramifications. Esai Morales as the shadowy man from Ethan's past now working for an artificial intelligence, and a man Hunt has ever reason to want to see dead, is probably the weakest part of the film as the script only allows him the two characteristics of being of mysterious and menacing throughout. We also get Pom Klementieff as a fun Bond-level henchman and the return of Vanessa Kirby as the White Widow whose fateful decision late in the film will put two other characters in danger leading into the film's cliffhanger and setting up Part Two.

Although ridiculous at times with its interlocking glowing keys, Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is big fun joyride which is exactly what you ware asking for when sitting down for one of these films. There's some great action scenes, with some fun humor mixed in. I don't know if I can pick a favorite, but Hunt and Grace (Atwell) handcuffed together attempting to flee both and Gabriel's minions and local police in Rome would certainly be in the conversation. While Ferguson added some much needed life to the series, Atwell adds a star whose performance announces loudly she would be equally capable of carrying any action franchise in the future, even the impossible ones.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
  • IMDb: link

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