Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One
June 30th, 2023
MOVIE: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE- DEAD RECKONING PART ONE
STARRING: TOM CRUISE, REBECCA FERGUSON, HAYLEY ATWELL, SIMON PEGG, VING RHAMES, ESAI MORALES
DIRECTED BY: CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
His nickname should be The Unstoppable Tom Cruise. After the amazing success of Top Gun: Maverick, a film that many deemed to save movie theaters after the pandemic, he doesn’t slow down, he revs the engine back up. The last standing movie star left me in awe after Mission: Impossible- Fallout, so the idea of going up a level with Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One seemed like an impossible bar to reach. But that’s the point of Cruise. He accepts the challenge. He has to do it because if he doesn’t then nobody will. It’s that kind of bold and daring approach to creating cinematic entertainment that forces us to give Cruise our praise. He is an artist of action and big movie thrills. He’s unstoppable and the world is better for it.
After the entire network of super spies and mercenaries were gunning for Etan Hunt (Cruise) in Fallout, things begin with a reset, with Ethan patiently waiting for his next mission. The task is that a supercomputer has gone rogue, an entity that can control all technology and weaponry. At one point it was controlled by the Russians in a submarine, but now the key that operates the entity has gone missing, two separate pieces, and now Ethan and his team must locate it before it gets into the hands of bad people.
From the narrative standpoint, this Mission feels like it is going back to the beginning, using fake masks, Ethan using his skill of magic, and the higher-ups in the CIA trying to keep tabs on the MIF. They are a rogue agency, with the returning faces of Luther (Ving Rhames), Benji (Simon Pegg), and mysterious agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), all tasked with aiding Ethan in his pursuit of the key. Added into the equation is a stealthy thief named Grace (Hayley Atwell), who picks the pocket of the wrong person, getting herself involved in a fight she could not see coming.
Director Christopher McQuarrie, along with co-writers Bruce Geller, and Erik Jendresen certainly understand the concept of pacing, when to turn up the action, and when to dial it back. The stunts are always the centerpiece of the Mission films, but what continues to fascinate is how McQuarrie and team remember the past, installing shootout sequences reminiscent of Michael Mann’s Heat, motorcycle chases that pay homage to The Great Escape, and fights on a train that would make Buster Keaton applaud. It’s not just about the action in the Mission: Impossible movies. It’s obvious that it’s a labor of love to the heights that cinema can reach.
Typically the Mission movie’s (or really any movie in general) success can be hinged on the veracity of its villains. At this point, Ethan is a marked man and the number of villains is turned up. Although this group is not as cool as what Henry Cavill brought in Fallout, McQuarrie and Cruise are making sure we know that AI is the enemy of us all. The problem is if this technology gets into the wrong hands. Esai Morales is a ghost from Ethan’s past as Gabriel, a man hellbent on destroying lives on his way to controlling power. We also meet ruthless mercenary Paris (Pom Klementieff) hunting Ethan for sport, while CIA agent Briggs (Shea Whigham) is always one step behind his former co-worker. You throw in the return of the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) and you wonder exactly how Ethan could ever survive.
You throw on top of the never-ending motor of Tom Cruise and Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One is another spectacular achievement. It’s slightly stunted by overstuffed dialogue, with debates about who will act first, or the impending doomsday caused by the entity, but any issues are quickly brushed aside for the next best action sequence. Tom Cruise is the last living movie star and he continues to shock us with his drive for authentic action. He jumps off cliffs, fights on moving trains, runs for miles, and he genuinely puts his life at risk. This Mission: Impossible is a pure adrenaline rush, Dead Reckoning is only part one so you know he’s gearing up to do more crazy stunts. The industry of movies, the history of cinema, and audiences looking for thrills, it’s all on the shoulders of one unstoppable man. That is why this is one Mission you have to accept.
3 ½ STARS
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE- DEAD RECKONING PART ONE IS PLAYING IN THEATERS EVERYWHERE WEDNESDAY JULY 12TH.
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady