“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” | Review

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is the latest film in the long-running and gloriously consistent action franchise. Tom Cruise returns as the practically immortal secret agent Ethan Hunt on his latest mission: collect both parts of a key which grants control over the Entity, a super advanced artificial intelligence. Once again, the world is at stake, so Hunt and his team must race against the clock, allowing for Tom Cruise to perform more life-threatening stunts.

This film’s predecessor “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is, I’d argue, one of the greatest action movies ever made. It’s certainly in my top five. Therefore, I went in somewhat hoping this movie would capture just as much magic as Fallout, which is essentially a perfect film. After seeing it, MI7 isn’t on Fallout‘s level, but it’s still super entertaining.

Tom Cruise is a living legend and undoubtedly the last true movie star. He’s willing to put his life on the line to get a couple of cool shots, and you have to respect the man for that. Like in “Top Gun: Maverick,” the screening starts with a clip of him thanking the audience for supporting his film in a theater. Such compassion and dedication to his fellow moviegoers is monumental, and that heart is present throughout this whole film.

Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One Tom Cruise Hayley Atwell Train

Obviously, the action in this film is mindblowing. Whether it’s the chaotic Fiat car chase in Rome or the claustrophobic alleyway fight or the heart-stopping train sequence, Cruise never disappoints. It’s all in-camera with minimal cuts because it’s all happening for real; no stuntman is filling in for him and no CGI is interrupting him. Since all the action sequences are actually happening and Cruise is actually pulling off these incredible feats, the film maintains that edge-of-your-seat energy we want from a Mission: Impossible flick. This movie gets even better when compared to all the other blockbusters of today. CGI-ridden films like “The Flash” and “Fast X” simply don’t have that raw grit of MI7, so they’re far less engaging and emotional. I care dramatically more about Ethan Hunt than I do Barry Allen or Dom Toretto because everything happening on screen is practical stunt work rather than visual effects.

Even in comparison to films like “John Wick: Chapter 4,” which also relies on practical stunt work, MI7 outshines the competition. While the situations Hunt finds himself in are over-the-top, the writing sufficiently supports why they’re occurring and makes all the events believable. In the latest John Wick films, it’s hard to care about Keanu Reeves because there’s no justification for him walking off a Wile E. Coyote fall from a six-story building.

Mission: Impossible Tom Cruise motorcycle jump

The sequences are heightened even further by McQuarrie’s confident and energetic direction. This is his third Mission: Impossible film and seventh collaboration with Tom Cruise, so he’s steadily expanded his filmmaking prowess to become one of the best action filmmakers of all time. McQuarrie is able to make long dialogue scenes feel as riveting as any fight sequence, particularly an exposition scene with Kittridge that floored me. It’s a masterpiece in direction, editing, and sound design.

Speaking of which, this is one of the best edited films I’ve ever seen. Editor Eddie Hamilton (who also worked on “Top Gun: Maverick” and wrongfully lost the Oscar for it) is a genius. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what he does to make each scene so investing. He’s just able to draw you into each scene and, using McQuarrie’s stellar work behind the camera, he crafts a technical wonder.

MI7 is also the most emotional entry in the franchise. It explores Ethan like no other film has done before and utilizes a new character in Grace (played by Hayley Atwell, who I’ll discuss later) to delve into what makes someone join the IMF. There’s also a story choice concerning a major returning character — who I won’t name to avoid spoilers — halfway through the film which legitimately surprised me. I was stunned that the filmmakers had the guts to do it and I couldn’t be happier. The film’s stakes are all the higher for it, not just for the world but, more importantly, for Ethan Hunt as a character.

Tom Cruise Hayley Atwell Mission: Impossible 7

Let’s discuss the new characters, starting with Hayley Atwell’s Grace, a thief whose world is turned upside down when she encounters Ethan Hunt. Atwell exudes magnetic charisma and gives an instantly lovable performance. She’s very much the point of view character for the audience and therefore the centerpiece of the film. Esai Morales plays the villain Gabriel (an admittedly underwhelming name for an antagonist), a returning nemesis from Ethan’s past who now works as a sort of avatar for the Entity, carrying out its bidding. What makes him so threatening — besides Morales’ stone cold glare and frightening screen presence — is that he can predict every move Ethan and his team will make with the Entity’s guidance.

Unfortunately, MI7 has that detested flaw plaguing most modern films: an overlong runtime. This is a 2h 43m film and there’s no reason for it to be. It thankfully never bores, but a solid ten minutes could’ve been shaved off. Specifically, there’s a nightclub standoff in the middle of the film that should’ve been trimmed to the bone. It’s utterly repetitive, with characters spewing lofty yet predictable expository dialogue.

While it doesn’t come close to the sky-scraping heights of Fallout, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is another stellar film from the most consistent action franchise of all time. It’s sheer unadulterated entertainment and adrenaline from start to finish. Bring on part two.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: