Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
"If anything the potential dangers of AI are even more in the news now than when the film was shot, making it feel bang up to date." | Photo: Paramount Pictures

When it comes to maintaining believable action hero status, you'd have to say it's Mission accomplished for Tom Cruise, as he reprises the role of Ethan Hunt for the seventh instalment of the spy franchise. Shot back in 2021, he might not look as fresh-faced as he did when he started out in Brian De Palma's https://www.eyeforfilm.co.uk/review/mission-impossible-film-review-by-gator-macready first instalment but he can still sprint with the best of them and his character has gained a compelling world weariness along the way.

This time out, the mission - which, spoiler alert, he chooses to accept - is to find two halves of a key that does indeed holds the key to stopping a rogue Artificial Intelligence - known as ‘The Entity’ - that has the potential to wreak havoc in global security systems and a lot more besides. If anything the potential dangers of AI are even more in the news now than when the film was shot, making it feel bang up to date. Meanwhile, the addition of needing something as old fashioned as a two-part physical key to stop it feels like an enjoyable nod to the original television series. Whatever the ins and outs of the set-up, it's the action that we're here for and regular Cruise collaborator director Christopher McQuarrie delivers - in fact, arguably, over-delivers - on that score.

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A nifty opening sequence, set upon a Russian stealth submarine, really shows what The Entity can do without too much unnecessary exposition and after that the film starts to get its sprinting shoes on. There’s horse riding in the desert involving Ethan’s old collaborator Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), an enjoyable race against everything from time to the authorities in Abu Dhabi’s soon-to-open Midfield terminal before he finds himself unexpectedly teaming up with an expert pickpocket, Grace (Hayley Atwel) in a bid to get the key.

All of which sees Ethan and Grace heading to Rome along with Isla and fellow cast regulars Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg).

The Italian capital offers another glamorous backdrop for the action, although its here that less would be more. A car chase scene involving Ethan and Grace being handcuffed together may be full of clever stunts but it outstays its welcome. It has its moments but there’s a sneaking suspicion that McQuarrie and his co-writer Erik Jendresen couldn't decide which plan of action to go for so went for all the options end on end insead.

The dialogue also suffers from cliche, although thankfully when you have actresses of the calibre of Vanessa Kirby - who reprises her role as the villainous White Widow - intoning ponderous lines like, “The world is changing, truth is vanishing, war is coming” it helps considerably. The cast, which also includes Esai Morales as The Entity’s human helpmate Gabriel, are also strong enough to deliver the emotional beats when needed.

Other things to look out for are, of course, the heavily touted motorbike jump off a cliff - for which Cruise prepped with 500 skydives (more about that here). Also, whose pulse doesn't quicken at the thought of a fight on and train? What really makes it feel fresh, aside from Cruise's remarkable vitality, is that it isn't scared to be playful, because of that anything that would normally feel cliched, feels more like a sort of nostalgic knowing nod. It's a neat trick.

Reviewed on: 13 Jul 2023
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Ethan Hunt and his IMF team must track down a dangerous weapon before it falls into the wrong hands.
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Read more Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One reviews:

Andrew Robertson ***1/2

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Writer: Bruce Geller, Erik Jendresen, Christopher McQuarrie

Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Vanessa Kirby, Simon Pegg, Shea Whigham, Cary Elwes, Indira Varma, Rob Delaney, Ving Rhames

Year: 2023

Runtime: 163 minutes

Country: US


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