Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One Review: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ : Tom Cruise has been instrumental in shaping Mission: Impossible into a monumental action film series over the past forty years. The franchise continually innovates the modern blockbuster concept and introduces fresh, heart-stopping ways to place Cruise in danger for the viewer’s entertainment. The series found a steady hand in director Christopher McQuarrie, who took over the helm since 2015’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation. Regardless of most of the films featuring Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt as a rogue operative, the series continues to thrill, with Cruise’s dedication to daring stunts offering a more realistic, and thus more dangerous, experience than typical action films.
The series’ seventh offering, Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, arrives five years post-Mission: Impossible — Fallout. Fallout was both the culmination and the zenith of the series. As such, Dead Reckoning Part One has a significant benchmark to match, given Mission: Impossible’s consistent record in setting high standards in the action film genre. Dead Reckoning Part One does deliver, but compared to the acme that was Fallout and other notable action films, it may seem slightly disappointing.
Dead Reckoning Part One: The Prelude to the End and the Start of a New Era
Dead Reckoning Part One ushers in the farewell to Tom Cruise’s protagonist role while introducing potential successors. This makes the film an ideal entry point for newcomers. The plot revolves around Ethan Hunt and the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) chasing a sentient AI named The Entity, which can give its possessor global control. This unseen enemy takes Hunt into uncharted territory, pitting him against Gabriel (Esai Morales), a character from his past that shaped his persona. Hunt’s mission involves securing two keys that could potentially thwart The Entity.
As Hunt navigates through the storyline, he reunites with Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg), crosses paths with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), and encounters Grace (Hayley Atwell), a thief entangled in Hunt’s mission. The film also marks the return of Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny), unseen since the first Mission: Impossible, and the introduction of Paris (Pom Klementieff), Jasper (Shea Whigham), and Degas (Greg Tarzan Davis), all on Ethan’s trail for various reasons.
One early deviation in this installment is the heavy use of explanation and convolution. Scenes may come off as laden with exposition, with complex plotlines involving misdirection, double and triple-crosses, and an intricate search for the keys.
The Heart of Mission: Impossible Lies in Its Action Sequences
Despite the heavy-handed storyline, the action sequences continue to be the shining star of Mission: Impossible. The Venice chase sequence featuring Ethan and Grace in a miniaturized car raises the stakes and injects humor, while the extensive CGI in the train set piece is artfully directed by McQuarrie. The film also presents intense scenes outside the action set pieces, like the tension-filled airport scene and the intriguing happenings within the train.
The script, by McQuarrie and Erik Jendersen, skillfully intertwines new and familiar characters, adding hints of a promising future for the franchise. Pom Klementieff shines as a delightfully ruthless character, and Shea Whigham provides humorous moments.
The Spotlight Shines Brighter on the Women of Mission: Impossible
However, it’s Hayley Atwell’s character, Grace, who steals the limelight. Her performance suggests she may be the franchise’s future. Along with Rebecca Ferguson and Vanessa Kirby, the female characters stand out as more compelling than Ethan Hunt. However, Gabriel, played by Esai Morales, falls short of the impressive villains this franchise is known for.
The Verdict – Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One Review
Although Dead Reckoning Part One may not match the high bar set by Fallout, it is an entertaining watch and a strong contender among the summer’s best action films. The excessive exposition, extended scenes, and superfluous characters suggest franchise fatigue, but the adrenaline-pumping action sequences demonstrate that the series has more to offer. Dead Reckoning Part One signals the need for a revamp to maintain the franchise’s thrill factor.