"Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
For over twenty years now, Tom Cruise has come back multiple times to play Ethan Hunt in the iconic, show-stopping "Mission: Impossible" series. They have been fantastic entries in the franchise, especially Christopher McQuarrie's films, and there have been some not-as-good movies that have almost ruined the franchise as a whole. Currently, the series is unstoppable, delivering great spy thrillers one after another, and their latest entry, "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One" is no different. It is a high-octane, three-hour rollercoaster that will make fans sit on the edge of their seats throughout, which is accompanied by a great story and fantastic characters crafted by McQuarrie.
Ethan Hunt has been doing this for a while now. He's getting older, and he is definitely feeling the world change around him. Now him and his team, who are still working with the IMF, are tasked with hunting down the coveted key to a new super weapon known as the Entity, an A.I. controlled machine that can easily wipe out the world if gotten into the wrong hands. When Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), who Ethan has had a past with, gets involved, things get personal as he finds out who exactly is chasing after this key.
That's where Gabriel (Esai Morales) enters in. A figure from Ethan's past, he now wants to control the Entity to become the most powerful man in the world. Now forced to team up with (and save in a way) master thief and pickpocket Grace (Haley Atwell), Ethan, Luther (Ving Rhames), and Benji (Simon Pegg) must face foes old and new to make sure the key, and the power it unlocks, doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
Cruise and McQuarrie have made two Mission: Impossible films together, both the best in the franchise, and the highly praised "Top Gun: Maverick" that came out last year. Therefore, there was obvious excitement for this new entry in the long-running series, and thankfully, it didn't disappoint. This film contains almost everything great that was in the last two, including crazy stunts, beautiful set design and action sequences, and fun characters. McQuarrie was able to craft a story that was fun and exciting, while also raising the stakes. I think this is one of the first Mission: Impossible films in recent years that really set the tone that no one is safe in the film.
Cruise and Atwell give fun and great performances, and have such fun chemistry together on set. They serve most of the screen time together, and it is splendid to watch. Atwell, in my opinion, is a great addition to this movie, and the franchise as she will be in the next installment. At the same time, I was grateful we received more screen-time and interactions between Benji and Luther, as I felt like that was few and far between in previous films.
The only real problem I have with this one is the character development. The past two movies have had stellar development and really focused on their characters, while this movie didn't have too much of that. It seemed like at times, they sacrificed a chance to further their characters for a chase scene or stunt. For example, Ferguson's character was rarely utilized in this film, which is odd concerning they set her up so much in the last two. I also think McQuarrie could have made more of an effort to tell the story of Vanessa Kirby's Alanna more than they actually did in the final product.
I think in a way, the same can be said for the main antagonist of this entry. I did like how they left him more mysterious, but it felt like some of his motives could have been explained more in detail. I'm hoping they'll do that more in the second part to this story, but I think it is fair to say that Morales gave a fantastic performance as the villain. He was perfectly intimidating and serves as a man who simply just wants too much power. I'm excited to see what else he can do in the nest installment that comes out this year.
While the character development may be lacking more than normal, I think Cruise and McQuarrie make up for it in stunts and chases. They are gloriously shot and so much fun, including the car chase scene where Cruise and Atwell are handcuffed and forced to drift around the city of Rome. From there to the huge train chase scene that ends with the track being blown up, all of the stunts and chases throughout this film keep the viewers on the edge of their seats and are so much fun. I would say the chases and stunts here are some of the best in the entire series.
This is just another fantastic addition to the Mission; Impossible series, and now the countdown to the epic part two of this story begins. McQuarrie and Cruise simply know how to make such great action blockbusters, and this is no exception. I had so much fun with this installment, and found myself grinning ear to ear the entire three-hour runtime.