MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - DEAD RECKONING PART ONE
Starring: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Pom Klementieff, Vanessa Kirby, Shea Whigham, Esai Morales, and Henry Czerny
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Every time I rewatch a Mission: Impossible movie, I forget about the well-placed humor that imparts a believable humanity amidst the extravagant stunts. Dead Reckoning Part One has that same humor, but somehow lacks the same humanity. There’s an artificiality that replaces the previous entries’ groundedness with action-movie platitudes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a damn good film. The action is incredible, the cat-and-mouse games are riveting, and every actor is eating, with Hayley Atwell and Pom Klementieff being especially brilliant additions. So, while it might be a lower-level franchise entry, it’s still better than most 21st century action films.
The Mission: Impossible franchise is not secretive about what it provides: action-packed team-ups led by Tom Cruise doing increasingly insane stunts. In that sense, this is one of the best films in the franchise. Beyond that, it's a little perplexing. This entry is light-hearted and almost campy until a big tonal shift finds it settling into the feel of the more recent offerings, and it's jarring to go from jovial to terrifying realism. But, are the set pieces enough to mask that? Between the car chase and the train sequence, I’d say yes. Plus, unlike the recent Fast X, this actually has an ending.
Dead Reckoning Part One is more proof that this is one of the finest ongoing action franchises. It’s not perfect, mind you. It’s a tad too long and feels overstuffed sometimes, and while not everybody gets the attention they require, the entire cast is great, especially Hayley Atwell, a very welcome addition. Yes, Tom Cruise driving a motorcycle off a cliff is wild, but the intense, action-packed, and well-thought-out plot is what kept me engaged throughout. Plus, despite ending on a cliffhanger, it feels complete. This is a mission you should choose to accept.
If nothing else, Dead Reckoning Part One proves just how good the Mission: Impossible franchise has been because it is simultaneously among the year’s best action movies and the third worst entry of the series. On the plus side, the action set pieces are tremendous, there is a surprising amount of humor, and Hayley Atwell (and even Pom Klementieff) makes the case that she should be a bigger star. On the downside, there is A LOT of often confusing exposition, and the villains – both The Entity and its personification in Esai Morales – are, frankly, played out and dull. Still, it’s a great time at the theater.
Although it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Fallout, and it does encounter the issue of not entirely feeling like a complete story, Dead Reckoning Part One nevertheless re-establishes Mission: Impossible as the most reliably good action franchise in movies today, not to mention that Tom Cruise might be our most valuable producer. A prime summer blockbuster with a pulse for excitement, the film takes a somewhat more deliberate approach to building its stakes while still making time for fantastic action sequences and more spy intrigue. Hayley Atwell and Pom Klementieff are welcome additions to the franchise too. Bring on Part Two!
Tom Cruise is back with another adrenaline-fueled Mission: Impossible film, a series that seems to get more and more ballsy with its insane stunts. Dead Reckoning Part One is filled with spectacular set pieces, and for a movie that is almost three hours long, it flies by because of all the entertaining action sequences. However, while the film is nonstop fun, it does suffer a wee bit from “part one” syndrome, setting up groundwork for what is to come next. It also has one of the weakest villains in the whole franchise. Still, I can’t wait to see what Part Two has in store for us!