'Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One' review: Stunning action surrounds a routine thriller plot

If the Academy had an Oscar for Best Stunt Ensemble, this year's front runner would be “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning”. I don't know if you've heard of this, but 61-year-old Tom Cruise has dedicated years of his life to planning and exercising courage from climbing the 2,000-foot cliff for “Mission: Impossible 2” (2000) to holding his breath in underwater for an unsettling time in “Rogue Nation” (2015) to jumping over rooftops in London in “Fallout” (2018) to a stunning sequence in “Dead Reckoning” where Cruise as Ethan Hunt rides his motorcycle speeding off a cliff in Norway, go down and BASE jump into a beautiful and scary valley.

They call it “the biggest and most dangerous stunt in the history of cinema” and it probably is. It's such a bold and beautifully executed feat that on one level takes us out of the film, because we know it was TOM CRUISE who did that s—, and what is the plot of this story again?

Ah yes. Film. We must discuss the film.

‘Mission: Impossible – Death Count Part One'

When it came to the plot of the seventh chapter in the franchise that began in 1996, director Christopher McQuarrie (who co-wrote the screenplay with Erik Jendresen) and star producer Cruise weren't too keen on anything original. As has happened in countless action and superhero thrillers, the quest in “Dead Reckoning” is to possess an overpowering device — this time known as an Entity — that will bestow ultimate power on its possessor. In “Dead Reckoning”, there is an Artificial Intelligence wrinkle, with Heroes and Villains and the Go Anywhere Broker all vying for the two halves of the Entity key. (Didn't we just have the “two pieces of the puzzle” quest in “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”? I think we did!)

Speaking of self-awareness, this is probably the wink-pump of the film “M:I”, as the exposition scenes and action sequences are numerous and always impressively balanced by sprinklings of humor, for example, one character. awkwardly pressing and tugging at the other characters' faces to make sure they're not wearing rubber masks (HA), and the car chase through Rome (Didn't we just chase crazy cars through Rome in “Fast X”?), in which Ethan is handcuffed to a world-class thief (Hayley Atwell) and they end up in a cartoonish little banana-yellow Fiat, zigging and zagging and spinning as if they were in a video game. There was even discussion about the madness of the BASE jump action before they got on with it.

While the “M:I” franchise basically gave Cruise the chance to play America's James Bond – and he has put a lot of time into each film – “Dead Reckoning Part 1” again reminds us that Ethan is actually (albeit quite loosely) part of the team: Mission Impossible Squad. Perfectly cast Henry Czerny returns as Ethan's boss Eugene Kitteridge, while Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg return as the loyal Luther and Benji respectively, and Rebecca Ferguson reappears as Ilsa, a former British MI6 undercover agent who still has parts of Ethan. heart. Also returning: White Widow Vanessa Kirby, an arms dealer who can't be trusted (they never could) but always looks stylish and classy along the way.


For all its action, “Dead Reckoning” does an admirable job of juggling its myriad of supporting characters; in addition to the group mentioned above, we get Pom Klementieff as a French assassin named Paris (why not?) who seems addicted to danger, and Esai Morales as the cunning and ruthless Gabriel, who plays an integral role in the notable events of Ethan's past. , and Hayley Atwell as a high-class thief named Grace, who acts like a Hitchcock movie. (The whole ensemble is great.)

Which brings us to one of the coolest things about this film: the set pieces that are reminiscent of various genres in thriller games. The prologue set on a Russian submarine is like something out of “Crimson Tide” or “The Hunt for Red October”. The cat-and-mouse chase sequence that extends inside and eventually on the roof of the Abu Dhabi airport is worthy of Soderbergh's film “Oceans”. The cloak-and-dagger item with the aptly named Grace is reminiscent of a mid-20th century Cold War film. Director McQuarrie and his team are experts at staging these types of sequences.

We're told “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two” will be released in June 2024. I'm going to go out on a limb, Tom Cruise style, and predict that not only will Ethan Hunt defeat the arrogant and seemingly unstoppable Entity, but he will also found himself choosing to accept a new mission at the end of this mission. Tom Cruise has enjoyed one of the longest-running global superstardoms in film history, and he shows no signs of slowing down.