Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One – movie review

The high-octane ride that is Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is again directed by Christopher McQuarrie. He wrote the screenplay with Erik Jendresen. It is the seventh movie in the franchise and is the longest yet at 2 hours 43 minutes. Spectacular stunts, car chases, a runaway train heading for destruction, humour and heart are all in the mix. I wouldn’t call Dead Reckoning the best of this genre, but the focus on tension works.

The big build-up involved Tom Cruise plunging off a massive cliff on a motorbike. While that was impressive because he actually did it (eight times, I believe), a late scene involving a train was significantly more suspenseful.

The plot concerns a seemingly omniscient entity that has the potential to control the world.  Let’s face it, artificial intelligence is everywhere, but this entity is a cut above anything mankind has seen before. And it’s constantly morphing. Accessing this power requires two keys, which are no single person has. Not surprisingly, evil forces and the US government are after the same thing.

Tasked with saving the world is the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) – Ethan Hunt (Cruise), computer whiz Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and technical field agent Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg). On their side is former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who allied with Hunt’s team in Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) and Fallout (2018). Calling the shots is the former director of the IMF now CIA director, Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny), last seen in Mission: Impossible (1996).

Conspiring against success is Hunt’s past, which includes a long-time adversary who has brought the former great emotional pain. Gabriel (Esai Morales) is a powerful terrorist, who works with French assassin Paris (Pom Klementieff).  She get her jollies from destroying anything that stands in her way. Another impediment is a black-market arms dealer known as White Window, Alanna Mitsopolis (Vanessa Kirby), who we met in Fallout. And a mainstay throughout the film is Grace (Hayley Atwell), who is loyal to no-one but herself. She is chasing untold riches.

Cruise, Pegg and Rhames are a safe pair of hands. Unlike the Fast and Furious franchise, this trio hasn’t yet worn out its welcome. Talking of welcome, I appreciated the continuing role that Rebecca Ferguson played. But the female lead is undoubtedly Atwell, whose shadowy character – complete with a sleight of hand and vulnerability – is an important element in the plot.

I wasn’t sold on the entity story line. Let’s just say it requires a leap of faith, but really that is just an excuse to witness dare-devil heroics. I also wasn’t convinced it needed all but three hours to tell just part 1 of this tale. Still, the slick production values that we have come to expect from Mission: Impossible are very much at play here.

Alex First

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