Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1
by Hope Madden
How do Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise outdo Mission Impossible: Fallout? Because even the most impressive of the previous MI films couldn’t hold a candle to that one. I mean, the public restroom fisticuffs alone!
Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part I has big shoes to fill and bridges to blow up and buildings to scale and masks to wear and trains to stop and whatnot. Does it succeed?
Of course, it does.
Ethan Hunt (Cruise) accepts a mission from his sketchy government contact (Henry Czerny). But Ethan and his team will do what they do best: go rogue. Because this key is too powerful for any one man, any one nation.
We know Ethan will do the right thing because he’s a beautiful soul. Come on, have you not been paying attention? But this villain – sentient AI “the Entity” – constantly calculates odds and probabilities. It knows Ethan’s weakness and will use it against him.
It’s a clever script by Bruce Geller, Erik Jendresen and McQuarrie. By weaponizing AI and falling back on the old rubber mask disguises, MI: DR1 mines contemporary anxiety with old school solutions.
But McQuarrie et al know what’s made the best of these films stand out. It’s not the plot – although there’s nothing at all wrong with this plot. It’s not really the villains (that’s Bond’s territory). The MI franchise lives and dies on two things: Ethan Hunt’s humanity and Tom Cruise’s willingness to risk his own life for thrilling stunts.
Expect both – aplenty! – in Episode 7.
Incredibly fun and impressive car chases follow some nifty rooftop running before turning to a magnificent series of train-related set pieces. Plus, of course, that motorcycle/mountain thing they tease in the trailer. Lunacy!
The core team – Cruise plus Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Rebecca Ferguson – continue to share entertaining camaraderie. Franchise newcomers Esai Morales, Hayley Atwell and Pom Klementeiff bring varying degrees and styles of badassedness. But, let’s be honest, all eyes are on Cruise.
He sells it. There is something old timey about a runaway train, and yet, in Cruise and McQuarrie’s hands, it’s never looked more fun or more thrilling. It’s a long film – just a hair under 3 hours – and it tells only half the story. Part 2 is due out in 2024. Still, Cruise and company manage to exceed expectations yet again.