Review of 'Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One'

mission_impossible_dead_reckoning_part1.jpg The latest blockbusting Mission Impossible film comes to the big screen in loud, trademark fashion. It is painfully obvious that these films have in recent years simply become an excuse for ever more impressive stunts performed by it's star, Tom Cruise (as Ethan Hunt). We are well beyond the original film's labyrinthian plot, slow pace, and insidiously complex plot twists with the focus in later films very much being on the action with only a modicum of plot. Speaking of which…

Sevastopol, a Russian submarine carrying a state of the art computer travelling under the ice experiences false sensor images that eventually results in being sunk by their own torpedo. Ethan is tasked by IMF director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) with the recovery of the key for the computer on the submarine which has been split in two with one part in the possession of Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who he is told has gone rogue. Ethan travels to the dessert where Ilsa is hiding but finds her body on the ground. Later Ethan listens in on a conversation by a group of leaders from various intelligence agencies, including Kittridge, calling itself “The Community” headed by Director Denlinger (Cary Elwes). They are keen to control the computer device they call “The Entity” since they believe it cannot be destroyed. Ethan enlists the help of former team members Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) in the recovery of the key. While tracing one half of the key being transported by a buyer through Abu Dhabi airport it is pick-pocketed by master thief Grace (Hayley Atwell) who manages to escape but only after Ethan spots a view of Gabriel (Esai Morales) who, ominously, has been erased from all surveillance footage. The team track Grace to Rome where Ethan and Grace are pursued around the city…the chase is on, strap in for the ride!

Yes, the plot is quite convoluted and really is just an excuse to set up some spectacular set pieces including running on the roof of the Abu Dhabi airport, a crazy chase through Rome in a tiny Fiat 500 and culminating in a tremendous sequence on board the legendary Orient Express. These are all utterly believable and truly amazing to watch while keeping track of what exactly is going on a bit trickier. All you need to know is: They want the key as it will help them control an evil AI (or some such). So, for the audience, simply follow the key…

It is great to see the old cast return and they are looking a bit long in the tooth with even Cruise sporting a bit more weight in his face. They do manage to keep up the pace though with a freshness and fun to the action that entertains throughout. It is hugely imaginative with the production team seeming to forever be challenged to out-do anything they have done before. The trademark whit is also here resulting in what is an immensely fun film that will appear to many. Be aware though, as it is plainly labelled “part one” that the plot does not get resolved here despite it's almost 3 hour running time.

Great action and a lot of fun with some amazing stunts. Really best seen in the cinema to experience the sheer spectacle and amazing scenery.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-07-16

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Year: 2023

Length: 163 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Christopher McQuarrie: