Impossible Not To Enjoy This! A Review of ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’

Starting with Ghost Protocol, the indelible quality of the last three Mission Impossible movies have proven to be upper echelon in action and adventure. From non CGI, jaw dropping stunts to gorgeous cinematography, to cutting edge tech with playful banter, it’s what James Bond secretly wishes it could have evolved into post Pierce Brosnan. 

The build up for this entry in the Mission Impossible franchise has been much hyped since Top Gun: Maverick single handedly saved the theater going experience. Tom Cruise, as eccentric as he may be has toiled endlessly to give people reasons to see his films on the big screen. 

This is not to overlook Christopher McQuarrie who has long cut his teeth as a first rate writer / director. With huge credits under his belt such as previous MI films, The Edge of Tomorrow, Top Gun: Maverick, and The Usual Suspects, the man was born to write spy films.

At now 60 plus years old, the believability of Cruise as an action star should have dwindled long ago, yet the refusal to let anyone else do his insane stunts and chase sequences give him more than enough clout to pull it off. 

With the dynamic duo back at the helm, this film was an obvious hit but would it be good? Hell yeah it is. Let’s get to it. SPOILER TIME.

Part riveting mind game spy thriller, part action spectacular, Dead Reckoning is a full movie and then some, despite the “part one” label in the title. The opening scenes set up both films with the man’s calamitous dalliance with an all too sophisticated AI program in command of a Russian sub. 

The program sinks the vessel it’s living on and dwells at the bottom of the sea as the two halves of a key to unlock it float to the surface. The AI is far from dead though, having uploaded itself across the world and maniacally manipulating all global information, markets, and spy craft with no master to control it. 

From there, the film is full throttle until the end credits. There’s no pee breaks in this one, as the hunt by all governments and spies for both halves of the keys are always one step behind our hero Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his Impossible Mission Force team. 

The entire plot of this film is one chase scene after another in search of the two halves of the AI master key. That’s it. Everything else is cryptic and hidden as in the spy world. There are fresh bad guys and enemies but we’re given little aside from small flashbacks and their first names (Gabriel and Paris). 

The rest unfolds in plot and mission, leaving us to hope that pieces are filled in via Part Two. Dead Reckoning Part One does a perfect job of setting up a must see sequel, without feeling like half of a whole. If we never got back story on the main bad guy and the film ended at finding the keys, it’s still a complete film leaving one satisfied. 

As expected, there are huge set pieces in exotic locales that put us right into the driver’s seat when it’s go time. Whether a desert shootout, spectacular car chase through Rome, guessing game in the Abu Dhabi airport, fights across scenic Venice, and doing everything on the Orient Express imaginable, this film dissects the art of big budget, summer action with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel.

The supporting cast delivers as they have in the other installments without pushing hard. Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg bring much needed levity and support to their roles which are often hard to broadcast from computer laden vans and mobile desks. Their continued interactions with Cruise are the baseline for the humanism of the entire film and vacillate between warm friendship, gallows humor, and the grim reality of the mission.

New cast members Haley Atwell and Esai Morales blend well with the narrative without overshadowing the established talent and the near mute Pom Klementieff steals every scene where she’s in her giant SUV.

Tom cruise is the stoic leading man we all know in these films and while there’s not much for him to emote and earn awards for, his stuntwork and skills with a parachute alone are enough to overlook any moments where his character isn’t allowed to blink. 

This is one of the few present day films that demands a large screen and good sound system to accentuate the experience. Cruise and McQuarrie yet again show why they are a force in action filmmaking. Go see this in theaters while you can and plan your restroom breaks accordingly.