All Ages of Geek Mission Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 Review

Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 is the seventh installment in the long-running spy franchise that has grown exponentially bigger and better with each entry. Tom Cruise continues to be a force of nature as his character Ethan Hunt continues to go on these dangerous missions that require him to pull off some death-defying stunts. What every film in the Mission: Impossible series has done is make the action a part of the character’s journey. It’s one of those rare franchises that always build on each action set piece that pushes the audience’s imagination and makes a big impression with the fights and action sequences that is typical old-school Hollywood at its finest. Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 continues that trend to put the audience on a heart-racing thrill ride from beginning to end.

The latest film has Ethan Hunt and his IMF team on perhaps their most dangerous mission yet as a rogue AI known as “The Entity” starts to create havoc around the world setting off a chain of events pushing countries around the world into the brink of a possible war. Ethan and his team of ragtag spies, including computer technician Luther Stickwell (Ving Rhames), technical agent Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), and former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) try to stop this AI while being on the run from the government. Joined by a common thief named Grace (Hayley Atwell), a deadly race begins for the team as well as other interested parties who want their hands on this powerful new weapon that can be both good and bad based on whose hands it falls under. Ethan will also have to come face-to-face with his past in the form of Gabriel (Esai Morales), an adversary who wants nothing more than to control this AI and bring the world to its knees. With humanity on the line, Ethan will have to complete his mission no matter what the cost, including those around him.

The action set pieces in the new Mission: Impossible are intense and breathtaking to watch. These extended sequences showcase just how well director Christopher McQuarrie is at creating tension for Ethan Hunt and his team as they pull off an impossible feat against all odds. What is great is that films like these rely so much on practical effects, giving some realism to these action scenes. There are a couple of sequences that display just how serious and sometimes humorous these dangerous situations can be when these characters are put in a tight spot. The stunt that Cruise pulls off where he drives a motorcycle off a cliff is a beautiful yet tightened scene where we see him parachuting through the Alps not knowing if he’ll make it. We have that quick exchange between Ethan and Benji regarding this trip that just brings laughter thanks to the chemistry with Cruise and Pegg.

Just when things start to look good, many other moments just top one another as the stunts keep getting even more dangerous. Just when audiences think they’ve seen it all, there are a lot more sequences that will surely blow them away. An example would be during the second half in a scene involving a runaway train that is going non-stop with no way to stop it. Both Ethan and Grace have to race against time to bring the train to a halt. However, that’s not the only thing they have to worry about. They also have to climb from one train car to the next, but one mistake can cost them their lives. This stunt was bravely executed by the actors performing it and perhaps one of the best ones that the franchise has ever pulled off.

Cruise is still an unstoppable force in Dead Reckoning as he continues the path that Hunt has laid upon himself since the beginning of the series. We get to see some of that emotional weight that Hunt carries for his team, which Cruise portrays well on screen. Hunt sees his team like family, which becomes his strength but also a weakness that can be exploited by his enemies. His chemistry with each cast member works well as we see different layers of Hunt’s personality being revealed, offering a much deeper glimpse into Hunt as a character. Even with the women he connects with, it’s not a romantic gesture but more of a savior complex as Hunt wants to make sure he doesn’t lose anyone else close to him. We haven’t seen much about his background since the first film, but Dead Reckoning does open the window to see some parts of his life before being an IMF agent, especially with his connection to Gabriel.

The women of the new Mission: Impossible film have also put a lot of work into being in front of the action. Ferguson still brings in enough of the fire into her role as Ilsa like the last two films in the series that she was in. She carries a lot of emotional weight in some of the screen time she was given, sharing some great scenes with Cruise. Even Atwell puts the charisma and quirky attitude into her character of Grace, who is new to the franchise but she pulls it off well. She holds her own and manages to match her scenes with Cruise fabulously. Another newbie in the franchise is Pom Klemenitief as an assassin and Gabriel’s henchwoman Paris, who is the exact opposite of her Marvel character Mantis where she plays a vile and vicious killer and proves that there is more to the actress than her cheerful role in the MCU. Vanessa Kirby returns as Alanna AKA The White Widow, the elusive arms dealer and she also crafts some suave into her character while showing some vulnerability whenever she gets backed into a corner.

A lot is going on with the plot of Dead Reckoning, which can sometimes be its weakest point. Its subject matter dealing with AI is very timely as it’s affecting the real world with these programs popping up that are heading in that direction. Much like previous films, it relies heavily on the action and puts the plot in the backseat. There is much exposition here when the explanation of the AI is in question so it can leave audiences a little confused as to who the players are and how they are being affected by “The Entity”. Even Morales’ antagonist character is somewhat half-baked as we are only given so little information on his ties to Hunt, but that may be possibly saved for the second part of this story. For those who have been with the franchise since the beginning, it does tie back to the first film with the return of certain characters like Henry Czerny as IMF director Eugene Kittridge, who shares a scene with Cruise that is very reminiscent of their first interaction in the first Mission: Impossible.

Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 is guaranteed to pull audiences to the theater to give a great summer blockbuster experience. It delivers on the action like many of the Mission: Impossible films over the past two decades. Despite it being a two-part film, Dead Reckoning feels like a complete story leaving audiences wanting more of what’s to come. The set pieces are grand in scale and the characters bring in enough weight to carry the film along in this wild ride. It’s warranted that Dead Reckoning is up there as one of the finest installments in the franchise so far, which leaves a lot of high expectations for the next film. For fans of old-school action movies, this one deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible.

Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 will release in theaters everywhere on July 12th, 2023.

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