Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One Review | On Cruise Control

This is a Mission that you should definitely accept. 

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The franchise that is basically a glorified excuse for Tom Cruise to try out as many ridiculous things as possible is back with Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One and it continues to be a crown jewel of cinematic action flicks. This is the 7th film in the series and it still manages to raise the narrative stakes, improve upon what is already near-perfect action filmmaking, and keep the audience glued to the screen at any given moment. Dead Reckoning Part One is yet another thrilling experience that rarely disappoints and often leaves my jaw on the floor and my entire body in tension from what I’m seeing on the big screen. 

Christopher McQuarrie has helmed every Mission: Impossible film since Rogue Nation. He’s the only director to ever come back and it’s looking like there are no plans of replacing him anytime soon and for good reason. McQarrie’s partnership with Tom Cruise has been nothing short of a gift to cinematic action filmmaking with projects like Jack Reacher, Top Gun: Maverick, and now, Dead Reckoning Part One. He handles every scene with incredible precision and attention to detail. 

The story revolves around a rogue AI program that can manipulate anything digital. In a world full of technological innovations, the most dangerous weapon is information and that is precisely what “The Entity” can manipulate. On paper, this sounds like a cheesy B-movie concept but the way McQuarrie writes it made it all feel more believable than it had any right to be. Despite the massive scale of its conflict, Dead Reckoning Part One also delves deeper into the character of Ethan Hunt. The story explores who he is as a person, why is he the way he is, and how these factors affect everything around him. We’ve seen tidbits of this in previous titles but Dead Reckoning Part One feels like a pivotal moment in Ethan’s life given how personal the mission feels. 

Ethan Hunt and his IMF team

Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, and Rebecca Ferguson all make a return with highly energetic and magnetic performances. If 50% of the Mission movies are all about how incredible Tom Cruise is, the other half is how fantastic the other characters are and how well they mix with each other. Vanessa Kirby’s Alanna was a brief yet powerful presence in Fallout making her one of my favorite aspects of that film. She also makes a return in Dead Reckoning Part One and is given so much more screen time and material to play around with. They’re just an enjoyable bunch to watch. Unmatched banter and chemistry between all of them. The consistency and upward trajectory of each of their character arcs continue to be one of the main selling points of the franchise. 

We do have to talk about the latest addition, Hayley Atwell. A phenomenal actress with an equally amazing character with Grace. She’s interesting and full of potential. She manages to command her own presence while sharing the screen with Tom Cruise. What they did with her character hasn’t exactly been done in previous Mission: Impossible films which I loved. Atwell is definitely one to look out for. 

A quick shoutout to Pom Klementieff’s Paris. She would sometimes feel like a character that belongs in another franchise but I mean that in a good way. She’s a welcome and refreshing new addition to the cast and definitely kicks a lot of ass in doing so. You could tell she’s having fun with the roll and it makes her screen presence so much more engaging. 

The new antagonist of Dead Reckoning. Gabriel and Paris.

The only complaint I really have involves the human protagonist of the story. While “The Entity” is threatening and oddly enough, a timely presence given how much AI technology has recently been a divisive concept in real life, Esai Morales’ Gabriel could’ve used a bit more work. Morales does give a great performance, the issue lies in Gabriel’s existence in the story. It felt a little bit underdeveloped and in certain cases, tacked on given how they tried to connect it to Ethan’s past. Granted, this is just the first part of a much grander narrative so I could be wrong once Part Two arrives but as of now, Gabriel falls into one of the weaker villains in the franchise. 

Rounding everything up are the action sequences, which are nothing short of outstanding. Each one is shot with incredible clarity. The choreography, blocking, and execution of each moment feel authentic, visceral, and awe-inspiring. What added more to my enjoyment is how I felt like there are some moments here that are inspired by some of the most prominent video games. The Uncharted franchise is an obvious shout when it comes to the train sequence. Tom Cruise is a man that is dedicated to making sure that the audience enjoys their time in the theaters and it definitely shows. 

This is all further elevated by a grand score that sustains and slowly builds up the energy, tension, and stakes of every scene. The Mission: Impossible theme has got to be one of the greatest compositions ever made and the version made for Dead Reckoning Part One really had me feeling pumped up for whatever was on screen. Seriously, this film is a masterclass in visual and audio mixing. 

Tom Cruise is fiercely dedicated to his stunt work.

Dead Reckoning Part One does have a few callbacks to the 1996 original with the return of Henry Czerny’s Kittridge and Director Brian De Palma’s Dutch angles. McQuarrie did a great job bringing back these elements and having them feel right at home in the modern era. I’m sure longtime fans will enjoy what they did here. 

While “Part One” might make you roll your eyes given how hit or miss these types of films have been and how they feel more like a gimmick to squeeze the story dry for extra profits, Dead Reckoning does not feel incomplete at all. It manages to tell a complete story that ends on a satisfying note while also having you dangerously craving for what’s next.

Fallout still feels like the better film compared to this given how the narrative elements felt a bit more tight, Dead Reckoning Part One is definitely an outstanding start for what is hopefully one of the best spy stories ever presented in the cinemas. 

Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One is what happens when both the cast and crew are giving the performances of their careers to make something special for the audience. Watch this on the biggest screen you can find and you’ll be able to enjoy what quality action cinema is. This is a Mission that you should definitely accept.