Film Analysis: Embrace the Thrill with Tom Cruise in ‘Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part One’

by Ethan Kim
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Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning

Pondering whether to indulge in the latest instalment of the “Mission: Impossible” series? Are you weary of the relentless fanfare surrounding current cinema? Consider this, then: Would you truly want to let down Tom Cruise?

From the moment the cameras started rolling for “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One,” Cruise performed a heart-stopping motorcycle stunt off a genuine 4,000-foot Norwegian precipice, followed by a parachute descent. He performed this daring act for his audience. It only seems fair that you reciprocate by watching his film, doesn’t it?

This film offers an exhilarating, relentless narrative that transports viewers from the icy Bering Sea to the summit of Abu Dhabi International Airport and the labyrinthine streets of Venice.

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Expect a plethora of face masks being torn off, a car pursuit through Rome, a desert gunfight, a bridge sword duel, and an extraordinary, runaway train episode that may outshine anything the franchise has previously offered.

“Things are getting exciting,” one character remarks early in the film, and you’ll enthusiastically concur.

Christopher McQuarrie returns for his third stint as director of the spy saga — he also contributed to Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick” — and he reintroduces love interest/spy Rebecca Ferguson, comic sidekicks Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames, Vanessa Kirby as The White Widow, and Henry Czerny as the unctuous Eugene Kittridge.

The cast is enriched with newcomers such as Esai Morales playing a supremely evil antagonist and Pom Klementieff as his deranged assistant. Hayley Atwell also makes her remarkable debut as a master burglar and potential love interest for Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. (Should this result in too many romantic interests, you’d be correct.)

This time, the adversary is not a person, but a rogue form of conscious AI that has permeated the computer systems of all nations, embodying a cinematic exaggeration of this budding technology (possibly a jab at CGI as well).

The rogue AI has the ability to sabotage every digital device and possesses the “power to bring the world to its knees,” or at least revert it to a pre-internet, analog era. It’s “an enemy that is omnipresent and elusive.” The filmmakers maintain a shroud of mystery around the details, portraying it as an existential danger and assigning it the unassuming moniker, The Entity.

As the “Part One” in the title indicates, “Dead Reckoning” represents another action series adopting the epic multi-part storyline trend — like “Spider-Verse” and “Fast & Furious” earlier this year — revolving around a two-part crucial key that everyone is desperately chasing, akin to “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.”

The key becomes the focus of an intense hunt involving Cruise, our burglar/love interest, a U.S. Special Operations team, Morales’ sinister Gabriel, and arms dealer The White Widow. The key’s possession constantly changes hands as if it were an undesirable Secret Santa office present.

What makes this key so exceptional? The AI seemingly requires it, and its estimated value is a mere $100 million — a bargain, one might argue. “The fate of the world hinges on what this key unlocks,” we are informed. Rhames’ character Luther cautions his friend: “Ethan, you’re engaged in a fourth-dimensional chess game with an algorithm.”

Unlike previous “Mission: Impossible” episodes where Hunt might have seemed slightly mechanical, the filmmakers this time allow a glimpse of his human side. Cruise amusingly exhibits irritation while in the passenger seat during a car chase through Rome, akin to a weary Drivers’ Ed teacher after a long day. He also demonstrates a tender side in Venice, sharing an intimate moment with Ferguson as they hold hands on a gondola.

In the Rome car chase — the second instance this year where the iconic Spanish Steps have been destroyed by a brazen U.S. franchise — Cruise and Atwell provide a delightful spectacle, handcuffed together and navigating a compact, vintage yellow Fiat 500.

“Is there anyone NOT pursuing us?” she inquires.

All factions eventually converge at a grandiose, subtly lit European dance party featuring pounding electronic music and expressive dancers — a setting Hollywood seems particularly fond of, most recently outdone by “John Wick: Chapter 4” in Berlin.

The film, which started production pre-pandemic and boasts a runtime of two and a half hours, climaxes with Cruise’s motorcycle jump, a nail-biting fight atop a steam train, and a derailment forcing the protagonists to scramble up and down railcars while dodging obstacles, adversaries, and, in a clever twist, a plummeting piano.

Can you seriously consider rejecting this mission? Tom Cruise practically soared through the air for your entertainment. It would be discourteous to ignore his efforts.

“Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part One,” a Paramount Pictures exclusive, hits theaters on Friday. Rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of violence and action, some language and suggestive material.” Running time: 156 minutes. It garners three and a half stars out of four.

MPAA Definition of PG-13: Parents are strongly advised. Some content may not be suitable for children under 13.

Online: https://www.missionimpossible.com

Follow Mark Kennedy at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One review

Should I watch “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One”?

Absolutely! The film offers heart-pounding action, impressive stunts, and an engaging plot that takes you on a thrilling journey alongside Tom Cruise and the talented cast.

Who directed “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One”?

The film was directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who returns for his third time as director in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise.

Is this movie part of a larger story arc?

Yes, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One” is the first part of an epic multi-part storyline. It follows the trend of several-part arcs seen in other recent films like “Spider-Verse” and “Fast & Furious.”

What rating is the movie given?

The movie is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some language, and suggestive material. Parents are advised that some content may not be suitable for children under 13.

How long is the film?

The runtime of “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One” is approximately 156 minutes, making it a thrilling cinematic experience.

Is there a standout performance in the movie?

Tom Cruise delivers an impressive performance as Ethan Hunt, showcasing his exceptional dedication and executing daring stunts that will leave you in awe.

Can I expect any memorable action sequences?

Definitely! The film features breathtaking action sequences, including a motorcycle leap, a car chase through Rome, a fight on top of a steam train, and a riveting train derailment scene that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Are there any returning cast members from previous films?

Yes, familiar faces such as Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames reprise their roles, bringing their signature charm and chemistry to the film.

Is there a new villain in this movie?

Yes, Esai Morales portrays a formidable antagonist in “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One.” His character adds a new level of intensity and threat to the story.

Is there a romantic subplot in the film?

Yes, there is a potential romantic interest for Ethan Hunt, played by Hayley Atwell. Her character adds depth and intrigue to the storyline, while also presenting a dynamic relationship with Cruise’s character.

Can I expect stunning international locations in the movie?

Absolutely! The film takes viewers on a globetrotting adventure, showcasing breathtaking settings such as the frozen Bering Sea, Abu Dhabi International Airport, and the enchanting alleyways of Venice.

Will there be a continuation of the story in future films?

Yes, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One” sets the stage for the next installment, promising an ongoing narrative that will further captivate audiences with its thrilling storyline and high-stakes action.

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