Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1 - Movie Review

The Movie: Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1

The Director: Christopher McQuarrie

The Cast: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Esai Morales, Pom Klementieff, Mariela Garriga, Henry Czerny, Shea Whigham, Greg Tarzan Davis, Charles Parnell, Frederick Schmidt, Cary Elwes, Mark Gatiss, Indira Varma, Rob Delaney

The Story: Ethan Hunt and his IMF team embark on their most dangerous mission yet: To track down a terrifying new weapon that threatens all of humanity before it falls into the wrong hands.

The Review:
One of the things Tom Cruise has been known for over the course of his career is the iconic imagery of him running at full speed either in pursuit of a target or fleeing some sort of danger. If you enjoy these moments then this is the movie for you. I lost count of how many times his character, Ethan Hunt, was running down a hallway, on top of a building, on top of a train, or across a bridge and every time it was right smack in the middle of some of the best action type scenes you will find.

Yes, the IMF team is back and global destruction is imminent. Death defying stunts, literally are the hallmark of this franchise and this latest installment is of course no exception. Aside from all the running Cruise does, he fights lots enough bad guys to make John Wick look twice and I use that reference as there was more than a couple times where I was like, hey that location and fight scene looks familiar. Not trying to say one was copying the other but it was interesting to see some of the similarities.

Sure, there are a lot of similarities to other action films, that's bound to happen from time to time so I'm not going to knock this film too much for that. I mean, Tom still manages to elevate everything he does, especially with his insistence on doing all of his own stunts and making everything with as little CGI as possible, if any at all. One sequence that I thought was really fun and maybe a bit more unique was a chase sequence involving Cruise's Hunt and Hayley Atwell's character Grace having to navigate the streets and alleyways of Rome in various vehicles including a tiny little Fiat 500 which added an element of comedy to all the excitement.

Returning to the cast as usual are Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Vanessa Kirby, and Rebecca Ferguson among others with Esai Morales, Hayley Atwell, and Pom Klementieff all being very welcome additions to the party. In fact, Klementieff is so good in her role as Paris, an extremely badass killing machine, I really hope there is some way to see more of her in the future. While I don't want to beat the John Wick comparison into the ground, Pom makes her character just as entertaining and just as relevant as Rina Sawayama does with Akira, her equally badass killing machine character. Now I'm like, what if they fought each other!

Something I thought about while watching this movie is how director Christopher McQuarrie, Cruise, and everyone else who has had anything to do with these movies, is able to maintain a sense of reality that is very specific to the franchise. I think there is great care in having the characters, Ethan hunt especially, be able to pull off incredible feats while maintaining a sense of believability that may not fly in the every day world we live in, but everything we see on screen is very possible within a world full of impossible missions.

The Verdict:
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1 raises the bar, increases the stakes, and somehow takes the franchise to new heights. I just hope that the upcoming Part 2 can maintain this high level of blockbuster style entertainment. I guess if anyone can do it, it's the Impossible Mission Force.

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