It has been 27 years since Ethan Hunt dropped onto the big screen. After half a dozen adventures with the Impossible Mission Force, we now have Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part One. Action/Adventure, with a dash of Sci-Fi awaits.
From the opening moments of Part One, the story immediately sets the stakes. A submarine appears to have destroyed itself, leaving behind two halves to a vital key. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is then brought into the picture to accept his latest mission, and one that involves what may be his most dangerous adversary yet; an AI known as The Entity.
The assignment involves former ally Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) who may hold one part of the key. Hunt is soon face to face with former IMF director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny), the man who hires him for the job. Things soon become very personal for Hunt when told by Kittridge that “This mission of yours is going to cost you… dearly”.
The action swiftly moves from the offices of the CIA to Abu Dhabi, where things soon get personal. Ethan reunites with Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) as they locate the other part of the key. In true Mission Impossible fashion, the technology helps keep the IMF one step ahead of the CIA and their target. Everything changes when Grace makes her debut, played to perfection by Hayley Atwell. From the moment Grace is on screen, she steals the show.
There is also the introduction of Gabriel (Esai Morales), the primary antagonist. Without delving too much into his past or motivations, this is possibly the biggest challenge Ethan has encountered. Gabriel is smart and confident, believing himself to be guided by something greater than any being.
Tapping into modern day fears of artificial intelligence, Gabriel is lead by The Entity in almost every move and decision. It can manipulate the world and nobody would ever know. For anyone familiar with the Metal Gear Solid franchise, a big plot point revolves around AI and what it could do under certain control. The 2001 video game sequel is worth a play to understand this point further.
Though Tom Cruise is still the main character, the supporting cast really do shine through the whole picture. Hayley Atwell settles into her role well and I cannot wait to see Grace in the sequel. The later addition of Pom Klementieff‘s Paris and the return of Vanessa Kirby‘s “White Widow” don’t waste a second of screen time.
Then there is Esai Morales, whose Gabriel really is unlike any villain we have encountered before. Also, making his first appearance since the first entry in 1996, Henry Czerny’s Kettridge is more than just a cameo and could potentially be vital to Part Two. This film has so many stars and classic moments, that to discuss them all and praise them would be its own article.
Much like the previous entries, Dead Reckoning – Part One has the action chops which you will remember the most. With an epic car chase in Rome, an intense fight in Venice and that bike stunt. Then there is the train sequence which needs to be experienced in the cinema. Along with these set pieces, is the beautiful locations the film goes to. From the Spanish Steps to the Helsetkopen mountain, every locale is perfectly executed on screen.
Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part One continues to ground the franchise, making these moments more powerful. Whenever the film savours a calm moment, you know the next breathless scene is imminent. This definitely matches with the superb acting throughout the extended runtime. At no point will you feel any drag or stalling.
The continued success of the series is no surprise. Tom Cruise knows Mission Impossible like the back of his hand, it is his crowning achievement. His partnership with writer/director Christopher McQuarrie has become one of the most powerful in Hollywood. Whatever the duo get to work on after the sequel, I know it will be spectacular.
Part two will have some big shoes to fill to match up to this masterclass in blockbuster filmmaking. The comedy is at its finest here, and this stems from the writing that is on point throughout. The intensity of each action piece is a highlight. And the conclusion…well, you will need to see it for yourself.
The best Mission Impossible film yet. The best film of 2023 so far. The real impossible mission will be to see how you can top this!