Friday, July 14, 2023

Review: "MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - Dead Reckoning Part One" Embraces the Impossible

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 32 of 2023 (No. 1921) by Leroy Douresseaux

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)
Running time: 163 minutes (2 hours, 43 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 intense sequences of violence and action, some language and suggestive material
DIRECTOR:  Christopher McQuarrie
WRITERS:  Christopher McQuarrie and Erik Jendresen (based upon the television series created by Bruce Geller)
PRODUCERS: Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Fraser Taggart (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Eddie Hamilton
COMPOSER: Loren Balfe


Starring: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Esai Morales, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, Greg Tarzan Davis, Frederick Schmidt, Maria Garriga, Cary Elwes, and Henry Czerny

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is a 2023 action-thriller and espionage film directed by Christopher McQuarrie and starring Tom Cruise.  It is the seventh film in the Mission: Impossible film series, which is based on the American television series, “Mission: Impossible” (CBS, 1966-73), that was created by Bruce Geller.  In Dead Reckoning Part One, Ethan Hunt and his IMF team race to obtain half of a key that is connected to something that could be a doomsday device.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One opens in the Bering Sea.  Beneath the surface, an advanced Russian submarine, the “Sevastopol,” prepares to test a new AI (artificial intelligence) system.  But disaster strikes.

Later, Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny), the director of the IMF (Impossible Mission Force), offers IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) a new mission.  Should he accept, Hunt must retrieve half of a mysterious cruciform key.  It is currently in the possession of his ally, the former British agent, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who also has had a 50-million-dollar bounty placed on her.

Next, Hunt and his team – Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickwell (Ving Rhames) – must trace the current holder of the second half of that cruciform key to a buyer.  However, the mission is complicated by the intercession of new players:  Grace (Hayley Atwell), a professional thief; Alanna Mitsopolis (Vanessa Kirby), a black-market arms dealers also known as the “White Widow;” and Paris (Pom Klementieff), a French assassin.  The most shocking new player is Paris' boss, Gabriel (Esai Morales), a powerful terrorist with an intimate connection to Ethan Hunt's past.  Ethan and his IMF team clash with these new people in a struggle for a key that is connected to something that could rule the world or destroy it, The Entity

I divide the six Mission: Impossible movies into two trilogies.  Mission: Impossible (1996), Mission: Impossible 2 (2000), and Mission: Impossible III (2006) make up the first trilogy.  Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011),  Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), and Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) form the second trilogy.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is something new.  It was originally meant to be the first part of a two-part send off for Ethan Hunt, but that has apparently changed.  Still, Dead Reckoning Part One feels like the beginning of the end.  It's as if Ethan is facing his ultimate test, a mission in which most of the potential resolutions can make things worse for the U.S. and the rest of the world.  Honestly, this feels like a mission in which Ethan should not survive.

That aside, should you choose to accept this mission, dear readers, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is a non-stop thrill machine full of heart-pounding races, car chases, standoffs, and Tom Cruise running more than he ever has.  I balked at the runtime of two hours and forty-three minutes, but the film doesn't feel that long.  It's always moving and grooving to a electrifying pace.  The plot is a bit thin, and even that thinness manages to be a bit convoluted, but Dead Reckoning Part One moves too much to allow you to think about any inconsistencies.  Why think about plot when the action and thrills are so mesmerizing and exhilarating?  I had seen several video clips of Ethan Hunt's motorcycle cliff dive, which is the super-big stunt in Dead Reckoning Part One, but seeing the entire thing on the big, silver screen still made me nervous.  That's the peak power of the extravagant action movie treats that this film offers.

Dead Reckoning Part One has beautiful cinematography and a hypnotic, pounding film score, and killer production values.  Everyone is dressed so nicely, and all the sets put the art in art direction.  The cast is amazing, and I couldn't get enough of Pom Klementieff's Paris.  But the stars here are true movie star, Tom Cruise, and director Christopher McQuarrie.  They wanted to give people a reason to come back to movie theaters, and they have.  Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is the kind of high-quality and breath-taking entertainment that demands to be seen in a darkened movie theater with a bunch of other people as equally thrilled as you or I are.

8 of 10
★★★★ out of 4 stars

Friday, July 15, 2023

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