Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)

It’s exciting that after seven films, “Mission Impossible” still gives audiences the good old fashioned action movies that were prominent in movie theaters. Christopher McQuarrie’s treatment of the “Mission: Impossible” has never been over stylish which amplifies the old fashioned feeling of his take on Tom Cruise’s epic movie series, and I love it. There are spies, and mysteries, and chases through streets, car chases, femme fatales, a classic macguffin, and even a massive fight staged on, in, and on top of a moving train across Europe. It’s vintage adventure movie serial cinema amplified with a huge budget and some wonderful performances all around.

Ethan Hunt and the IMF team must track down a terrifying new weapon known as “The Entity” that threatens all of humanity if it falls into the wrong hands. With control of the future and the fate of the world at stake, a deadly race around the globe begins. Confronted by a mysterious, all-powerful enemy, Ethan is forced to consider that nothing can matter more than the mission — not even the lives of those he cares about most.

“Dead Reckoning Part One” is the first part in the closing saga of IMF and Ethan Hunt (allegedly) and the studios pull out all the stops in laying claim to some massive stakes this time around. The Ethan Hunt we know and love is back but this time a bit older and bit wearier. He’s still the superhuman we remember him as, but he’s so much more conscious of his hazards, as well as the past that he’s left behind. This past re-introduces itself in the form of Gabriel, presumably an ex-IMF who intends to use “The Entity” AI weapon as a means of altering the world as we know it. You wouldn’t think there could be many people that could hold their own against the absolutely dynamite Tom Cruise, but Esai Morales as the villain Gabriel is more than up to the task.

As Gabriel, Morales is menacing, creepy, cold, and manages to strike a nerve with Hunt that we’ve yet to really explore. This is the first villain that really rattles Hunt in a long time, and Gabriel uses that advantage throughout “Dead Reckoning.” There is a pretty fantastic cast that accompanies both stars including Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Vanessa Kirby, and Cary Elwes, respectively. There are also classic IMF agents Luther and Benji who return once again to aide Hunt in his retrieval of “The Entity.” Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg are always reliable supporting players, and they’re as stellar as ever. With this installment, the action is as important as the story as McQuarrie’s staging of big action sequences help to move the narrative and punctuate big turn of events.

There’s a great battle in an enclosed alleyway, a pretty excellent stunt involving a motorcycle and a cliff, as well as a great chase scene involving a yellow buggy. “Dead Reckoning Part One” is just such a great adventure film packed with a fascinating mystery, some great peeks in to Ethan Hunt’s past, and just one knock out action scene after another. The “Mission: Impossible” series has remained one of the most consistently entertaining event movie series of all time, and I’m anxious to see how it all ends for Ethan Hunt.

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