"Ethan, you're playing four dimensional chess with an algorithm."
After almost three decades on the silver screen, the "Mission: Impossible" franchise has seen its fair share of wacky storylines and far-fetched stunts. Lead star Tom Cruise as protagonist Ethan Hunt has delighted audiences with harebrained schemes, battling supervillains to ultimate victory. Hunt has lost a lot in the process, including many women he has loved throughout the years. With his ragtag team of super spy experts, Hunt is ready to confront the demons of his past while struggling to overcome futuristic artificial intelligence in "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One."
Teaming up with frequent collaborator Christopher McQuarrie, Tom Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt, an agent for the Impossible Missions Force and the frontman of an operatives team that consists of Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). In this seventh installment of the long-running franchise, AI is at the center of the action as Hunt and team race against the clock to locate a weapon that threatens the lives of everyone on Earth. As Hunt's past catches up with him, he is met with several foes (Esai Morales and Pom Klementieff) and possibly a new ally in Grace (Hayley Atwell).
A timely plot surrounding artificial intelligence and the lengths some people will go to exploit it, the film is a marvel of technology and stunt coordination that defies gravity. Though the movie clocks in at over 2 hours and 40 minutes, it is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride from the first moments to the last. Keep in mind that this newest entry to the "Mission: Impossible" franchise is the first part of what will end up being an ongoing fight for Hunt's relevance.
The adage "trust no one" is at the forefront of "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One," especially with some new characters introduced in this epic. Hayley Atwell is a worthy addition to Ethan Hunt's world, embarking on cheeky behavior that keeps you guessing whether Grace has good intentions or a dastardly plan of her own. Returning champion Vanessa Kirby gives arms dealers an entertaining spotlight here, delivering on all cylinders in a role that sees her using all her acting chops. Esai Morales is one of the franchise's best villains to date, moving through scenes like a ghost of Hunt's past. Conflict is invoked when these characters collide, making room for some of the movie's best sequences.
But, the star of the show is Tom Cruise, despite what many think about the actor's personality offscreen. His take on Ethan Hunt is masterful, wielding a type of movie star bravado that sees the 61-year-old action star reward his devoted fans with spectacular stunts that are truly awe-inspiring. McQuarrie and Cruise are a match made in heaven regarding filmmaking style, culminating with a train sequence during the film's third act that will marvel audiences for years to come. Cruise's chemistry with Atwell is off the charts as the pair seem to enjoy hefty banter mixed with a seemingly endless initiative to outmaneuver every action scene as if Atwell had been part of the gang all along.
What makes "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One" compelling is its stranglehold over beautifully shot action scenes complimenting an otherwise convoluted premise surrounding artificial intelligence. Cruise is too intelligent of an actor to let the premise become the focal point, as he dazzles viewers with complicated character arcs throughout the film. It can't be understated how much fun every performer appears to have with the script by McQuarrie and Erik Jendresen, injecting comedy into a fascinating plot where artificial intelligence becomes another character in this intriguing movie. Not only is this newest installment one of the best the franchise has given us, it will indeed be considered one of the best action films of the past few years.
It is a step in the right direction for a franchise that shows absolutely no signs of going stale anytime soon. I, for one, cannot wait for Part Two.
Ticket Rating: 🎟🎟🎟🎟1/2