Action Adventure

Review: ‘Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One’ is an Exhilarating Thrill Ride that Takes the Iconic Action Franchise to the Next Level

July 5, 2023Ben MK

Whether he's performing a high-altitude jump from the back of a plane, scaling the world's tallest building, or rock climbing in the Grand Canyon, Tom Cruise can always be counted on to deliver some of the most spectacular stunts ever committed to film. And over the course of a half a dozen Mission: Impossible movies, the now-61-year-old actor has done precisely that. As Ethan Hunt, Cruise and his Impossible Mission Force team have faced off with black market arms dealers and international terrorist syndicates. But in the franchise's seventh installment, Dead Reckoning Part One, Ethan is going up against his most formidable foe yet — a sentient artificial intelligence out to destroy the world.

Arriving five years after Mission: Impossible - Fallout, the story finds the world's governments and top intelligence agencies under siege by an evolved form of artificial intelligence known only as the Entity. Capable of infiltrating and compromising any digital system, the Entity doesn't serve any human master, but acts completely independently and on its own volition. And if there's any hope of stopping the Entity, it appears to lie with piecing together the two halves of the Cruciform Key, a mysterious and potentially all-powerful artifact that could allow the holder to control the Entity and, for all intents and purposes, turn it into the planet's most powerful weapon. It's a tempting possibility that has the globe's superpowers vying to be the first to locate and obtain the Cruciform Key, thereby making them the most dominant nation on Earth. However, for the United States government, there's only one man who could actually pull off this seemingly impossible task — and his name is Ethan Hunt.

Tasked with retrieving the Cruciform Key by the IMF's former director, Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny), Ethan must first travel to the Arabian desert, where former MI-6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) has been hiding out since stealing one half of the key in Istanbul. However, even after reuniting with her and acquiring half the key, Ethan and his friends, Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Strickell (Ving Rhames), still have a long way to go before they can consider their mission completed. Traveling to Rome and Venice, they'll also have to keep up with a cunning and highly skilled pickpocket named Grace (Hayley Atwell), who's also after the key. And with a team of hostile US agents led by Jasper Briggs (Shea Whigham) chasing them to every new city they land at, Ethan and company will have to employ all the tactics they have in their arsenal, especially when it comes to dealing with the Entity's human henchman, Gabriel (Esai Morales), who also happens to be a figure from Ethan's past.

Factor in the presence of Fallout's White Widow (Vanessa Kirby), whose role in the the machinations of Dead Reckoning Part One will lead to Ethan being faced with an impossible choice, and director Christopher McQuarrie's third go at the Mission: Impossible franchise is bound to thrill audiences, as the iconic action film series approaches the three-decade mark with no signs of slowing down. From Cruise's trademark stunts, which sees him riding a motorcycle at full speed off the edge of a perilously high cliff, to the movie's adrenaline-fueled climax, which features a runaway train and a bridge rigged to explode, there's no shortage of jaw-dropping set pieces to keep longtime M:I fans glued to the edge of their seats. At the same time, though, the result also deserves accolades for its timely foresight that takes the espionage genre to the next level, particularly in relation to the sudden rise of real-world A.I., and the way the film uses a rogue A.I. as its central antagonist.

Suffice to say, moviegoers are in for yet another incredible ride, as Cruise once again proves why he's the industry's greatest showman, delivering another crowd-pleasing franchise high point, with stunts that continue to raise the bar and put other action movies to shame. And while only time will tell if Dead Reckoning Part Two can successfully follow up this installment and give the series the ending it deserves, one thing's for certain — Dead Reckoning Part One deserves to be seen on the absolute biggest screen possible.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One releases July 12th, 2023 from Paramount Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some language and suggestive material. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 43 min.

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