Home Arts & Entertainment Film Review: “Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One”

Film Review: “Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One”

by Art U News

By Kirsten Coachman

When audiences last caught up with Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in 2018, he was chasing down plutonium and trading punches with Henry Cavill’s Agent Walker to avoid nuclear fallout. 

In “Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One,” an even more significant threat is looming. Ethan and his IMF team, Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg), are faced with tracking down a key to an advanced weapon before the wrong hands gain control, unleashing worldwide chaos. While this latest entry may partly serve as an excuse for the film’s star to ride a motorcycle off a cliff, “Dead Reckoning Part One” is a solid addition to the action film franchise. 

At the helm is Writer/Director Christopher McQuarrie, who is on his third cinematic mission, so to speak, with Cruise, who doesn’t show signs of running out of steam anytime soon as he aims to retain his summer blockbuster crown. Together, the director and leading man have crafted a film with packed action sequences that takes the audience on a thrill ride alongside Ethan.

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Skydance.

“Dead Reckoning Part One” introduces a handful of new faces, and among them are two actors known for their previous work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Hayley Atwell (“Avengers: Endgame”) and Pom Klementieff (“Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3”). 

Atwell plays Grace, an artful thief with a world of experience who inadvertently finds herself in the crosshairs of the IMF while working a job and unexpectedly getting caught up in a whirlwind of action. Atwell carries her character with a certain vitality, as Grace keeps the IMF—and the audience—on their toes. Onscreen, the chemistry between Atwell and Cruise is dynamic, even as their characters find themselves at odds. 

As Paris, an associate of the film’s big bad, Klementieff’s impact is felt immediately in her ferocious onscreen presence. As her character tails Ethan and Grace in an epic car chase through the streets of Rome, you get the sense that Klementieff is having an absolute blast behind the wheel—truly the unexpected MVP of the film. 

But the big question going into “Dead Reckoning Part One” had to do with the stunt seen around the world: Would Cruise driving a motorcycle off of a cliff be a stunt purely for stunt’s sake, or would this stunt serve the film in a way that makes sense to the story?

The answer? Both, really. 

Let’s be real: It’s a wildly attention-grabbing stunt, elevated by the fact that a bonafide movie star is doing it himself. However, seeing it onscreen amid the story takes your breath away. I had seen this stunt hyped in the trailer for this film plenty of times, yet I still found myself gasping as Cruise separated from the motorcycle.

Could the writers have figured out a different way for Ethan to get from point A to point B without this stunt? Most certainly. But it does indeed get him to where he needs to be at that point in the film. And it satisfies the genuine excitement that audiences have come to expect when they watch one of these films. 

A low point was the writing, as the dialogue throughout the film came across as contrived. There were exchanges, even those between characters a part of the IMF, that sounded awkward—even distracting.

But overall, “Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One” is an exhilarating watch. And one can only imagine what Cruise has in store for “Part Two.”

“Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One” is now playing in theaters.

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