MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING, PART ONE Review

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to enjoy yourself immensely and be amazed by edge-of-your-seat stunts and armrest-gripping special effects as you view Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning. If you’re a fan of the MI series, you must accept! Tom Cruise, as Ethan Hunt, and his crew will transport you to a place where the impossible seems possible. Packed with action and more humor than usual, it’s a great way to spend 2 ¾ hours.

Filming delays, due to COVID, make this the most expensive MI to date, but I’m guessing box office returns will make up for that.  Filming locations include Abu Dhabi, Norway, Rome and Venice Italy, the UK, and Poland. Beautiful cinematography made me want to go to the airport and take off for Europe. The sweeping views of just about everything are stunning.

Kudos to Tom Cruise for being willing to perform so many body-punishing stunts — and for being (apparently) fearless when it comes to very high places. Cruise was 59 when filming began and due to COVID delays, is 61 now at its release. The sequel, Part 2, is due to be released next year in June of 2024. Just remember that this film is only part 1, so don’t expect any kind of clear resolution.

Returning as Benji and Luther, are Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames, Hunt’s team. Also helping him out is Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a former MI6 agent with whom Hunt has a past. Henry Czerny appears as Eugene Kittridge, head of the IMF program. Haley Atwell portrays Grace, a pickpocket and thief who may or may not be an ally.

As usual, just about everybody wants to kill Ethan, including some who are supposed to be on his side. Shea Whigham plays IMF enforcer Jasper Briggs, who views Hunt as a dangerous traitor, and he’s determined to kill him. His partner Degas, played by Greg Tarzan Morris, acknowledges Briggs’s authority but has doubts about eliminating Hunt. Also in the mix is The White Widow, a black market arms dealer, who absolutely can’t be trusted.

The main human villain, Gabriel (Esai Morales), is a merciless terrorist who has wounded Hunt psychologically and emotionally in the past. He’s accompanied by an assassin, Paris (Pom Klementieff), who joyfully carries out her assignments.

In a way, the film is a cautionary tale about Artificial Intelligence that’s run amok. The IMF team’s assignment is to retrieve a 2-part key that unlocks something, not really explained in this film, that can stop a form of AI that can predict probabilities with uncanny accuracy and manipulate events to achieve its goals. Needless to say, every bad guy on earth wants to control it.

As always, the stunts and special effects are the real stars of the film. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen a glimpse of Hunt driving a motorcycle off a cliff and deploying a parachute. That stunt is far more complicated and tense than can be shown in a trailer, and it’s totally worth the price of your ticket!

There are many car chases, as well as chases on foot, of course. But the absolute stand-out stunt/special effect involves a speeding train and a bridge rigged to blow up. That’s all I’m going to say about that!

If possible, I recommend seeing Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning in IMAX as I did at the screening. It will definitely be worth paying extra to experience this film as it’s meant to be seen. – JoAnne Hyde

GRADE: A