The Mission: Impossible franchise has offered a number of solid entries into the summer blockbuster roster over the last two decades. While the franchise certainly has fans, for the average moviegoing audience, the films have been a fun two hours of action, but then easily forgettable. That is not the case for the latest entry in the franchise, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is back for what some assumed would be his last mission. He’s haunted by Gabriel (Esai Morales), a strange man from his past who has resurfaced to give Hunt another round of emotional trauma. Franchise mainstays, Luther (Ving Rhames), Benji (Simon Pegg), Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), and White Widow (Vanessa Kirby), are all at the top of their game. Luther and Benji don’t get as much time to shine in Dead Reckoning, but when they DO spring into action, it’s always entertaining.
Series newcomer, Hayley Atwell, takes on the role of Grace, a mysterious thief who takes the wrong job for the wrong client. Atwell has already impressed in a number of other films and shows, but she absolutely stands out in the crowded ensemble that is Dead Reckoning Part One. She goes toe-to-toe with Cruise, easily stealing a number of scenes from the veteran action star, and showing that this is a franchise where she truly belongs.
Dead Reckoning Part One is nearly three hours long, similar to John Wick: Chapter 4. While that may seem intimidating on paper, and at times the film does drag just a bit, it’s high-adrenaline action from start to finish. There are just a few short pauses to let the audience catch their breaths before the film is off to the races again. You could easily shave 20-30 minutes off the film without losing anything of real consequence, but as it stands, the extended run time isn’t really an issue.
The only other issues with Dead Reckoning are the antagonist and the fact that this is only half a film. While the movie ties up a lot of loose ends by the time the credits roll, it’s still only the first part of a larger film. In addition, the main antagonist is one of those villains that can do almost anything, but then doesn’t, because the movie would be over in 30 minutes if they did. That means you can’t really think too hard about what’s going on and why, because then the villain’s motives and actions completely fall apart.
For most people, John Wick 4 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 have been the best action movies of the year so far. We still have Dune: Part Two, and a few other films still to come, but at the moment, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is the best raw action movie of the year, barely edging out John Wick for the crown. The film isn’t perfect, and if you think about the story too much it falls apart a bit, but this is easily one of the most enjoyable action films you will ever watch.
About Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
Synopsis: Ethan Hunt and his IMF team must track down a dangerous weapon before it falls into the wrong hands.
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writers: Bruce Geller, Erik Jendresen, Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Vanessa Kirby, Pom Klementieff, Esai Morales
Runtime: 2 Hours, 43 Minutes
Releases: July 12, 2023
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.