Summer is officially upon us, meaning that the blockbuster season is here. Tom Cruise took over last summer with “Top Gun: Maverick,” and now he’s back with the seventh entry to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise: “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.”
This first part introduces new characters while bringing back some regulars. I’m not a big fan of the franchise, but Cruise is one of the last action movie stars working, and I will never say no to any of his films.
“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is directed by Christopher McQuarrie and it stars Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Rebecca Ferguson, Esai Morales, Pom Klementieff, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Vanessa Kirby.
The opening sequence is sensational. Within seconds, we’re in an anxiety-inducing scenario that introduces us to the new “antagonist” (spoiler alert, it’s AI). The intro then follows how this situation is handled by the government. Here we are reintroduced to Ethan Hunt, who is asked to embark on a mission to seek a specific item. Then the opening credits appear 20 minutes into the movie.
What follows is a mixture of uneven pacing and an abundance of dialogue-heavy moments that are slightly annoying, thanks to its repetitive manner. A highly distracting and, at times, eye-rolling decision was the camera work with every other frame being slanted or diagonal.
Some of the angles were low, high, mid, and behind the character. It initially provided a surveillance viewpoint, but it slowly became an irritating view that lost its meaning. Within a matter of seconds, I had seen one character deliver the same piece of dialogue from six different angles.
Throughout the entire second act of this film, I was surprised by its pacing. There was a chase in Rome that had some funny moments, but it quickly turned into a sequence from the “Fast and Furious” franchise that I couldn’t unsee.
The story was good for what we received, but I also understand that I wasn’t going into this expecting a complete narrative since this is part one of a two-film storyline. The runtime didn’t help either.
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Cruise is superb in this entry though. His daredevil persona does not disappoint and manages to somehow supersede the stunts he’s done in previous movies. Ferguson is also stellar in this movie. Morales is fantastic as the menacing antagonist, but it’s Atwell who stands out. Her character isn’t the most likable, yet her performance allows the audience to sympathize with her slightly. I’m sure there’s a backstory we aren’t aware of yet that will explain the reason behind her actions.
Towards that third act, we see a slightly more vulnerable side of her character that reveals various layers to her. Her emotional performance is effective, and I’m looking forward to seeing her in the next installment.
Overall, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is an uneven but entertaining first part of this two-part entry. Cruise continues to showcase his fearless and adventurous personality which ultimately will always keep me coming back to his films, but this is an entry to the franchise that did leave a lot to be desired.