Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (2023) Review
CHRISTOPHER McQuarrie has solidified himself as the foundation for all future Mission: Impossible films. Despite making his mark on Hollywood as the writer behind The Usual Suspects, McQuarrie has primarily found success alongside Tom Cruise in the previous three Mission: Impossible films, with the first part of Dead Reckoning arguably being his greatest contribution to the franchise so far.
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team are tasked with tracking down a weapon of mass destruction. To do this they must traverse the globe, most notably Europe, and uncover the shadows that loom the team at every corner. However, Ethan must come to the realisation that the mission's success hinges on the sacrifices he's willing to make -- even if they come to the ones he love.
Despite originally being heralded as your stereotypical crowd pleaser, the Mission: Impossible has crafted its own legacy with each following film, becoming more and more intricate with each subsequent mission. While director Christopher McQuarrie has certainly been a contributing factor to the franchise's longevity since joining in 2015, the heart and soul of Ethan Hunt's espionage has -- and always will be -- Tom Cruise. His performance carries much of this near 3-hour journey, leaning into the absurdity of how he's somehow remained the world's greatest spy despite his reckless antics. Cruise also adds sublime slickness to Ethan Hunt as he continues his inevitable transition from cocky secret agent to the battle-scarred leader; a role Cruise has comfortably stepped into, and considering the stunts he's performed in this film, I highly doubt we are even close to the end of the road for this 61-year-old madman.
One stunt has grabbed the world's attention: riding a motorbike off a cliff, performing a vertical flip before opening his parachute to safety. Stunts like this have made audiences questions Cruise's sanity in recent years, but you can't deny the effect it has on the project; like a car crash in motion, you can't help but look -- even though you know what's coming next. But Cruise doesn't carry the movie by himself as he's aided by his always expert IMF team, including the returning Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson, all of which excel in their respective roles. Newcomers Hayley Atwell and Pom Klementieff also leave a significant impact, particularly the latter who has continued to make waves over the past couple of years thanks to her inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There is an argument to be made Dead Reckoning lingers a bit too long, but it's near-perfect balance of intriguing espionage and ludicrous actions is enough to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Tom Cruise proves his commitment to his craft, never pressing off the gas pedal in a Part One that can only be outdone by its upcoming second act. But for now, it's just impossible not to enjoy what Ethan Hunt has to offer.