Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is the seventh instalment in the Mission: Impossible film franchise. With returning star Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie, Ethan Hunt’s latest escapade is as thrilling as you’d expect, it’s just a shame that the inflated run time and lack of ending (due to Part Two being released in 2025) let it down.
The film opens on a Russian stealth submarine that uses an advanced AI activated by a two-piece key. The crew are deceived by the AI into launching a torpedo against a phantom enemy that then strikes their own sub, killing everyone on board and with the keys and submarine presumably lost at sea.
IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tasked with retrieving one-half of the key from old friend Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who is holed up in the Arabian Desert trying to hide from mercenaries looking to obtain a bounty on her head. After retrieving the key and faking Ilsa’s death, Ethan infiltrates a US intelligence meeting where Denlinger (Cary Elwes), the Director of National Intelligence, and IMF Director Kitteridge (Henry Czerny) are discussing the AI known as “the Entity”, which has achieved sentience and can manipulate any network, leading to all world powers fighting to be the ones to control it.
When he learns of the truth behind the Entity, Ethan vows to destroy it and teams up with old friends Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg) to track down the second half of the key in Abu Dhabi. During their mission, they’re thwarted by professional thief Grace (Hayley Atwell) who steals it from them. While Ethan and the team hunt down Grace and try and uncover what the keys unlock, they’re thwarted at every turn by faces from Ethan’s past, including White Widow Alanna (Vanessa Kirby) and the shady Gabriel (Esai Morales), as well as facing the Entity itself.
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Mission: Impossible films and they’re probably my favourite Tom Cruise films too, and Dead Reckoning – Part One is no exception. It’s everything you’d expect from an MI film, full of over-the-top action and stunts but yet still keeping an intelligent and relevant plot. It’s an incredibly smart film and the story is truly engaging, even terrifying at times, and even the dialogue scenes are never dull. The action is thrilling and really pulls you in too. And it goes without saying that the cast is very good, although I would argue that Esai Morales’ villain Gabriel doesn’t feel anywhere near as menacing and threatening as past instalment villains or even as threatening as the Entity he’s there to represent.
My biggest issue with this film is down to the inflated runtime (2 hours and 45 minutes!) and the fact that I have a bit of franchise fatigue. I loved the story in this but the fact that I have to wait for Part Two in 2025 to find out how it ends, no doubt in another 2+ hour film, is incredibly frustrating. Could they have condensed this down into one film? Most definitely. While I didn’t find any of the scenes boring, the constant chasing around for the key could easily have been condensed and personally, I would’ve preferred this. Considering how this part ends, I did feel a little confused as to how they could drag out the rest of the story enough for a full Part Two, and that really does concern me. It’s a shame as aside from this, this film is bloody good fun.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is a lot of fun, full of action and intrigue, which is surprising for the seventh instalment in the series. It’s let down by the overly long run time and the fact that we have to wait for 2 years to see how the interesting story pans out, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be looking forward to watching Part Two.
Where to Watch
A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!