The classic, old-school antidote to cynical, lazy and slick big-budget action filmmaking comes in the latest Mission impossible unwieldy named Dead Reckoning Part One. For many it will offer the excitement, not to mention the convolutions, betrayals, twists, and sudden surprises of the previous Mission Impossible – Fallout.
The seventh film in the ongoing franchise harkens a bit back to the Brian DePalma original drawn from the Bruce Geller’s television Cold War potboiler. Producer/star Tom Cruise as chivalrous IMF agent Ethan Hunt and director/co-writer Christopher McQuarrie (Top Gun: Maverick) instill much adrenaline into the nostalgia and the derivative for what might be a blockbuster joy ride of an optimal giant-screen experience.
Relevance and conviction where the stakes are ‘higher than ever’ behind and front of the camera utilizes a somber mood from a perilous “Entity” of Artificial Intelligence. Putting Ethan and his associates, including Ving Rhames’ hacker Luther, Simone Pegg’s data analyst Benji, as well as Rebecca Ferguson’s former M16 against many who are after a precious MacGuffin that perilously has a grip on reality from a sunken, experimental Russian sub that has an eerie connection to recent deep-sea headlines.
Not to say the proceedings which alternate with a winding-down familiarity while propulsive in ways alternate with a winding-down familiarity while propulsive in ways which belie an epic run-time allows for the performers to display the risk involved to make the preposterous viable in the Uber-secret IMF realm of globe-trotting. With striking locations in Abu Dhabi, Rome, Venice and Vienna (Norway’s green alps an able substitute) to provide pulse-pounding chases and confrontations against many a nefarious force.
In what knows how to be fun and have a sense of humor about itself, notable newcomers include Esai Morales’ portentous “dark messiah” in Gabriel in cahoots with many, not to mention Pom Klementieff’s racing blonde assassin, Hayley Atwell’s Grace handcuffed in another riveting sequence. Returning also is Vanessa Kirby’s non-blinking Alanna/White Widow as well as Henry Czerny’s snaky IMF overseeing Kittridge.
Yet, finally it’s the world-weary, vulnerable raw intensity of Cruise in control as Ethan beginning to divulge an unsettling past with ageless, formidable panache. Whether in a yellow Fiat or cycling over a cliff as a bridge collapses and locomotives dangle, the actor continues to defy his years in rogue fashion like his accessible, determined agent who will go to base diving extremes next June.