Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
To start this review, I wanted to mention that I will be discussing full spoilers. I know this film is just one week old but I need to talk spoilers as most of my feelings and thoughts are tied to the big reveals.
Now for the real beginning let me just say that this film was on my top five most anticipated films of 2023. If you have been reading my reviews of the series up to now you would know I feel this is an excellent franchise and probably one of the best action franchises out there. After the previous two films and with the return of director Christopher McQuarrie I was very excited to see where this film went.
To let the cat out of the box, I really enjoyed this film and I think that it lives up to its predecessors in nearly every aspect. The action, the humour, the stunts, and the cast all work at top form to pull off another amazing action movie.
Even though I quite enjoyed this movie and will detail my enjoyment, it has not become my new favourite in the franchise. I have a couple of flaws that held this movie back and this is where the spoiler talk comes in.
So, for my first negative, I feel that the secondary villain named Gabriel was only alright. He does have an interesting relationship with Ethan as he is someone who knew him before Ethan became part of the IMF. Other than that, he feels like a henchman and not a very memorable one. You can tell he is not the main villain but I just did not find his character compelling or particularly threatening.
My other big criticism is that I was not happy that Ilsa died. Her death in the film felt like such a disappointing end to a character we have grown close to over the past two films. It felt as if her death happened to give more screentime to the character of Grace and wasn’t actually a natural resolution to her character. I don’t know if that decision brought the film down for me and I continued to think about that afterwards.
Moving back to the good elements of this movie, if you have read my previous reviews in this series you would know that I thought they were like non-stop in terms of the action. Well, this movie is 2h43 minutes long, and I can honestly say it feels like just over two hours. The pace at which this film goes is perfect.
It never feels rushed or too fast and yet it’s constantly jumping locations and there is always something going on. The action continues to build during the film but what was surprising to me was how much the beginning of the film started with. A lot of the Mission Impossible films have some sort of cold opening, so I was expecting a cool action scene, but what I was not expecting was a very tense intro to our villain. When we first get introduced to the Entity, we see the AI have a submarine fire a missile at itself through some trickery. Seeing the crew of the submarine terrified as they think they have been fired on is intense and a great way to show the power of the Entity and show the audience what the threat for the film is.
From there, we have an airport chase which is so exciting especially because it happens in the first 45 minutes which makes you curious about what else they have in store to have such an exciting action scene in the opening. The airport scene just builds and builds with three different groups all converging on each other looking for Ethan, while there is a bomb to deal with as well.
Again, this is the beginning of the movie, so it’s intense. We then have the Venice sequence which harkens back to the first movie with how tense and paranoid that scene feels. I was on the edge of my seat while Ethan ran through the different squished alleys of Venice. The final train sequence is crazy and it’s wonderful how they introduce all these elements that come back to be important in the final action scene. This scene is a masterclass in how to build tension and show multiple perspectives during an action scene. When they are pulling themselves through the different train cars I was mesmerized.
Now, at the end of the journey, I must say this is one of the most consistently awesome, engaging, and action-packed franchises that I have seen. Each film builds upon the last adding new characters, threats, and amazing stunts. Tom Cruise and co. have led this franchise to be one of the most highly regarded modern action series.
Each installment has something to behold, and I would gladly rewatch any of them.
For this specific film, I think Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part 1 is an amazing action-packed part one that stands up with the best in the series. With twists and turns that will keep you guessing, as well as stunts and action that are some of the best in Hollywood. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is for sure a movie worth seeing in theatres perhaps more than once. Even though it is a long film it flies by feeling even more exhilarating than previous entries. Definitely go check it out!