October 29, 2023


2023 / 163 min
Review by Tiger the Terrible😸

Check out that running time. Wow. 

But despite clocking in at damn-near three hours, at no point does Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning ever feel that long (something I can’t say about John Wick 4). As for the dreaded “Part One” in the title - a marketing practice I generally resent - this one is still a complete movie experience, concluding with a sense of closure while making us feel like May 2025 (when Part Two is scheduled to be released) can’t get here soon enough.

Elsewhere, Mission: Impossible continues to buck the franchise trend. Sequels nearly always grow steadily worse with each trip to the well. Usually by the third or fourth film, they are creatively-bankrupt, cynical products kept alive for the sole purpose of squeezing every last dollar from a brand name. But the Mission: Impossible series is actually doing the impossible. With the exception of the godawful John Woo-directed MI:II, each film has actually been better than the last one. It ain’t supposed to happen this way.

So far, Dead Reckoning Part One is the best entry in the entire franchise (I’ll save final judgment ‘till 2025). Not only does it contain the prerequisite amounts of “Tomsanity” - Cruise doing action scenes that could have just as easily been performed by a stuntman - but brings back and expands characters from previous films in a way that never seems contrived. Through an additional new character, Grace (Hayhey Atwell), we even learn how one becomes a member of the IMF, something I don’t remember the original series ever explaining.

Tom directs traffic.
The fate of the world is once again at stake, but this time, the implications seem more ominous, perhaps even plausible despite the sci-fi trappings of the basic concept. A rogue AI simply known as ‘The Entity’ has infiltrated all of cyberspace, demonstrating its ability to manipulate every aspect of technology. No one knows its origins, or if there’s even a central location, but two halves of a key exist that can potentially control it (though no one is 100% sure of their actual function). Naturally, every nation wants the completed key. 

Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team are the only ones bent on destroying the Entity, meaning he once-again goes rogue…pursued by various new and familiar enemies, including those in his own government. Storywise, Dead Reckoning is fairly straightforward, but the narrative is loaded with intrigue, double-crosses and character revelations. And no Mission: Impossible movie would be complete without jaw-dropping action sequences, of which Dead Reckoning has plenty, including an extended chase through Rome and a thrilling climax on-board (and on top of) the Orient Express.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One more than justifies its length. In addition to delivering all of what we’ve come to expect from the franchise, we’re increasingly invested in its characters and curious about the nature of the Entity itself. The only downside is that we have to wait almost two years to find out. Still, I find it hard to imagine anyone walking away feeling like they only watched half a movie.


6 FEATURETTES - Most of these are fairly short and focus on the action scenes, locations and stuntwork, with lots of behind-the-scenes footage.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Christopher McQuarrie & editor Eddie Hamilton.


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