I learned one thing for sure going to see Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part 1 – thanks to both Ethan Hunt and James Bond, I no longer want to take a sightseeing, luxury train tour in an exotic location. Other than this, Tom Cruise’s Hunt can take me on any action-filled, roaring ride. No matter what you think of his personal life – Cruise is the best at what he does, and M:I 7 proves it. (And my star rating above should actually be 4½ stars, but our system won’t do the half.)
NOTE: This review contains spoilers. So unless you’ve seen the film, or you don’t mind spoilers, or you have no plans to watch the movie but love to read reviews, you may want to reconsider and go out to do some gardening.
You don’t go to a Mission: Impossible film for the great story. Or, for that matter, to a Bond movie, Fast & Furious film, or Die Hard… you go for the charm of the star, the over-the-top stunts, the adrenaline, the gasps, and yes, the laughs. While M:I 7 isn’t a comedy, by any means, it has its really funny moments! Whether that’s giggling at the expected luxury vehicle safe car turning out to be a tiny little Fiat, or a laugh in relief that they’ve actually survived the engine’s plunge off a mountain, the fun moments are definitely there.
This film was directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who also directed the last two M:I films (Rogue Nation, 2015, and Fallout, 2018). The release date had been delayed several times, mostly due to Covid-related theater closings. Part 2 will come out in 2024, so you have some time to wait for a conclusion (and as that film is not yet finished, there may be another delay due to the current writer and actor strike). And it’s not expected to be the last one, despite Cruise hitting 60 years old. How long can he keep doing this? I guess we have to wait and see, but I can’t imagine this series continuing without him.
In the newest outing, a super-secret Russian sub has crept up on ocean-going vessels from a dozen country’s navies, testing their stealth capabilities created by “the Entity,” a headline-relevant AI production. Until something goes wrong, and the Russian sub ends up exploding, killed by a ghost ship that appears and disappears, yet sends real torpedoes. Somehow, the US intelligence services know of -this “Entity,” and know of a 2-piece key that gives the holder some kind of control over it. But they don’t know where the key is, exactly what it does, or who has it – and Hunt’s Impossible Mission Force is tasked with finding both pieces of the key.
Joining Cruise again this outing, which is the first of the 2-part Dead Reckoning storyline, are Ving Rhames as Luther – Rhames has been in this series from the beginning; Simon Pegg, as Benji, who joined the M:I films with M:I 3; Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust, a shadowy former MI6 (British) agent; and Vanessa Kirby as Alanna Mitsopolis, a “broker” baddie attempting to acquire the key for a client. Henry Czerny and Cary Elwes are national intelligence officials who have more of a role than expected, and Greg Tarzan Davis and Shea Whigham are US agents tasked with removing Hunt once they believe he’s gone rogue, beyond the scope of his assignment.
There are several newbies joining the story – Hayley Atwell is “Grace,” which may not be her name, a talented thief hired to get the key for Alanna; Esai Morales as the deadly Gabriel, who, Hunt says, is responsible for Hunt being who and where he is; and Pom Klementieff as Paris, Gabriel’s psycho enforcer.
This isn’t a perfect film. There’s definitely a lot of repetition in this – in shots, devices, exposition. Of course, we get several long scenes of Tom Cruise running – through Venice, through Rome, through the desert. Of course, we get the hyper-realistic masks and the technological screw-ups that have always come with them. But rather than making this feel like a rerun, it gives us a sense of familiarity with the IMF world, like we’ve lived through this with the crew, and it gives us an investment in their success because we know they have the ability to survive whatever comes their way – WE HOPE.
Music was used effectively here – Lalo Schifrin’s original TV show theme is again made new. Bum bum ba da bum bum…. who doesn’t know that one? This film’s score was done by Lorne Balfe.
Cruise’s legendary perfectionism for his stunts is taken to the max in this movie. You’ve likely seen the featurette of a motorcycle leap off a mountain – despite having seen this in promos a hundred times, it was no less thrilling to watch on the big screen! (and this is a movie that is best on the biggest screen you can find.)
Another major stunt involved building an entire train, just to throw it over a mountain. Here’s the featurette for that stunt.
And here’s a short BTS of one of the amazing Venice stunt scenes.
I got what I expected out of M:I 7 – fun, laughs and gasps, a bit of pathos. This was easily the most fun film I’ve seen this year! And I’m ready for next year, for Part 2!
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