Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1: Tom Cruise, the Living Manifestation of eEntertainment

Tom Cruise’s flagship franchise returns with its most ambitious installment, so big it’s been split into two parts. This is our review of “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1″.

Still from the movie 'Mission Impossible: Deadly Judgment Part 1'

Photo: Paramount Pictures

LatinAmerican Post | Julián Andrés Rodríguez

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Leer en español: Misión Imposible: Sentencia Mortal Parte 1: Tom Cruise, la manifestación viva del entretenimiento

Twenty-seven years ago, Brian de Palma introduced the world to the iconic image of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) suspended in the middle of a room, inches above the floor, tensing every muscle in his body as a bead of sweat runs down his glasses. Although De Palma envisioned this scene in detail, he probably never thought it would be the starting point for Cruise over the course of two decades climbing the Burj Khalifa, jumping from a plane on camera and riding a motorcycle off a cliff.

It’s Cruise’s never-ending quest to reinvent the standard of entertainment and what’s considered possible for an action movie that establishes “ Mission Impossible” as one of cinema’s greatest franchises. The seventh film has the difficult challenge of continuing the story after “Repercussion” (2018), considered the best in the saga. For this, Cruise together with Christopher McQuarrie, director and screenwriter, has opted for the big one in terms of spectacle.

On this occasion, the IMF team faces its most powerful enemy: An artificial intelligence capable of infiltrating and controlling any security system in the world. The promise of such power leads to a worldwide race to find the key to master it, a mission in which Ethan must face his past and put the goal above the lives of those he loves most.

The narrative is built around the action sequences and the chemistry between its actors, which is enough for a highly entertaining installment. However, it makes questionable decisions for the continuity of the franchise, since it loses the emotional factor of its predecessor to be the beginning of a new stage.

The show as the centerpiece

What sets “Mission Impossible” apart from other franchises, besides Tom Cruise, is the balance between genres such as action, espionage, heists, and thrillers that allow you to play with various styles in each film to create memorable action sequences and that in each new installment they seek to overcome. “Dead Reckoning” is no exception, and it is thanks to these that its duration of two and a half hours is light. The rhythm is very well achieved thanks to the fact that it varies between settings such as the Arabian desert, the streets of Rome and the Norwegian mountains, each one with the particular styles already mentioned, so there is no feeling of repetition.

An inevitable moment in every Mission Impossible is a vehicular chase, and the one in this movie stands out as one of the best for its comedic tones. Shot in Rome, this moment is not only well executed thanks to how fun it is to watch a Fiat 500 escape through narrow streets from a police tank, but also because it helps establish the character and dynamics of the new characters, especially Grace (Hayley Atwell) as the female lead of the film. Atwell is magnificent thanks to the charisma she gives to a charming and agile thief, who has great chemistry with Cruise and without the need for this to fall on the romantic side as one might expect.

An honorable mention to Rebecca Ferguson who returns for the third time as Ilsa Faust never hurts and although her screen time is considerably reduced this time, every moment with her stands out for her magnetism and agility in combat. But the star is still Cruise, and while his co-stars can occasionally steal the spotlight, the big moments are reserved for him. Billed as the most dangerous feat in movie history, this time around, the motorcycle jump off a cliff doesn’t disappoint and is the perfect reminder of why we love these movies.

Also read: “Dead Reckoning Part 1”: Ranking of “Mission Impossible” Movies

Continuity as a franchise problem

One interesting factor about Mission Impossible as a franchise is the changes it has undergone over nearly three decades. Between the first and the fourth film there was a change in the direction of each one and this not only influenced the style, but also the lack of continuity of the story. For each installment, Hunt had a new team, and the events of the previous tape seemed irrelevant. This changed in the fourth installment with the rewrite of Christopher McQuarrie, which would later become Cruise’s favorite director, who concentrated on character development and the emotional, something he built between the fifth and sixth installments.

But this progress is noticeably lost with “Dead Reckoning”. The tape tries to balance between the already known story and at the same time give something new, to be able to appeal to the taste of the fans and at the same time to the casual spectator. For this they bring back some of the characters, but the treatment they give to their story is trivial, secondary and with certain decisions it completely reduces the work of the other films in terms of its development, which is disappointing for the most fans.

The most important thing about “Dead Reckoning” is that it is clear about its purpose as a summer movie and fully works on creating a great show for all audiences. This comes at the cost of downplaying the importance of narrative continuity, but in the end the legacy of this franchise is Tom Cruise and his antics, something we can always count on.

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