MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - DEAD RECKONING PART ONE -- A Franchise That Continues to Stun and Amaze with Jaw-Dropping Action Sequences
Review by Dan Skip Allen
The Mission: Impossible franchise has become one of the biggest in Hollywood. It wasn't always that way though. In fact, it was on the brink of cancellation after the third movie. Tom Cruise has brought this franchise back from the dead as his own. He has made this series a must-see viewing for the entire world because of what he puts into every installment. I can vouch for him regarding the latest film in the franchise Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One. It's incredible!
Like all Mission: Impossible films, this one starts with the obligatory scene where a mission is presented to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) for him to accept in five seconds or less, as the message will self-destruct. This time out, Cruise's character gets involved in a mission to retrieve a double-faceted key. This key is tied to an entity that controls various scenarios and multiple sequences of events. He gets the old team together, Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg) once again, and they are in a race against time and an old nemesis, Gabriel (Esai Morales), Hunt thought long gone from his past.
This series of films has had one thing that makes it stand out: the stunts and action sequences, mostly involving Cruise's character. In Dead Reckoning Part One, Cruise and the director Christopher McQuarrie have upped their game. A handful of action scenes, one involving a motorcycle jump off a cliff into a BASE jump onto a train, were breathtaking. Another involved a car chase, where Cruise and Haley Atwell's character Grace were handcuffed together in an old-school Yellow Fiat racing through the streets of Rome. Atwell's character was also a key player in an airport scene.
With all the action sequences must come scenes where the actors are just talking. Many scenes explain the whole situation involving the villainous AI at the core of the story, and how it works and affects this entire situation. The dialogue is a bit clunky, and between action scenes, isn't as good as it should be. The script is lacking in that regard, although some people might be willing to see past this.
There is a shorthand with this cast from previous films in this franchise, but new actors add a new element to the movie. As mentioned before, there are scenes involving Atwell's character that are quite funny. They had me and the rest of the theater in stitches. The mix between funny and more dramatic scenes added a nice juxtaposition to the story.
I grew up watching Tom Cruise movies from when I was a little kid. Risky Business was the first of his films I had seen at the age of 9 or so. Cruise has come a long way since then. He was in a streak in the ‘80s and ‘90s of being a leading man in various roles like Top Gun, Days of Thunder, and others. He tried doing more character stuff, like Born on the Fourth of July and Magnolia, but I think he reserved himself the fact that he was an action star. Part of that was when he got the rights to the Mission: Impossible IP — a popular television show from the ‘60s with catchy theme music to go along with it. He turned this IP into an extravaganza of filmmaking with various feats of amazing action sequences. One was of him hanging off of the tallest building in the world in Dubai, the Birch Khalifa in Ghost Protocol, and another was of him holding his breath underwater for an incredible amount of time in Rogue Nation. He has turned this one-time television series into his action series or superhero franchise. They continue to get bigger and bigger, with Cruise as the lead.
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One, like many of its predecessors, has a complicated storyline. The key at the forefront is what's called a MacGuffin — an item or something that drives the story forward. Along with the cast that had to sad all the complicated dialogue, this was a key — pun intended — part of the movie. These films have a fantastical element to them, and the filmmakers have to get the audience watching in the theater to believe in them. I believed wholeheartedly in what Cruise and McQuarrie were trying to do and say with this film. I looked past the clunky dialogue in a few scenes. I think a lot of people around the world will as well.
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One hits theaters on July 12.