Tom Cruise’s thrills are let short by a serious flaw in Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning

Review of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One: Tom Cruise delivers blockbuster entertainment and thrills, but this outing is marred by a serious flaw established just for this quest. For more than a decade, Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible films have become larger and better. Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the sixth installment, became an ultimate series high of epic proportions five years ago. Ethan Hunt met his match in Henry Cavill’s surprise villain John Lark, with an extraordinarily stressful cliff edge conclusion that easily helped make it a five-star film and one of the best action movies of all time. But how could Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie improve on what was undoubtedly the pinnacle of Mission: Impossible? By dividing the following adventure into two back-to-back films. Unfortunately, bigger isn’t always better when it comes to ambition. Dead Reckoning is a Mission: Impossible episode.

Part One follows Hunt and his IMF team as they search for two parts of a key that, when united, unlocks something enigmatic and powerful related to the Entity, a self-aware AI. We were all in for a MacGuffin hunt set up, and for the first hour or so, we were really loving the latest Mission: Impossible, which also reintroduces Henry Czerny’s IMF director Eugene Kittridge, who was last seen in the original film almost 30 years ago. There’s lots of mask-wearing and camp fun, as well as some self-deprecating quips about the franchise: “Your Mission, but only if you should choose to accept it?” We also get the usual stressful sequences with bombs on the verge of detonating, Cruise’s death-defying feats, and some humorous and exhilarating chases. Meanwhile, Hayley Atwell, who plays international thief Grace, joins Vanessa Kirby’s returning Alanna in the cast. However, despite all of these benefits, this outing is not without flaws, the most of which stem from the unnecessary division of the plot into two halves.

Dead Reckoning is a Mission: Impossible episode. Part One is the third film this summer to only be the first half of a blockbuster plot. Unfortunately, such a break isn’t necessary for this story, which could have easily fit into the action franchise’s longest film, which already clocks in at 163 minutes. Part One is filled with what may have been deleted sequences, ranging from lengthy briefings with Simon Pegg’s Benji Dunn and Ving Rhames’ Luther, who don’t have enough to do this time around, to attempting to explain the intricate plot surrounding the Entity and bits of key. Furthermore, Esai Morales’ villain Gabriel simply lacks the star power of Fallout’s baddie Cavill, in part because he’s really a henchman to something far larger than his persona. Nonetheless, there’s more than enough popcorn pleasure in Dead Reckoning Part One to justify seeing film in theaters, especially with its suspenseful train climax. However, considering where it finishes, we’re not sure how much more storyline is required to bring this story to a close without dramatically and unnecessarily extending out Part Two next year.

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