Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One Movie Review

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is the not ‘Mission: Impossible’ movie you expected. It is the star-studded, stunt-driven spectacle that this summer needed. Some of the other big summer ‘tent pole’ movies are gone in a ‘Flash’, or will never reach their ‘Destiny’. This summer could be saved by a swirl of fights, chases, and intrigue that keeps the focus on the action. And to think, this is only ‘Part One’…


This Mission starts underwater, literally. Inside a Russian sub, there is a super-secret Artificial Intelligence setup. The AI goes rogue and destroys the secret sub in the Arctic waters. The still-operating AI is powered up, connected, and ready to take over the world. The ‘key’ to unlocking “The Entity” is with the dead Russian sailors. Until the two halves of the Key go missing.  This is a job for the Impossible Mission Force…


IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is called on by the new leader of IMF. This new leader is his old boss Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny), who was from the very first “Mission: Impossible”. This Mission is dangerous, the stakes are high, and all that usual blah, blah, blah. One half of the Key has been located, and it is up for bid. The seller is Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). Ethan has a very close relationship with this former British MI6 secret agent who has gone rogue. Hunt’s same team gets assembled for a trip to the Middle-East.


The master hacker and computer whiz is Luther (Ving Rhames) and the other field agent is Benji (Simon Pegg). They are off to the Middle-Eastern desert – where a large group is closing in on Ilsa. She holds them off, and she gets some help from Ethan. But it seems she is shot dead! So Ethan has the Key half that Ilsa once had, and it’s off to the Abu Dhabi airport. There is to be a pickup of the Key – and the IMF group will tail the person picking it up. But there are other forces out to find Ethan – before he gets the Key.


Two other agents from a shadowy international group are after Ethan, Benji and Luther. This includes Jasper (Shea Whigham) and Degas (Greg Tarzan Davis). But there is another more mysterious figure, a man called Gabriel (Esai Morales). But they are sidelined by a master pickpocket named Grace (Hayley Atwell).


At the Abu Dhabi airport, the Key drop-off is subverted by Grace stealing the Key. Benji is under a lot of pressure to disarm a ‘bomb’. Luther tracks this new guy Gabriel – but he shows up as a ghost. And Ethan does what he does best — he runs.


Grace has escaped to Rome with the Key. Ethan, Luther and Benji are following closely. The other agents, Jasper and Degas, are still out to get Ethan. Gabriel is now ready to use more of his power. He has a paid assassin from France set up to take out Ethan’s team and Grace. This female toughie is named Paris (Pom Klementieff).


She is fully-armed and prepared to take on anyone. Grace was picked up by the Rome police, and Ethan breaks her out. There is a major car chase in the streets of Rome. Grace and Ethan elude the police, along with Jasper and Degas, and also a murderous Paris. Many traffic laws were broken – for sure…


Grace escapes again! Ethan is rejoined by his crew, Benji, Luther and Ilsa! It seems that “reports of her death have been greatly exaggerated”. Now they have a team to track down Grace. She has scooted over to Venice. She still has the one half of the Key. “The Entity” is still active, and the intelligence is compounding.


“The Entity” sees Ethan and Grace as enemies, and Gabriel is working closely with the powerful AI. There is a lady arms dealer named White Widow (Vanessa Kirby). She will be hosting Grace at her nightclub tonight for a trade-off of the Key. Grace and Gabriel are there, along with the White Widow. There is going to be a deal worked out, unless Ethan and Ilsa can stop it in time.


But before that happens, there is a massive nightclub fight scene. Graces goes on the run, followed by Gabriel.  Ilsa chases after Gabriel. And Ethan does what he does best — he runs. But then he gets trapped in a narrow alleyway to fight Paris. Gabriel is fighting both Grace, and then Ilsa. One of them will not make it off the tiny bridge over the Venice canal…


The White Widow is going to get both halves of the Key on train running through the Austrian Alps. So you can bet Ethan will have a plan to get on board and get it back. Grace will work with Ethan, but the plans change. Ethan finds he has no way on the train. Grace is already on board.


Ethan is out in the cold, unless he comes up with a novel idea. Well, Benji tells him — you have a parachute, and you have a motorbike. You are up in the Alps with a lot of high cliffs that overlook the train tracks… So – watch the trailer to see what the novel idea could be…


Grace is on the train, along with the White Widow, Gabriel and Paris.  There are even more people on this same train. IMF leader Kittridge is there to work with the White Widow. He is there to buy back the Key. Jasper and Degas are still armed and still ready to take Hunt’s team down. Paris is ready to kill anyone in her way. Gabriel is synced into the superb calculations of “The Entity”. There is nothing left to chance.


That is, nothing is left to chance until Ethan Hunt ‘drops’ in for a visit. He is the “fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench”. Ethan is there to use his best fighting skill to take on Paris, and to take down Gabriel. But they are on a runaway train, with no way to stop it. Also, Gabriel has bobby-trapped a bridge up ahead. So anyone on the train is doomed. It looks like it might be a cliffhanger ending for ‘Part One’.


“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is a powerhouse of a summer movie. The M:I series of films has gotten better over the years. These past few movies show a close collaboration between Tom Cruise and Director Christopher McQuarrie. The movie delivers the action, the fights and the stunts that people have come to expect.


Tom Cruise does not hang from a sheer mountain cliff, or from the world’s tallest building. He does not pilot a helicopter, or jump out of a high-altitude plane – or either does he cling to the side of one taking off. But the fearless actor still gets hearts pumping with the motorbike over the cliff stunt…


Along with Tom Cruise, the rest of the cast is doing great work. The regulars (Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson) are superb. Hayley Atwell also makes a wonderful impression as the mystery pickpocket. It is a fun choice to see Henry Czerny make a comeback – after being in the very first movie.


Of course, there can be nitpicks. The movie moves very quickly, but it is over two and half hours long. Plus, some other holdovers from the look of the first movie are the constant use of ‘Dutch Angles’, the tilted look of the camera view. That could be annoying…



“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” – this is the summer movie Mission you SHOULD choose to accept!

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Written by: Christopher McQuarrie, Erik Jendresen
Based on ‘Mission: Impossible’ by Bruce Geller
Starring: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Henry Czerny, Pom Klementieff
Cinematography: Fraser Taggart
Edited by: Eddie Hamilton
Music by: Lorne Balfe
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release date: July 12, 2023
Length: 163 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some language and suggestive material.
Genre: Spy Thriller



tmc.io contributor: JMcNaughton tmc

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