REVIEW: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE -DEAD RECKONING Part One (2023) is a tough act to follow

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - DEAD RECKONING PART ONE is an action extravaganza that does not let up. As McQuarrie incorporates spectacle with storytelling, this one soon results in a film that feels like a modern blockbuster while paying homage to the franchise's roots. With a fast-paced narrative, incredible stunts, and standout performances, this installment satisfies through the power of blockbuster cinema.
Orly Agawin

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - DEAD RECKONING PART ONE (2023) propels into a pulse-pounding adventure, proving once again that Tom Cruise remains the reigning king of action films. Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, this seventh installment in the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise delivers an engaging blend of espionage, high-stakes missions, and heart-stopping action.

From the very beginning, the movie grips tightly with its tightly-knit narrative. It finds Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team tackling a rogue A.I. that holds the potential to wreak a global. With a key split into two halves and the world's superpowers seeking to control it, the IMF team must steer a deceptive path to intercept the key and understand its true purpose.

Engagingly Contemporary Yet Interestingly Nostalgic

What made me entirely engaged is how the film pays homage to other past blockbusters through easter eggs conveniently plotted throughout its sequences. From Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE (2006), to HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRET (2002), it blends action with unexpected humor, making the experience ultimately satisfying.

The film interweaves elements from the franchise's past, notably revisiting the 1996 original by Brian De Palma. This connection adds depth to Hunt's character as it explores how he became the renowned agent we know today. Fraser Taggart's cinematography cleverly echoes the first film's style, evoking nostalgia and a sense of cinematic continuity.

Incredible Performances

Henry Czerny returns as the former IMF director Eugene Kittridge. Here, Czerny provides a mystifying link to the past and amplifies tension. Esai Morales stands out as Gabriel, the morally corrupt mercenary whose motivations challenge Ethan's sense of empathy. As the two face off in the Dubai airport, fans are treated to a spectacular action sequence that launches this instalment's high-octane energy.

Hayley Atwell joins the cast as Grace, a pickpocket entangled in the espionage chaos, and her presence adds an intriguing dynamic. Meanwhile, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg reprise their roles as Luther and Benji, respectively, providing both comic relief and crucial support to Ethan.

And at the heart of it, all is Cruise, who embodies the ever-reliable Ethan Hunt with magnetic charisma and engaging athleticism. His dedication to performing his own stunts amplifies the authenticity of the action sequences. From sprinting through crowded streets to jaw-dropping motorcycle jumps - Cruise's commitment to deliver Hunt is at its best, more than ever. Needless to say, the film's exhilarating action is a welcome departure from the CGI-laden spectacles that have become all too common in modern blockbusters.

Deeper Themes

Amid the explosive action, the film also delves into more profound themes, raising questions about the purpose of Ethan Hunt's unconventional life. As an actor who has faced deepfake controversies, Cruise's portrayal of a movie star battling A.I. adds an interesting meta-layer to the narrative.

Brimming with well-choreographed and practical action, DEAD RECKONING PART ONE feels both engagingly contemporary and nostalgically classic. It reminds us why we love spy thrillers and the joy of watching real stunts on the big screen. I gotta say that it's been a while since I last heard people jumping and shouting in their seats inside the dark of the cinema. Such proof that movie magic still engages and captivates.

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