Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sit down and watch Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One on the biggest screen possible and not be blown away by it all. With what Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise have cooked up here, it truly is an impossible mission mind you.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the IMF team must track down a terrifying new weapon that threatens all of humanity if it falls into the wrong hands. With control of the future and the fate of the world at stake, a deadly race around the globe begins. Confronted by a mysterious, all-powerful enemy, Ethan is forced to consider that nothing can matter more than the mission -- not even the lives of those he cares about most.
When Fallout finished, my palms were sweating from the rush that film gave me, particularly its final act. With that in mind, Dead Reckoning Part One had a lot to live up to, and it certainly ensures that the Mission: Impossible franchise continues to thrive because this is grandiose action blockbuster filmmaking that delivers thrills aplenty amidst such an enthralling narrative. The incorporation of AI into the narrative takes a little bit of getting used to however, once the film really kicks into gear, it feels much more suited to what McQuarrie and Erik Jendresen are going for with their writing. It leads to some major paranoia in some sequences, not seen as much since the first film, as well as unpredictable action sequences that have become a signature trait of the franchise the older it gets.

Speaking of the action sequences, everyone involved goes all out to deliver another set of breathtaking moments that will leave you sweating. McQuarrie has a real sense of spectacle and utilises both sweeping shots and intimate ones to keep the action varied and exciting. There's an exhilarating car chase through the streets of Rome that puts Fast X to shame before hand-to-hand combat takes centre stage in an integral Venice sequence. If that's not enough, Tom Cruise finds some time to deliver yet another death-defying stunt, flinging himself off a mountain on a bike into a freedive, leading to one hell of an intense finale on board a runaway train. It's making me sweat just writing about it. It's how action cinema should be delivered and the stunt team should be lauded for their outstanding work here.

Considering the seriousness of the plot, there's a great underlying sense of humour that these films just seem to get right every single time. It has fun with the shenanigans of swapping faces and everything else without threatening to derail the film. McQuarrie is almost able to flick a switch so effortlessly between being deadly serious one moment and rather playful the next, willing to take risks with characters and the narrative to move the film forward in such a spectacular manner. Lorne Balfe's score plays a major part in the film's success, accompanying the action sequences in a bombastic nature with playful notes fitting with the smaller moments of humour that feel more than welcome amidst all the chaotic action.
Tom Cruise deserves a lot of praise for making these films what they are now, collaborating with a variety of filmmakers throughout the franchise to push the boundaries on what is possible when it comes to stuntwork in films. Cruise lives for entertaining audiences around the world and the dedication to putting himself in harms way is admirable, even if it does add the element of fearing for his life when watching. His performance here as Ethan Hunt feels different to what has come before, impressive seeing as this is the seventh film, a real sense of this mission being the most personal yet felt through Cruise's performance.

He leads an impressive ensemble who all play a part in making this such a blast. It's great to see franchise stalwarts Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson return, backing up Cruise with both brains and brawn. It's the new additions that make the loudest noise though, Hayley Atwell in particular as Grace, funny and fierce in good measure as she gets swept up in a global adventure that puts her way out of her depth. From a villain's perspective, Esai Morales makes for one of the most interesting antagonists of the franchise with links to Hunt's past while Pom Klementieff's Paris intimidates with few words but a passion for violence, moving away from the cutesy image people have of her from the Guardians of the Galaxy films.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is quite simply how summer blockbuster filmmaking should be done, epic in its scope and delivering thrill-a-minute spectacle that will leave you dumbfounded at just how they achieved it all. With the second part due next year, speculation begins on what else Tom Cruise is willing to do in the name of entertainment.

Verdict: ★★★★★


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