Nothing Is Impossible

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
Stars: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Vanessa Kirby, Esai Morales, Rebecca Ferguson, Pom Kiementieff, Mariela Garriga and Henry Czerny
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Scriptwriters: Christopher McQuarrie and Erik Jendresen
Composer: Lorne Balfe
Cinematography: Fraser Taggart
Skydance Productions/Paramount Pictures
Rating: PG-13 with action sequences
Running Length: 162 Minutes

2023 is turning out to be Blockbuster Summer, with “The Flash” and “Spiderman” already big hits a few months ago and here comes Tom Cruise’s latest “Mission Impossible” film. Director Christopher McQuarrie has been with Tom Cruise in the “Jack Reacher,” last three “Mission: Impossible” and “Top Gun: Maverick” films. They could probably read each other’s minds by now.  Composer Lorne Balfe is back, too.

The plot of “Mission Impossible” is similar, in the beginning, to Harrison Ford’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” film. In Ford’s movie - and he is now 80 years old - Harrison wants to obtain a Dial that can make time travel possible. In “Dead Reckoning,” Tom Cruise wants to obtain an AI called Entity that can damage humanity. Ford had his sidekick Basil while Cruise has Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg. Ford gains a female sidekick, Marion and now Helena, and Cruise gains a female sidekick, Grace (Hayley Atwell.)  Both men have a master villain to contend with. Ford has Mads Mikkelsen and Cruise has Esai Morales. Both films have action sequences that are breathtaking, but Ford’s film has a finale, while Cruise’s film is only half way through.

Harrison Ford’s film has unique stunts to that time period, while Tom Cruise has modern day stunts to do and we are wondering when he is going into space on a motorcycle. So now, we begin with Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in his 7th “Mission Impossible” film. At 60 years old, Cruise has many more “Mission Impossible” films and stunts to do before reaching 80 years old.

The story here concerns an AI intelligence, called Entity, that is experimental, at first, but learning how to defend itself. At stake is really the entire world. We begin with a Russian submarine that gets into serious problems with AI. The story moves to the Arabian Desert, where Ethan (Cruise) is trying to get into a top-secret meeting of government officials. They are trying to protect themselves from Entity. To shut it down, one must have a Key, and of course, there are two of them, as in “Dial,” with two halves. Ethan and other operatives from various groups are after the Key and so the chases begin and hang on to your theater seats as Tom Cruise literally does the impossible (excuse the pun.) The story goes from country to country and ends with a train ride, oh, but what a train. In-between are car chases, double crosses, Tom and Hayley handcuffed to each other, and there a small chase car.

In previous “Impossible” films (“Rogue Nation” and “Fallout”), Rebecca Ferguson was the female lead, and I prefer her style of acting to Hayley Atwell who sometimes seems a bit behind the action. For villains, all they have to do is sneer, talk world domination and give orders. Esai Morales is the bad guy here. For sidekicks, Ving Rhames is my favorite and I have been a fan since “Rosewood.” Simon Pegg and his witticisms are right on target with timing. Someone you haven’t seen since 1996 is Henry Czerny, who comes back as director of IMF. Oh, and watch for Cary Elwes, too.

All and all, this is a Tom Cruise film. He knows what the fans want and gives it to them. Action with stunts to defy the mind, a team that keeps telling him “No,” and sites around the globe, here including Norway and the United Arab Emirates. The film took a few years to complete due to the Covid Pandemic, and you can tell a bit of age on Tom Cruise’s face. Who wouldn’t look worried, with trying to save the world in each film. This is one actor who knows his audience and is there for them. You have to wait until June 2024 for the finish, though, as this is “Dead Reckoning, Part One.” 

Copyright 2023 Marie Asner