In the age of superhero films, the classic action hero flick is hard to come by.
Aside from perhaps James Bond, there is one franchise that has been holding the torch for the genre and has been doing so for over 25 years. I am talking about Mission Impossible and with each new film, the action gets bigger and better, and the stunts never fail to blow me away. With the franchise hitting its finale, Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One is easily the best film in the franchise to date.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you would know that Tom Cruise does all his own stunts and plays a huge part in the design, production, and execution of each stunt. Not only does Cruise do his own stunt work, but he is also a producer of the film. And with director Christopher McQuarrie by his side, who has also worked on almost every Tom Cruise film in the last 10 years, it is easy to see why their films have been so successful and Dead Reckoning Part One is no exception.
So, what is the final chapter? How can they possibly beat everything in the Mission Impossible franchise that preceded it? Well, without giving away too much, and I am going to be as vague as possible, there is a new threat unlike anything we have seen before. This mission will test Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, those he holds most dearly, like never before.
Our favourites are back with of course Ethan Hunt portrayed by Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell, and Rebecca Ferguson as Isla Faust. We are also re-introduced to Vanessa Kirby as arms dealer the White Widow and even former IMF Director Eugene Kittridge from the original 1996 film portrayed by Henry Czemy. There are of course some new faces with Hayley Atwell as Grace and the new antagonist Gabriel, portrayed by Esai Morales.
I have been hanging for this film for so long. My expectations were set so very high, and I can safely say that I was not let down at all. If anything, Dead Reckoning Part One exceeded my expectations in ways I didn’t predict. The prologue had me hanging on the edge of my seat, and at that point, the title screen hadn’t even appeared yet. In classic MI style, the title sequence teased sequences of the film to come and my excitement only grew stronger.
The score is just as exhilarating as the action sequences themselves. Lorne Balfe has seriously outdone himself on this one and has created the perfect score. Not only does it help provide dimensions to the action sequences, but he also adds so much more emotion and weight to the drama on screen. I found myself reliving sequences in my head over and over, making me want to see the film again as soon as possible. I even said to a friend after the film that I could listen to this score and watch Tom Cruise just run full pelt on repeat forever and never get bored.
Fraser Taggart’s cinematography is next level and really brings the action to life. It is one thing to be able to perform some of these death defying stunts, but to be able to film them in ways that not only makes the sequence look incredible in such incredibly difficult scenarios needs to be commended. I honestly cannot wait to see what they put together for Part Two.
Admittedly, I have never really liked Isla Faust as a character. I never felt anything for her at all. Maybe it’s the dead pan look she has or the lack of emotion in the character. In saying that, Rebecca Ferguson is great in the role. The introduction of another strong female character with Hayley Atwell as Grace is a great contrast to Ferguson’s role. Grace is feisty, cheeky, and highly intelligent. Having been a fan of Atwell for a long time, I felt she was perfect for the role.
It was great to see Henry Czemy return as Eugene Kittridge, a character I didn’t realise I missed until his return. Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg as Luther and Benji respectively are just as good as they have been in the previous films. If anything, this would be their best performance yet. It was also great to see Pegg get in on the action a bit too, and the new advisory in Esai Morales as Gabriel was a pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed Morales’ portrayal as the villain and I believe he is probably the best bad guy the franchise has seen yet.
Of course, the biggest star of the film is none other than Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt. Cruise has been the powerhouse behind the franchise since the beginning back in 1996. Each new film saw Cruise push the envelope even harder. I am sure we can all remember him snapping his foot during the filming of Fallout. Thankfully, he came out of filming with no major injuries this time, but the stunts are the biggest we have ever seen.
For those that have seen the teaser, you know what I am talking about. For those that don’t, you’ll just have to see it for yourself. And even though I saw the making of this stunt, it still left me holding my breath as it happened on the big screen. I was completely blown away!
It is clear that Tom Cruise is the action hero that cinema needs. There are not many films out there like Mission Impossible and those that have tried have usually fallen short. What makes these films the best in the industry is that the stunts are real, and this is mainly due to the authenticity that Tom Cruise wants to bring to his own performances and the films that he produces. The more that I think about it, the more he jumps up to the top of my list of my favourite actors of all time.
Cruise is also a strong supporter of cinema and the cinematic experience. His films are made to be experienced on the big screen. In a recent interview he mentioned that he loves nothing more than to sit in a packed theatre to watch a film. Honestly, it just makes me love the bloke even more. I missed cinema so much during the Covid era, and I am so thankful people like him are keeping the cinema experience alive.
I can safely say that Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One by far the best film I have seen since Top Gun: Maverick last year. And with Part Two ready to hit filming, I may be waiting a long time before another film knocks Dead Reckoning Part One from the top spot.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to book tickets to go and see Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One. I know I will be accepting that mission for a second time, because I am dying to see this film again.
Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One opens around Australia on Saturday the 8th of July. Check your local guides for session times and strap yourselves in for one hell of an action-packed spy thriller that will leave you wanting more!