Movie Review: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)

There’s a nearly thirty minute series of cutaways in his overlong new stunt spectacular in which Tom Cruise is seen winding through mountains on a motorcycle towards his inevitable jump from a mountain onto a train; if only that level of coordination had been reserved for story and script! Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning – Part One (B) is a sturdy entry in the cat and mouse action series with exciting sequences and set pieces, the addition of an intriguing new character in the form of actress Hayley Atwell and a timely menace – an artificial intelligence platform. Clunky exposition doesn’t get any better when the dialogue is shared like a hot potato among everyone gathered in a scene, but a viewer would get drunk if imbibing a shot every time the mansplaining by committee motif gets trotted out by the screenwriters. The whole enterprise feels like warmed-over James Bond without many flashes of romantic intrigue or humor, but the practical effects are rendered with grit and grace. It’s the speeding locomotive finale (not just the prolonged jump onto it) that cinches the deal this is a stunt show best seen on a big screen. Simon Pegg is consistently amusing, and Pom Klementieff is an enjoyable physical threat in this packed ensemble. Esai Morales isn’t given much to do as the big bad, but the story’s overall series of threats feel real throughout. This is part one of a two-part story and works admirably as a standalone film as well. 

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