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Sunday, July 23, 2023

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One 2023 * * * Stars


Tom Cruise brought the movie industry back from the doldrums of COVID. He just did. Last summer came Top Gun: Maverick and this summer we have Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One. Now did I salivate for "Part Two" after the closing credits for "Part One" appeared? Kind of. Not in a Return of the Jedi sort of way after Empire Strikes Back but yeah, kind of. And does Cruise still do his own stunts while being adverse to good old CGI? Yeah but for some reason he's just not as confident this time around. I mean it's as plain as a pikestaff.

Anyway "Dead Reckoning" is the seventh installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Script-wise, it's as clunky as a piece of metal jewelry (cruciform keys, hint, hint). Bodies in motion-wise, it's not the strongest account, probably held back by the limitations brought on by the pandemic (it was filmed in the middle of 2020). Sure there's death-defying shtick but you've gotta wade through circumlocutory dialogue just to get to said shtick. There's also about twenty minutes that could've been cut ("Dead Reckoning" clocks in at 163), an off-kilter attempt to add humor, a reluctance to trim the amount of characters that fade in and out, and fight scenes that seem sloppy, like they're bad dailies from John Wick. Heck, no wonder Tom Cruise got so angry at everybody on set ("I don't ever wanna see it again!!! Ever!!").

But hey, Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One really redeems itself in the last half hour. Cruise control baby! Just think brawling on top of a runaway train that travels like it's on the Autobahn, Cruise's Ethan Hunt going off a cliff on a motorcycle (of course), and some serious bridge detonation. In the end Tommy boy could probably make ten or more of these things. That I "reckon".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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