‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’ banks on cast chemistry to deliver thrilling, heartfelt film
While heartfelt may not be a popular description for the first part of “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning,” the seventh installment in the “Mission: Impossible” movie franchise leaves a great impression with its more quiet and vulnerable moments, thanks to the chemistry and history among its characters.
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt is back along with friends and colleagues from the Impossible Mission Force (IMF), as they square off against an “Entity” of seemingly limitless abilities.
Hunt and his team are looking to retrieve a key that is believed to be the answer to controlling the Entity, which is an AI—claimed to have gone sentient—that has begun to create havoc in the digital space, having crept into central banks and defense systems of several countries.
The search for the key leads the team to action-packed encounters with interesting personas including a new character from Hunt’s past, Gabriel (Esai Morales), who is on the Entity’s side.
With an AI villain in the picture, Hunt’s group find themselves in a battle of wits unlike no other. The team, which includes tech expert Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and field agent Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), have to make necessary changes in their strategy and setup to elude the Entity.
The scenes with Stickell and Dunn bring the needed humor amid the chaos. The trio’s friendship looks sincere, especially in moments when they converse more as friends than colleagues.
Cruise also displays great chemistry with Rebecca Ferguson and Hayley Atwell, who portray the roles of Ilsa Faust and Grace, respectively.
It is very evident in the scenes between Hunt and Faust, who first appeared in “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” how much they care for each other.
On the other hand, the audience gets to witness how newcomer Grace—who finds herself in a situation beyond her imagination—and Hunt’s relationship progresses between key events.
It would have been nice though if there were more interactions between Grace and Faust, both strong female characters.
The film, in general, is able to underscore the strong bond between Hunt and his team, including Faust and, eventually, Grace, which provides more weight to Hunt’s selfless remarks.
The movie, which runs for over two and a half hours, has several scenes that can take the cake for being the most memorable, but the epic car chase scene, for me, just slightly edges out the others.
While being chased by multiple parties, Hunt and Grace engage in great exchanges—in terms of lines and who takes the wheel.
French actress Pom Klementieff, though, steals the scene as the driver behind the huge black Hummer. As Paris, an assassin allied with Gabriel, she is fearless and unrelenting.
The use of various camera shots, angles and movements further emphasizes the experience and feelings of the characters, as well as adds more details and contexts to events or situations.
Furthermore, the film also features new stunts that Cruise, as in previous installments, performed himself.
At the very start of the film’s official trailer, the actor is seen riding a motorcycle and stopping at the edge of a cliff. Cruise would eventually jump off the cliff while aboard his motorcycle and deploy a parachute.
During filming, as mentioned in a press release, Cruise rode his motorcycle up a ramp—with production set up on a mountain in Norway—and jumped “4,000 feet into the ravine below before opening his parachute barely 500 feet from the ground.”
The action star is said to have attempted the stunt seven more times to ensure that they got the shot they needed. Cruise would challenge himself further with speedflying, which is “gliding down mountainsides” using “a very small canopy.”
“One of the things that is particularly dangerous about speedflying is the close proximity to the ground that you’re flying. And the other is the risk that the canopy can collapse. It’s very unpredictable,” the film’s director Christopher McQuarrie shared through a press release.
“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” succeeds, after five years, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” which was also helmed by McQuarrie. Other cast members include Vanessa Kirby, Shea Whigham, Greg Tarzan Davis and Henry Czerny, who reprised his role in the first installment. /ra