REVIEW: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
With all the talk of super-hero fatigue, it’s interesting to note that we never talk about espionage fatigue despite the steady stream of spies from a variety of franchises. One of the oldest and long-running series is, of course, Mission: Impossible. Once a lauded television series, it transitioned to film in 1996 and somehow, 27 years later, it’s still chugging along, in some ways invigorated with new life.
Led by the once-ageless Tom Cruise, he remains the fittest sixty-something actor in the world, continuing to do his own stunts and working with his personal guru Christopher McQuarrie, who returned for the newest offering, Dead-Reckoning Part One, out now from Paramount Home Entertainment.
The filming was originally intended to shoot back-to-back with the film’s released a year apart. Then came Covid-19 and now the SGA strike so those plans got scuttled. That said, their threat, Artificial Intelligence, has proven increasingly timely with every passing month. As you may be aware, even President Biden found himself somewhat influenced by the movie as he prepared his recently-released executive order on AI.
The IMF team continues to shrink and remain stagnant, with no real lip service given to the program since the third installment. So, when the shit hits the fan this time, in the form of a key to the world’s most powerful AI, dubbed Entity, Ethan Hunt (Cruise), Benji (Simon Pegg), and Luther (Ving Rhames) are all that’s left to save the world. Matters begin with tracking Gabriel (Esai Morales), the Entity’s human avatar, who has a personal vendetta against Hunt. Along the way, they cross paths with the pickpocket Grace (Hayley Atwell) and we’re off.
It is good to see Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and Alanna Mitsopolis (Vanessa Kirby) back, but Atwell gives the franchise a fresh spark as does Gabriel’s aide Paris (Pom Klentieff), a poorly chosen character name given its M:I connotations. Interesting all the energy comes from the women. Which is not to say Cruise is slacking since he continues to run with recklessness and his showstopping motorcycle/parachute scene is incredible.
The movie brings back other familiar faces so the absence of Julia Meade (Michelle Monaghan), who doesn’t even get name-checked, feels wrong.
Its wonderful adventure and sumptuously shot. The ending is satisfying enough with still a threat to resolve in Part Two currently scheduled for May 23, 2025.
Paramount Home Entertainment has released the film in the usual assorted formats including the 4K Ultra HD,/Blu-ray/Digital Code combo. The 4K 2160p transfer is extremely crisp with strong visuals and plays wonderfully at home. As usual, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is excellent as it needs to be, given the sound effects and score from Lorne Balfe.
The Audio Commentary: Director Christopher McQuarrie and Editor Eddie Hamilton is found on the 4K disc as is the Isolated Score Track presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
The Blu-ray offers the usual assortment of Special Features Abu Dhabi (3:55); Rome (4:12); Venice (4:12); Freefall (9:05); Speed Flying (4:17); and Train (5:32).