Ethan Hunt and his IMF team must track down a dangerous weapon before it falls into the wrong hands.
THE GOOD STUFF
ETHAN HUNT- It might be very sacrilegious to say this, but I think over seven films and 25 years, the character of Ethan Hunt stands shoulder to shoulder with both the Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig portrayals of James Bond. I often find that when a legendary actor plays a role for a significant amount of time, that role will become somewhat interchangeable with the identity of the legendary actor. (JASON BOURNE, JOHN WICK, JOHN McCLANE, ELLEN RIPLEY) But not with Hunt.
Since the quality of this franchise bumped up with the fourth installation, mission Impossible: ghost protocol, in 2011, Ethan Hunt has displayed far more consistent badassery than either of the James Bonds previously mentioned. This character should be mentioned with the Jason Bournes and the John Wicks. Seriously.
THE JUMP- By the time you see this in the theater, you will probably have been inundated with the image of Tom Cruise flying off of that cliff as the music drops in any of the trailers of this film. I almost wish that wasn’t the case. I almost wish that this stunt would have been a total surprise because, man… What a batshit crazy thing to do. It’s even more impressive when you realize that that wasn’t just something Tommy did once. He did that same jump like SIX MOTHERF****** TIMES FOLKS.
Because the marketing has been done so well for this film, of course, there’s more to the jump in the film than that trailer is showing you. Seeing the jump in IMAX does add a bit of an exclamation point to what you already know you’re going to see. This is the craziest stunt Cruise has ever done for this film series…
And boy, is that saying something.
ESAI MORALES- I’m absolutely convinced that the first season of the television show OZARK netted this role for Morales. If you’ve seen his work on that show, then the smooth operator and menacing type of performance that he gives here will not shock you at all. This franchise has never really been the one to give you good villains. Morales provides a kind of final boss kind of equivalent to Ethan Hunt. And that really could have been miscalculated if you didn’t get the right guy. Thank goodness they did. Significantly contributes to the greatness of this film.
SIMON PEGG- The MISSION IMPOSSIBLE films have always had a problem establishing the team around Ethan Hunt as actual characters with storylines more on that in a second). I’ve always felt that if your character can’t have a storyline in a film like this, at least let them do some entertaining stuff to prop up whatever character needs to be propped up.
Simon Pegg has never really gotten his flowers for being the audience’s voice whenever these action scenes get a little bit too wild. He’s the one with the often hilarious banter with Cruise during the big missions and greatly contributes to this franchise in that manner. Pegg is aces.
THE BAD STUFF
THE DEAD RECKONING DRINKING GAME- Look, I know what these MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies are. They’re spy movies. They’re movies about individuals with expert skills in multiple duplicitous things… like pickpocketing. Pickpocketing happens here and there in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE films, but this was where it flat-out became a plot device.
The drinking game to be had with this film (should you choose to accept it) is to take a shot every time somebody gets pickpocketed. Understand that it happens so often in this movie that at some point in the third act, you may find that it becomes predictable whenever characters are within hugging range that their pockets are going to be picked. And you will be sloshed whilst coming to that conclusion.
THE UGLY STUFF
WASTED TALENT??- Hayley Atwell is in this movie. She is a new addition to this cast, and she’s extremely good. It’s important to note that she is a definite highlight of this film…. Because she is in it A LOT. I would go as far as to comfortably say that she is the second main character of this particular film, and that just seems kind of weird to me. It seems weird because some individuals have been a part of this franchise for a long time and don’t have a quarter of the screen time and have never gotten the type of storyline.
I understand in the case of Rebecca Ferguson given the fact that she’s filming DUNE: PART TWO, and she’s got SILO on Apple TV. She may have been cut for time. But what about Ving Rhames? He has been here since the original in 96, and I know nothing more about this character than I did when he first debuted.
The first three MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies are mediocre at best and in some cases, absolute trash (looking at you MI:3). However, since 2011, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE has become what I like to call a caviar-class action franchise. The previous entry of this franchise mission impossible: fallout, is one of the very great action films of the entire 2010s, and even though this movie is not as great as that film was, there will be very, very, few action films of this caliber that will match the inventiveness of the action sequences and the overall charisma of the leading star and supporting cast. Cruise once said he’d like to play Ethan Hunt as long as possible. We should all be grateful for that.
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: DEAD RECKONING (PART ONE) IS IN THEATERS NOW