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



Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One delivers the expected thrills, stunts and over the top action set-pieces we’ve come to expect with Tom Cruise proving that there are few who can match him in action cinema today. The film is let down by a bloated runtime where every scene feels like it goes on for too long and the script could have been a little sharper too. Aside from that this is still a hugely entertaining movie especially in IMAX where your ribs will literally be vibrating as the action unfolds before you.

Plot: Ethan Hunt and the IMF team must track down a terrifying new weapon that threatens all of humanity if it falls into the wrong hands. With control of the future and the fate of the world at stake, a deadly race around the globe begins. Confronted by a mysterious, all-powerful enemy, Ethan is forced to consider that nothing can matter more than the mission — not even the lives of those he cares about most.

Review: After “saving the box office” last year with Top Gun: Maverick Tom Cruise returns in the 7th entry of the Mission: Impossible franchise entitled Dead Reckoning Part One. This has been one of my most anticipated movies of 2023 as I knew we could expect thrilling stunts and set-pieces the likes of which we only see in this franchise.

In that respect Dead Reckoning didn’t disappoint as there are some incredible action scenes; Tom Cruise has nothing to prove at this stage as he is one of the most fearless stars out there putting his life on the line for our entertainment doing stunts that would make circus performers gasp.

My main issue with the film (like most blockbusters these days) is that every scene seems to go on longer than it needs to unnecessarily dragging out the runtime to nearly 3 hours. I really noticed the length of this movie and I even leaned over to my brother at one point and asked “why won’t this end?” There were several scenes that could have been shortened or excised completely (like the entire opening sequence in the desert) just to make it feel tighter.

One of the other problems is that we’ve seen all the best bits from the trailers; the film doesn’t offer anything  that we hadn’t seen in the previews aside from a few fight scenes and an overlong car chase in Rome. Didn’t we just get that in Fast X? There must be good tax breaks in Italy right now…

I also felt the script could have been better as there isn’t any memorable dialogue but it’s serviceable in order to propel the story forward so our team can chase after the MacGuffin (in this case a key).

This makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy the film but I actually did; I thought the whole idea of “The Entity” was something interesting as A.I. seems to be the big talking point in the news right now, so I don’t think there was anything that pushes credibility on that front. I also love Hayley Atwell as Grace who you are never quite sure whose side she is on. Vanessa Kirby is also fantastic as Alanna as she has such an expressive face and at times can look quite unhinged. Pom Klementieff is also a welcome addition as the villain Gabriel’s henchman Paris.

Gabriel (Esai Morales) himself is fine as the antagonist who is working for “The Entity” and he always seems to be one step ahead of Ethan and the gang at every turn. He’s not especially exciting and no one ever matches the awesomeness of Henry Cavill in the last movie. We also don’t get any fight scenes here that come close to the bathroom brawl from Fallout.

Lorne Balfe once again proves he is one of the best composers in Hollywood today and the opening theme tune is one of the finest iterations of the series. It’s his score that propels the action and really helps to ramp up the tension. The sound design was also impressive as my insides were literally rattling with every explosion and chase but I could also hear the dialogue clearly too which was refreshing.

This feels like a genuine sequel to the first movie especially with the return of Henry Czerny as Kittridge who seems to have not aged a day since the original film. He’s another character who you aren’t quite sure if he can be fully trusted but it makes him feel believable in that kind of profession.

Overall, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One has everything you’d want to see in a blockbuster with jaw dropping action and stunts but it could have been edited down to a more reasonable runtime as I am just fed up of every major movie being nearly three hours. I’ll be interested to see just how big the box office will be as I think I’m not the only person out there who is sick of movies that don’t know when to end.