From the plethora of long-running action movie franchises in Hollywood today, Mission Impossible has the most stable track record. Some viewers may object to John Woo’s over-the-top M:I-2 or JJ Abrams’ relatively subdued M:I-3, but after three decades and seven episodes, there’s never been a total dud. That includes dead reckoning part onewhich hits theaters July 12.
The first half of what was rumored to be Tom Cruise’s farewell to the series, Dead cutlery delivers all the high-speed, high-altitude thrills fans have come to expect. Where it’s not grand is the human element. Despite having 143 minutes to make his story halfway, Dead cutlery spares no time in making his characters feel worthy of the excitement unfolding around them. This time around, superspy Ethan Hunt feels overshadowed by star and producer Tom Cruise and his own unquenchable desire to climb buildings, cling to airplanes and sprint across rooftops. It makes for a great cinema experience, but not necessarily a great movie.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING PART ONE ★★1.2 (2.5/4 stars)
dead reckoning part one pits Tom Cruise against his two mortal enemies: gravity and computers. Cruise’s willingness to risk his body in the name of cinema has become a major selling point in all of his films, and this one has some truly remarkable stunts. (This featurette about making Dead cutlery(‘s signature motorcycle parachute jump is as thrilling as the movie itself.) It almost goes without saying that the action in this movie is a lot better than this summer’s other blockbusters. Cruise is right about the benefits of getting as much aerial and automotive action on camera as possible, and director Christopher McQuarrie is more than up to the film’s many technical challenges.
Cruise’s other enemy is the one we’re all battling right now: our own aging amid the rise of artificial intelligence. Like last year’s Top gun: Maverick, Cruise’s character must prove himself capable of defeating the machine designed to replace him. This time the villain is the Entity, an AI designed by the US government for espionage and sabotage and has become sentient. Control of the Entity can make any nation the new undisputed superpower, assuming it can be controlled at all. So Ethan Hunt and his team set out to destroy the Entity before any government can lay claim to it.
Of course, Tom Cruise versus a computer program wouldn’t necessarily make for an immersive movie theater, so we’ve got some flesh-and-blood obstacles on deck too. Esai Morales plays Gabriel, a figure from Ethan’s past who is now the Entity’s ambassador to the physical world. Vanessa Kirby returns to chew the scenery as the White Widow Alanna Mitsopolis (and if only more of the cast would rise to her camp level). Pom Klementieff appears as a classy but mostly quiet enforcer, and Henry Czerny reprises his role from the beginning. Mission Impossible movie as the shady American intelligence baron Eugene Kittridge. Each brings a different variety of threat, but unlike the James Bond movies, Mission Impossible has never been about memorable, larger-than-life villains. Cruise has only been surpassed once in the series, by the incomparable Phillip Seymour Hoffman in M:I-3and that should never happen again.
While the lack of an iconic villain isn’t a huge loss, especially considering the movie’s chilling and puzzling computer threat, it’s a shame Hunt and his crew don’t have more time to function as humans. Dead cutlery reunites Ethan with the crew he has gradually adapted over the course of the series. This is the third go-around for Ilsa Faust, Rebecca Ferguson’s stone-cold assassin, the fifth for Benji Dunn, Simon Pegg’s exhausted computer nerd, and the seventh for Ving Rhames’ tech wizard Luther Stickell. Still, the characters have to constantly verbally remind the audience how important they are to each other, because otherwise they would feel more like colleagues than family. 2019 Mission: Impossible – Fallout saw these characters actively display their devotion to each other, as well as highlighting the emotional weight of Ethan’s world-saving work. In Dead cutlery, their intimacy is considered a given. Quiet moments are few and far between, with the time between action sequences taken up by dense technical conversations about plot complications. As if desperate to keep this dialogue from slowing the pace, McQuarrie and editor Eddie Hamilton rarely let a character finish a sentence without moving from one close-up to another of the same character from a different angle. The disorienting effect is certainly intentional, but it is also distracting.
The exception to all my complaints here is Grace, the new character played by Hayley Atwell of Marvel fame. Atwell’s crafty and slippery thief is introduced as Dead cutlery‘s second clue, but structurally it’s her story. Grace is the only character to see real growth, and as unfortunate as it may be that her development comes at the expense of the rest of the supporting cast (especially Rebecca Ferguson), this investment could prove worthwhile if Atwell is tapped to become the wear series. ahead. Atwell demonstrates the charm, reach, and cardiac conditioning it takes to lead Mission Impossibleshould Cruise and Paramount (PARA) finally decide to pass the torch.
Which brings us back to the Ethan Hunt of it all. At his best, Ethan is the anti-Bond, a secret agent who refuses to accept the moral compromise and collateral damage inherent in global espionage. Franchise entries M:I-3 And Fallout explore Ethan’s impossible attempts to maintain normal human relationships. Dead cutlery teases that Ethan is finally getting some backstory Part two, but it also highlights how little we understand the character at this point. Throughout the film, the sinister Entity asks characters what matters most to them. The story is set up to challenge whether Ethan is more committed to his mission or his friends’ lives; what surprised me is not that I didn’t know, but that I didn’t care. It took going back and looking again Fallout to remember I was invested in these characters in the first place.
Perhaps the film itself is not so much to blame as the film’s promotion. I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t some kind of horseshoe effect emphasizing the insane length Cruise and company went through to pull off the action. Can the fact that a movie star really jumps on that bike become so obvious that you immediately skip caring for the character to being impressed with the actor?
Tom Cruise can convince me that his motorcycle stunts are real. He can convince me that the wind on his face is real and the G-force he is experiencing is real. But the thing is, he doesn’t have to. She Are Real. It’s his job to convince me that Ethan Hunt is real, and he didn’t. If the wild stunts on camera don’t lead me to believe that Ethan Hunt, not Tom Cruise jumps on that bike, they might as well have reproduced it in a computer.
Observer Reviews are regular reviews of new and notable movies.