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Tom Cruise’s Latest Blockbuster Fails To Match The Excitement Of Its Predecessor

Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible falls short of previous film's high bar.

After the success of Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise has been credited with saving Hollywood by giving audiences the highest-grossing film in the domestic market last year.

Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, and Simon Pegg in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023). (CHRISTIAN BLACK/PARAMOUNT PICTURES)

The days of the action star are long behind us, and Tom Cruise is one of the few names left that inspires audiences to leave their homes and go to a movie theater. Say what you want about Tom Cruise as a person, but as a filmmaker, he is one of the few people left in the industry who appreciates the film-going audience.  

Cruise is hoping to parlay the momentum of Top Gun: Maverick to his latest Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, a movie that started filming right at the height of COVID-19 and was met with numerous production delays due to circumstances beyond their control.  Audio of Tom Cruise yelling at production staff behind the scenes for violating COVID protocols went viral, proving just how much Cruise had on the line with this movie.

Tom Cruise and Vanessa Kirby in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023). 

Cruise fought with Paramount Pictures to obtain more funding for the film as the movie went well over budget, finishing with a production budget of close to $300 million dollars, making this one the most expensive movies ever produced.

While the road to releasing this movie was anything but smooth, what works in the film’s favor is that there is a lot of momentum following 2018’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout which got high remarks from audiences.

Hollywood has not yet figured out how to gauge audiences with a movie that is only half of a much bigger story.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One begins with an experimental AI that has gone rogue, and it’s become a sentient entity with the ability to hack and manipulate any piece of technology in the world.  

After sinking a Russian submarine, it is believed that two keys that can possibly control or destroy the entity are being sold on the black market, and it is up to Ethan Hunt and his team to retrieve the keys before a foreign government uses the entity for nefarious means.

Pom Klementieff in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023).  

The deeper they get, the more they realize that the entity is far more complex and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.  

There’s a reason why many believe Tom Cruise is going to die filming a stunt for one of these movies. With each movie that passes, he finds a way to up the stakes for the next stunt.  

Mission: Impossible has turned into a solid spy movie with over-the-top stunts Cruise is still able to pull off at the age of 60. The feature stunt of this movie involves Cruise driving a motorcycle off a cliff in order to catch a moving train. 

Mission: Impossible introduces Captain America actress Hayley Atwell to the series as a thief with expertise in sleight of hand. The movie shifts the focus to a more female-centric cast this time around.  Rebecca Ferguson and Vanessa Kirby return to reprise their roles from the last movie. Pom Klementieff, who is known for her role in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, also enters the stage as a French-speaking terrorist giving the women more time to shine. 

Ethan Hunt and his IMF team must track down a dangerous weapon before it falls into the wrong hands. 

While the film has its positives, there’s no denying that this is a significant step down from the previous film Mission: Impossible Fallout which had far more action and far more impressive feats than this movie does.

One of the biggest problems here is the lack of an antagonist. The film doesn’t have a villain because the bad guy is artificial intelligence. Interestingly enough, a film that was written in 2019 portrays an AI villain that has gone rogue and views itself as God among men.  

In an attempt to counterbalance the lack of a physical villain, Esai Morales is introduced as Gabriel, a terrorist with a past association with Ethan, who is working for the entity as it means to take over the world. The problem is Morales isn’t around for enough of the film to make a real impact.

Tom Cruise had a hard time with the ending of this film, deciding whether to end it on a cliffhanger or not. Despite its 2 hour and 43 minute run time, there isn’t as much action as you would expect from a Mission: Impossible movie. Part one tries to focus more on the story than the previous six films, a departure from the expectations of the audience.

While much is happening on screen, the film is disconnected from emotion, and the story isn’t that compelling. There is enough action to distract audiences from that fact. Dead Reckoning Part One is a rather slow-moving film for a franchise that has been built on fast-paced action with over-the-top stunts.

The film suffers from having a bar set too high with the previous movie, and we won’t know until next year whether part two can make up for the lack of excitement that part one has to offer.

See or skip: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One failes to live up the identity of the story line from the previous film set. 


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