‘Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part 1’ or Can a Movie Be Just Pure Spectacle? Yes, Yes it Can…

Anyone who reads my reviews regularly knows I’m usually all about story. Is the narrative gripping? Am I invested in the characters? These are questions I demand answers to in most films. Recently I wrote a whole piece about how Pixar is making movies based on concept pitches more than narratives or stories and how that was a problem.

Well, there are exceptions to every rule and Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part 1 is such an exception. I am not now nor have I ever been invested in the story or characters of this franchise or this film, but the set pieces are so thrilling and achieved with such flair that I am entertained.

In a certain respect it’s more like watching a reality show than a movie. I can practically hear the announcer saying ‘This week on ‘Will Tom Cruise Die? he jumps off a cliff while riding a motorcycle.” This shouldn’t be enough to satisfy me, but I’ve seen the film twice and left with my jaw on the floor both times. They are just that good.

They do try to sprinkle in mumbo-jumbo about AI, magic keys and “the entity” but I could care less. Some of my friends who are actually invested in this universe were a little disappointed in what happens to the characters, particularly a fan-favorite I won’t spoil, but I barely remember what happens from movie-to-movie in this franchise let alone be invested in current characters. Last year’s Top Gun Maverick was way more impactful character and plot-wise than any of the Mission Impossible movies including this one.

I did enjoy the overall team spirit to the action Dead Reckoning Part 1 had that some of the other MI films haven’t had. This one was more than just the Tom Cruise show. A friend of mine felt it was a little cult-like in the call for unity and loyalty to the group, and I suppose that’s fair, but creating a sense of family goes along with the territory for this type of action film these days (I probably would have been less generous to Fast X if I had seen this film first. They even both have similar chases in Italy. This film being the far superior of the two with perhaps one of the best car chases I’ve ever seen on film.)

There are definitely times in this film where the exposition becomes too much, and I become anxious for the next stunt and then they give it to us and I’m happy. I suppose everyone is allowed to have a stupid movie that they like, and Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part 1 is mine for this summer. It’s dopey but thrilling, and I recommend seeing it on the biggest screen possible while you still have the chance.

7 out of 10

Smile worthy

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