Movie review: ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’
In a timely move, the folks behind the slick, vibrant espionage thriller “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” (Paramount) have added an experimental Artificial Intelligence project run amok to their roster of villains. So if moviegoers weren’t afraid of AI before seeing the picture, they may well be afterward.
In fact, an early scene in which various U.S. intelligence service chiefs — most prominently CIA Director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) — detail the potential havoc the unleashed AI could wreak begins to sound like a forecast of the apocalypse. But, of course, the real aim here is fun not fear and the good news is that this glossy diversion is suitable for a fairly broad audience.
This is the seventh installment in the blockbuster franchise derived from the CBS-TV series that premiered in 1966 and that first came to the big screen 30 years later. So by now, neither Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt nor his duo of closest collaborators, tech whiz Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and gadget meister Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), require much introduction.
This time out, the freelance operatives — who have an on-again, off-again, plausibly deniable partnership with the U.S. government — are in pursuit of a two-part mechanical key that provides the only means of shutting the AI down and thus stymying its plan to rule the world. Athwart their path on this globetrotting quest stand at least two formidable opponents.
One is notorious black market arms dealer Alanna Mitsopolis (Vanessa Kirby), aka the White Widow. The other is a mysterious figure, known only as Gabriel (Esai Morales), who seems to have played a pivotal role in Ethan’s past.
A duo of adversaries calls for a like number of allies. So Hunt reestablishes his relationship with ex-MI6 Agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) while also recruiting the aid of skilled pickpocket and newfound love interest Grace (Hayley Atwell). Despite her chemistry with Ethan, however, sly, free-spirited Grace’s true intentions remain doubtful.
Director and co-writer Christopher McQuarrie’s script, penned with Erik Jendresen, makes brief references to serving the greater good, holding fast to the truth, recognizing the inherent dignity of every human being and placing the welfare of others ahead of your own. But the real agenda here consists, needless to say, of spectacular stunts, hair-raising chases and suave trickery.
Regrettably, the gravity of various situations is occasionally underlined by breaches of the Second Commandment. Yet the mayhem is bloodless and Hunt’s Bond-like way with women is mostly kept in the background. So older teens, at least, can be green-lighted to get an eyeful of his latest spectacular adventure.
The film contains persistent stylized, but sometimes harsh, violence and about a half-dozen instances each of profanity and milder swearing. The OSV News classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
—John Mulderig, OSV News