The seventh Mission: Impossible film is like the greatest hits of the franchise.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is replete with high-octane scenes that seem to pay homage to those in earlier releases. There is a train rooftop scene that is reminiscent of the climax of the first film, a sandstorm chase that alludes to Ghost Protocol, stunts across a landmark in the UAE that brings to mind the famous Burj Khalifa scene from Ghost Protocol, as well as car chases across a European capital and a litany of breathless fight sequences.
The seventh film of the Mission: Impossible franchise has it all, along with a crowning stunt that makes this latest film a highlight of the action genre.
On paper, Dead Reckoning Part One follows a format that has become idiosyncratic of the franchise. A terrifying cutting-edge weapon puts the state of the world at risk, and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), along with his motley crew of special agents, must overcome the impossible as they race to neutralise the threat.
Except, this time, the weapon is sentient, and is, in itself, the film’s villain, making it arguably the most terrifying of the film series. An artificial intelligence technology called The Entity, has gone rogue, and can hack into and control any computer system across the world – it is a villain that is omnipresent and omniscient. An action film is only as good as its villain, and Hunt’s nemesis in Dead Reckoning is his most formidable yet.
The only hope of containing it is a pair of cruciform keys, which when come together, could reboot the system. The keys themselves have a stunning artefact-like aesthetic to them, which gives the plight to retrieve them an Indiana Jones-like timbre.
In an interview with The National during the film’s Middle East premiere late last month, director Christopher McQuarrie said he wanted the latest instalment of the franchise to be bigger than any of its predecessors, hence he decided to split the film into two parts.
“I wanted to make it more emotional,” he said. “And with that, we were going to end up with a much bigger movie. With Mission: Impossible – Fallout, we were really struggling to get that movie’s running time down. Because of the character emotion that we added to the action, we decided to make a bigger movie and cut it in half.”
McQuarrie and the team seemingly have achieved what they set out to do, because Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is a sprawling epic.
Of course, it’s not all great. Certain parts of the film’s dialogue feel clunky and forced, especially the scene where intelligence agencies gather to debrief on the threat. Lines are dispersed throughout the room in dizzying fashion, and it is an excruciating scene to get through.
But let’s be honest, Mission: Impossible has never reeled audiences to the edge of their seats with its dialogue. It has always sought to make itself the quintessential action film that keeps up with the times with every instalment, and as artificial intelligence technology permeates across various sectors, The Entity comes as an embodiment to how that technology can go terribly wrong.
The film brings back several familiar faces in the fight against The Entity. Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) returns visibly affected by the many near-death experiences he endured in the previous films. Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) is as effortlessly cool as ever, and then there is, of course, Hunt, and star Cruise takes on stunts and fight scenes with a vigour that makes the fact he celebrated 61st birthday earlier this month unbelievable.
There are also several new faces, all of whom bring their own unique imprint to the film. Hayley Atwell plays the mysterious Grace, a light-fingered accomplice who becomes embroiled in Hunt’s fight against The Entity.
The character makes her debut in Abu Dhabi International Airport’s new Midfield Terminal, which is making its first public appearance in the film. The chemistry between Hunt and Grace is immediately palpable, as the two become entwined in a pickpocket dance for one half of the cruciform key.
Then there is Pom Klementieff’s Paris. The Guardians of the Galaxy star takes on the role of a ruthless assassin, who, as the film progresses, displays a more affable side to her.
Between the exhilarating car chase in Rome, the scuffle to find a bomb in the luggage sorting system of the Midfield Terminal, as well as the showcase stunt that has Hunt flying off the side of a mountain in a motorbike, the seventh Mission: Impossible has all the makings to become one of the most memorable film of the series yet.
The cogs are all in place for Dead Reckoning to become the most epic storyline of the franchise, but whether it lives up to that promise remains to be seen in part two.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One will be released in cinemas across the UAE on Sunday, three days before its US and global rollout on Wednesday