Movie Review: Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One (McQuarrie, 2023)

Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One Review
Image Source:

Movie: Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One

Production Companies: Skydance, TC Productions

Director: Christopher McQuarrie 

Producers: Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie

Scriptwriters: Christopher McQuarrie, Eric Jendreson

Main Cast: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby

Release Date: July 12th 2023 (US)

Running Time: 163 minutes

Certificate: 12A


Once again how on earth has Tom Cruise not died yet? Whether it’s *that* 20 minute car chase or *that* very stupid motorcycle stunt, the real mission impossible is whether or not there’s a stunt Tom Cruise won’t do. Anyway, Dead Reckoning Part One is bigger and probably the second best film in the franchise (if only because of a lacklustre script), so there’s some lofty expectations for Dead Reckoning Part 2 next year. Anyway, let’s get into Tom Cruise’s yearly action filled extravaganza which somehow keeps topping the prior film.


Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One once again follows IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) as he is tasked with recovering the latest world ending McGuffin, The Entity. This has hacked into every major defence system, military system and intelligence networks and is at the centre of a race between most of the world to claim its power. Naturally, Hunt isn’t doing this alone as he’s got his usual team of Benji (Pegg), Luther (Rhames) and Ilsa (Ferguson) with a newcomer Grace (Atwell). And yes there’s plenty of everyone running and some very over the top action sequences which I will discuss later on…


Stunts in Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One

Now I’m well aware of the main reason that people watch Mission Impossible: to see the latest insane stunt Tom Cruise will pull in the name of cinema. And he really outdoes even his own insane standards here. Just look at the motorcycle jump off the cliff which was the first thing filmed to see if the film could be done. And boy does it with the camera tracking Cruise as he jumps before panning rapidly upwards as he makes the jump.

Frankly stunning stuff there. Or how about the 20 minute car chase through Rome. Here, the camera does a brilliant job of highlighting the intensity of the scene. It does this via being both very mobile and stationary. Like when Ethan and Grace go around a corner and the camera pans right with them. Doubly impressive given how small the car Cruise is driving.. Anyway, the fact the camera is that fluid really helps the action scenes feel polished which you’d probably expect for a film that cost $291 million but I digress….

Runtime and Script in Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One

Now while I appreciate the studio for splitting the film into two parts, the fact the first part still runs in at 2 hrs 49 minutes is a bit much. This is mostly felt in the third act as despite a very fun fight sequence on top of a train the script just isn’t built for nearly 3 hours. The main problem with the script is how it lacks enough material to keep a good pace throughout. Take for example, the time between the brilliant action set pieces. Most of it just devolves into countless betrayals and shock turns to try and get the audience to hang on. Just look at the sheer amount of times the word entity is mentioned.

While it’s not so bad initially, hearing every other word be entity for nearly 3 hours is exhausting. Also, look at the decision to kill Ilsa off which feels like it was born out of a need to shock the audience to keep them interested until the next impressive action sequence. Honestly, could more of the $291 million have been given to the writers? 


To summarise Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One, this is a solid and entertaining enough film with some very dizzying stunts, like the motorcycle jump, but also some mediocre and frankly terrible writing at times. But hey, nobody is ever going to watch Dead Reckoning for the script…

Overall Rating: 7/10 – Respectable

Target Audience: 12+

Content Warning: Moderate Violence and Gore, Mild Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking, Moderate Frightening and Intense Scenes

Recommendation: Yes