Review: ​Cruise’s Mission Impossible is impossibly good​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

​Mission Impossible proves impossibly good (contributed pic)​Mission Impossible proves impossibly good (contributed pic)
​Mission Impossible proves impossibly good (contributed pic)
Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (12A), (163 mins)

We know Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) isn’t going to come to serious harm, don’t we? Surely we do? But blimey, it’s a seriously nerve-shredding final ten minutes in this very model of the perfect action adventure film. Your heart sinks a little when you see the 163 minutes running time. It sinks a little further when you see that the film comes with the dreaded Part One quantifier. But this really is that rarest of rare things – a film which goes past two and a half hours and yet really does manage to fill every single one of the minutes its lasts with tension, with action, with plot, with momentum and with huge charisma. Indiana Jones last week had a fabulous conclusion but meandered saggingly in the middle; Dead Reckoning Part One, by contrast, is much less episodic, has a fabulously easy flow and never once gives the impression it isn’t actually going anywhere.

Part of the fun is what makes it so bang up to date: the fact that Ethan, the action adventure guy who knowingly takes on the impossible missions, is fighting this time his most modern foe, a truth-eating digital parasite, an enemy which is both nowhere and everywhere, an AI fiend known as the Entity which can rewrite absolutely everything even as you are pursuing it. Complicating Ethan’s mission is that just about everyone wants it, knowing that to control it would be to control everything – until, of course, it controls them. It’s the kind of plot to send plenty of very modern-day shivers through the lot of us with all its overtones of just what we might all be blithely walking into right now in a world soon to be transformed by AI. It’s a compelling tale. But it helps of course that it is brilliantly told, with huge flair and invention and endless skill from all concerned.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As ever, there is something slightly one-dimensional about Ethan Hunt and indeed about Tom Cruise himself, but that’s a big part of the attraction of this single-minded man on a mission. Adding depth to him are the ladies that surround him in terms of just what they bring out in him. We’ve got old buddy Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson); but much more of an accomplice, not always willingly, is Hayley Atwell’s pickpocket Grace, a crim you’d imagine to be out of her depth but she keeps up gamely, a lovely performance which somehow humanises so much of what is at stake.

Completing the trio of ladies is Vanessa Kirby who is superb – especially when she doubles up. It’s terrifically done – though to say more would wreck it. Basically, you can’t trust anyone or anything (apart from Ethan); every last appearance is deceptive.

The result is a film which is genuinely thrilling, brilliantly, gorgeously shot (the Rome scenes are fab; the train finale is astonishing) and paced to perfection throughout a running time which really ought to have been far, far too long. Instead it romps along hugely enjoyably even if there are times when you feel you are clinging to comprehension by your fingertips. And when it ends, and what an ending it is, you’ll nod happily at the thought, dear viewer, that this was merely part one.

Related topics: