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Review Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (2023): Heavily flawed but action wise it is exciting!

genre: action, adventure, thriller, espionage

First, I love this franchise. So let's be clear about that. And I did enjoy this film for the most part. I do think that, plotwise and characterwise, the film is heavily flawed.

Now, I do have to state for the sake of fairness that I was tired and did manage to doze off for a few seconds a couple of times. For me to happen in the cinema is extremely rare. Actually, this has never happened to me before. Also, usually, I do get ultra pumped when the action is exhilarating. Thank god, this was the case for a large part of the film. But the plot wasn't as good or serviceable as in MI: Fallout for example. I get that A.I. now is seen as the most compelling and dangerous threat to people and countries. Still, it would have been nice had the perspective on it be a little more realistic. The Entity as it is called apparently can operate independently, but at the same time can control people. Not by using some kind of mind control gadget, I honestly would have preferred that, but by calling out people's timelines, specifically, future events and outcomes. The Entity, basically, is like a god. I am not going to pretend that I am a huge expert on A.I. but I do know what in practice really can be done with it. Sure, it has advanced significantly, but it still can't do the most essential things like understanding the true meanings of articles and videos or deal with unexpected obstacles and interruptions. I get that the fear is real and that we should be very critical. But the moment characters act out in a way where they defy their own personality, it has become stupid to me. And unfortunately, this happens a few times in this film and I just couldn't take it seriously.

Mind you, at one point I just accepted The Entity as this omnipotent being and had a much better viewing experience because of it. However, there are some pacing issues. I watched the film with a friend, and he seemed to be very invested into the events. It could be that for him, the premise was more surprising than it was for me. Or perhaps he was more willing to believe than I was. And if you aren't then the film will become challenging in the slower scenes full of exposition. Where a lot is said but mean very little. In my opinion, they easily could have cut the duration of the film and really start to wonder whether having the film split in two parts was a smart idea. Due to the writers and SAG strike in Hollywood, productions for many films has halted. This is also the case for Dead Reckoning Part Two. It's not like I am very eager to find out what's next. However, I very much would like to watch the second part while I still care enough.

Maybe it's me. But I always liked the idea of a whole team doing the impossible, where each member had their part to play. You would expect that in the most apocalyptic episode of the franchise, more members of the IMF would be involved. Of course, Ethan Hunt, is the hero of the story. But he would be nothing without the help of the other members. More and more, the roles of those other members are minimized. And you know, I personally would have found it awesome that this film would have shown us the members doing their own thing with all the pro and cons that come with their tasks. A film of this magnitude demands it. Unfortunately, this never happens. All the focus is on Ethan and Grace, played by Hayley Atwell. She is one of the saving graces (yes, pun intended) of the film. Ever since Captain America she couldn't do wrong with me. She is beautiful, sexy and very believable as a no-nonsense woman who can kick ass. She can really act. This is proven in the scene where she finally realizes Ethan and co do have her back. It's one of the few times I did connect with the characters and what they were going through.

This also is the case in most of the action sequences, but especially, in the last 45 minutes. It features the stunt shown in the trailer. Yes, that stunt is incredibly impressive. However, what comes after was real thrilling and exciting. It's one of the main reasons why I do have somewhat mixed feelings about this film. I truly want to love it as the majority does, but I can't. I mean, compared to MI: Fallout this part is a little disappointing. I was expecting more. This film would have benefitted from proper intrigue like in Rogue Nation or the original. But they really dropped the ball on that.

So yes, Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One does deliver on the action front, but everything else has taken a step down. I hope they will improve on this in Part Two. 

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