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The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

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“Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One” Review: Amazing Stunts, Disappointing Story

Ethan+Hunt+%28Tom+Cruise%29+hangs+off+a+traincar+during+the+final+sequence.
Paramount
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) hangs off a traincar during the final sequence.

In terms of providing an entertaining movie filled with fantastic action sequences and stunts, producers Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise fully deliver with the seventh installment of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. However, especially compared to the previous movie in the series, “Fallout,” the story is disappointing.

Of course, the best part of the movie is the enthralling action scenes. My favorite is the final sequence where Ethan and Grace rush to save themselves and the passengers of a train as it falls off a bombed bridge. There is also an exhilarating airport-chase scene that smoothly incorporates overlapping plotlines.

My biggest problem with the movie is that the villain is ill-defined. The antagonist is a virtual AI network that is vaguely referred to as “the Entity.” However, we are never given a clear indication of how the Entity gained sentience or what its motivations are, which makes the conflict seem contrived. Additionally, it is odd that in order to control the Entity, Ethan Hunt must find a literal gold key: it’s a weird juxtaposition between a modern technology and an ancient storytelling device.

The movie shows us that the Entity has picked a man named Gabriel (Esai Morales) to act as its agent. Frustratingly, the movie never shows how or why the Entity picked Gabriel. The movie repeatedly shows a flashback of Gabriel killing a woman from Ethan’s past, to show that Gabriel and Ethan have a history. The movie relies on this unexplained flashback instead of establishing Ethan’s conflict with Gabriel in any meaningful dialogue. Given that Gabriel has never appeared in a prior “Mission: Impossible” movie, it is annoying that no explanation is given for exactly who the woman is or why Gabriel killed her. While I’m sure these specifics will be revealed in Part Two, I would have preferred some more explanation to be present in Part One so that the plot would have more emotional depth.

The movie practically exchanges one female lead for another, going from Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) to a talented British pickpocket named Grace (Hayley Atwell). The movie kills off Ilsa in a strange way; somehow she ends up in a knife fight against Gabriel. I was disappointed by this because Ilsa is a better character than Grace; Grace is less emotionally complex, and due to her inexperience in global political conflict, she feels like a damsel-in-distress during Ethan’s mission.

A lot of the dialogue in the movie is unrealistic. The camera kept zooming into the person speaking, with their eyes always on the verge of tears, squinting dramatically towards the camera. There’s a particularly melodramatic dialogue between Ethan and Director Eugene Kittridge that was clearly written just for the trailer. Additionally, a lot of the discussion scenes with the CIA or with Benji, Luther and Ethan felt scripted due to the absence of pauses. 

Overall, the movie feels like a setup for “Dead Reckoning Part Two.” While the action sequences were entertaining, the unclear villain and forced dialogue made me unable to appreciate the movie as much as I wanted to. However, I have hope that Part Two, which is currently slated for June 28, 2024, will resolve the unexplained backstories and return the franchise to the standard we’ve come to expect.

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About the Contributor
Ashwin Krishnaswamy, Features Editor & Website Manager
Ashwin Krishnaswamy is a junior and in his third year in Journalism. He is excited to be features editor and website manager this year. Outside of school, Ashwin enjoys playing jazz piano and saxophone, running, and reading science and fiction books.  

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