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Review: Tom Cruise’s ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’ tackles world fears about AI

MANILA, Philippines — When "Top Gun: Maverick" came out last year, the film industry praised Tom Cruise for "saving cinema."

With the seventh installment of the "Mission: Impossible" franchise, Cruise should prepare to receive laurels once again.

"Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning: Part One" sees Cruise's Ethan Hunt back for another crucial mission, one that puts the very fate of the world's security and intelligence at risk, and hardly anyone can be trusted than ever before.

Hunt and his colleagues are tasked with collecting two parts of a key, which is said to gain control or utterly destroy a rogue artifical intelligence (AI) that has access to the global digital network, and Hunt is losing people and things to rely on during what might be his most personal mission yet.

Moviegoers in 2023 must be so spoiled for getting such rich action films in "John Wick 4," "Extraction 2," and now "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning: Part One" — ironically all are franchise sequels that seem to improve on predecessors.

The "Mission: Impossible" franchise saw a rebirth in 2011's "Ghost Protocol," but many will not forget the original from 1996 which set the espionage tone before action sequences gradually got more exciting in subsequent entries.

What makes "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning: Part One" so impressive is how it maintains that skillful action magnificence but harkens back to the heart-stopping spy thriller nature of the films past.

Director Christopher McQuarrie and co-writer Erik Jendresen strike that perfect balance which makes even conversations and dialogues as tense as the death-defying action set-pieces.

Related: WATCH: Tom Cruise puts life on line anew in new 'Mission: Impossible 7' trailer

That is also a trustworthy testament to the editing of Eddie Hamilton, but throw in the equally balanced cinematography of Fraser Taggart and one is presented with some of the best action films in the 21st century.

Adding to the thrilling nature is returning composer Lorne Balfe, who improves on the iconic "Mission: Impossible" theme and his past work including "Fallout" yet adding audible stakes to what Hunt has to undergo. The sound editors deserve a clap for helping in this front as well.

With everything spectacular happening behind the camera, the world will never forget the man in front of it who has made it all work for nearly 30 years.

Cruise is constantly proving the term Hollywood has coined him, "the last true movie star," and it's not hard to see why given how much he literally lays out for the franchise, and for this film in particular.

The man puts his life on the line to ride motorcycles off cliffs, drive cars through cramped streets, and run atop speeding trains just to give audiences the cinematic experience they deserve — and the movie is all the better for it because of that commitment.

It's also an indication how intricately thought such set-pieces are because while some are a bit similar to past entries and entirely other films, they still manage to be so unique and just as exhilarating.

There is also some providence in a star like Cruise racing to control or destroy an AI seeking to wreak havoc just as the world as we know it is facing lifechanging issues to the future of filmmakers and the work force.

Related: How Tom Cruise survived the end of the star era

Of Cruise doesn't entirely keep the spotlight to himself; constant companions Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson are still a joy to watch. If anything, it should come as a surprise that Vanessa Kirby is the one that delivers the least among returnees.

Esai Morales, and by extension Pom Klementieff, are formidable additions that give the new threat a face and physical capabilities, and many long-time fans will appreciate Henry Czerny's Eugene Kittridge coming back since the very first film.

There is surely more ahead for Hunt and the characters that survive this film, but what people wouldn't give to see are an exasperated Shea Wigham and Greg Tarzan Davis right on his heels.

"Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" and "John Wick 4" so far stand as the best action films of 2023, but where "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning: Part One" bests the former — in the eyes of some — is how complete it works as a first parter.

Cruise has worked with several respected directors in this franchise — Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams, Brad Bird, and now McQuarrie — and he has never failed to deliver.

It must be said again, the stakes have never been higher for Cruise as an actor and for his seemingly immortal character Hunt, but what lies ahead can only be worth the anticipation.

As long as Cruise has legs to run on, he is never going to stop.

"Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning: Part One" is now showing in Philippine cinemas.

RELATED: A timeless Tom Cruise takes flight again: 'Top Gun: Maverick' review

*****
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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