It’s probably been said times and times again, but the Mission: Impossible franchise is most probably the single unique example of an action franchise done right through time. As Tom Cruise gets older and older, the movies get even better. Hard to believe at this point, but Cruise is about to celebrate his 60th birthday and he remains as committed to shooting the absolute best stunts in the industry…as an important rival to Christopher Nolan’s cinema. Now having wrapped the seventh installment in this franchise, the teaser trailer of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One, we have to wait a full year for this movie to come out, as Paramount Pictures and the producers decided to push it back due to the aftermath of COVID-19. Not just that, but this movie will also be divided into two parts, giving us an idea of how big the stakes are in this next IMF adventure.
We were first introduced to the character of Ethan Hunt and the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) 26 years ago in the first Mission: Impossible (1996), directed by Brian De Palma. Many characters and locations come and go in each new installment, the directors at the helm and Cruise himself were able to increase the stakes even more, so that our movie experience becomes even more thrilling as years go by. In all honesty, the last installment, Mission: Impossible – Fallout remains an absolute monster of a film, showing us possibly the best stunts in an action film in recent memory (including a real Halo jump filmed in midair and a helicopter chase where Cruise was actually in the pilot’s seat). Can M:I7 top this? Chances are…yes.
Although we know very little about the plot devices and the setting of the next film, we have a few observations and expectations to share before we get excited for summer 2023.
Last time we saw Ethan Hunt and his team (Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson) in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, they have just stopped the leader of the Syndicate, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), and his accomplices from detonating a nuclear device near an international water source in Kashmir, near the Indian border. Yet again, the world was almost destroyed in a blink of an eye, but the IMF stopped it just in time. Ethan was wounded after his brutal helicopter fight against the CIA traitor named Walker (Henry Cavill), but was reunited with his past flame, Julia (Michelle Monaghan) who is now married, encouraging him to find love in the arms of his British equivalent, Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson).
Dead Reckoning seems to pick up not long after the events of the sixth film, where Ethan and the crew will be faced yet again with another significant threat that could change the world as we know it (nothing less of course). We don’t know much about the story, but brand new characters are being introduced and older characters are making a comeback. We know for sure that there will be a new co-lead for Cruise; Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) is playing a mysterious woman named Grace. Vanessa Kirby is also set to come back as the White Widow, a very strong character from the last film, and to my great satisfaction, original Mission: Impossible character Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) is also set to return after being absent for the last five films.
Considering the following narrative will be split into two parts, that is a good indicator that Ethan will struggle in his battle against the main antagonists (we expect characters played by Rob Delaney, Esai Morales and Pom Klementieff), even posing the question of if the ‘bad guys’ could actually win at the end of Part One, forcing Ethan to give it his all in Part Two to save the day. There’s an interesting narration from Kittridge in the teaser trailer, telling Ethan that he will have to ‘pick a side’, which could imply that the antagonists’ end objective might be quite noble, even if the means are less so. Mission: Impossible movies are pretty good at increasing the stakes of the plot or the McGuffin in the story film after film, this should be no different. If I were them, I would use current news and the 2022 international landscape as a background for the story, there’s so much to use. The outbreak of COVID could be an interesting main plot point as a dark cloud over the mission, the risk of a recession looming as war rages in different parts of the world, or even the political instability in Afghanistan (since President Biden removed the US troups). This would make the plot scarier and not necessarily over the top, which could be a nice change. Ethan and his team seem to travel a lot in this first part – I especially noticed a hot desert where Ethan travels by horse like a Mujahideen during the Russian wars in the Middle East in the 80s. In the Mission: Impossible franchise, Ethan and his team travel to distinct cities in every movie like James Bond does in his different missions (although, we can skip London this time around).
We Could Lose a Main Character
The writers of the Mission: Impossible films have been pretty shy since the last couple of entries, as all the main heroes of the IMF seem to survive (with a few exceptions in Mission: Impossible and Mission: Impossible III). This time, I think they should risk it: the conclusion of Part One should be the death of one of Ethan’s allies and close friend, which would make things personal for Part Two. Personally, my money is on either Luther (Ving Rhames) or Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson). Luther is Ethan’s best friend since the very first movie and his death would be the biggest blow for our main hero. If Ilsa dies, on the other end, this will show Ethan that he can never ever commit to a stable relationship with a woman, as all of his prospects either die or have to exile. To make things dramatic, this is one of the best plot devices there is to make Dead Reckoning even more memorable than the others. The action and the stunts do not lack gravitas, but the story and character arcs sometimes do.
The Most Dangerous Stunts in the Franchise
This is pretty much a given, as Cruise was able to offer us better action scenes and dangerous stunts as years went by. If the trend continues, I expect grand things for Dead Reckoning, most possibly in the climax of Part Two. First of all, we know Tom Cruise to be a runner, so he’ll ‘Run, Forrest, Run’ in this movie as well. The teaser already shows us a motorcycle stunt in a forest area, before he actually jumps off a cliff for a parachuted jump. The scene is cut rapidly, but we know for sure Cruise is doing that stunt live and we can’t wait to see what happens after his descent. There is also a fight on the top of a train, similar to what we saw James Bond do in Turkey in Skyfall. There’s a cute little car chase in a yellow Fiat in the streets of Italy, similar to what we saw in the previous film, but which also includes a BMW. Speaking of which…
A Shit-Load of BMWs!
You can be sure that a BMW will make an appearance in the movie, either as a motorcycle or a car (or both), as the company has been a regular sponsor of the franchise since the fourth installment, Ghost Protocol. Every time Ethan was implicated in a car or bike chase since 2011, he’s been on a BMW. Cool stuff, even though a little redundant and absurd if we think about it.
The Return of Kittridge Could Mean Something Big!
Huge excitement on my end, as I’m happy to witness the return of Kittridge (Henry Czerny), who was Ethan’s original superior at the CIA in the very first movie. A good character, but illustrated as an obstacle to avoid as he was sure Ethan was a rogue agent, he was a chilling agency supervisor. His return after five films could mean something important to the story. It is quite possible that Kittridge continued mounting in the government food chain and might be a close advisor to the President. If the IMF is compromised, Kittridge might be the only person with the clearance to give Ethan a new assignment. Whatever his role is, we like having him back! I invite you to revisit a scene from the first Mission: Impossible movie featuring him and his cold approach to untrustworthy agents.
Needless to say, we’re excited for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One. It’s a little disappointing that Cruise, Paramount and Sundance decided to hold its release until 2023 since COVID-19 isn’t impeeding box office numbers anymore. However, considering how well Top Gun: Maverick is performing in cinemas (another Cruise & Paramount property), it is understandable that they do not want a rivalry between their two productions, even if the films would have been released months between each other. There is huge potential for Dead Reckoning to offer something a little bigger and more personal in terms of storytelling. Although we are pretty sure it will offer the spectacle we’ve come to expect from a Mission: Impossible movie, this is their chance to deliver a more ‘realistic’ and compelling script. This is the first of two parts, let us hope that they will make the cliffhanger between both movies important enough for both us and the characters.
Ranking the Mission: Impossible Movies
What makes it more challenging in ranking the movies today is that most of them are pretty solid, so my list won’t be so sensational. I recommend revisiting all the installments, no exception.
Mission : Impossible – Fallout (2018)
Mission : Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
Mission : Impossible (1996)
Mission : Impossible III (2006)
Mission : Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Mission: Impossible II (2000)
What do you think Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning will have in store for audiences and what’s your favourite film in the franchise? Let us know!
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