An “invisible” submarine is inexplicably located and then fooled into torpedoing itself. A sophisticated artificial intelligence program known as “The Entity” has gone rogue. A two-piece key is the only thing that can command or destroy the Entity before it takes control of the world. The key has been missing ever since the self-immolation of the sub. The mission, should Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) choose to accept it, is to retrieve the two parts of the key before they fall into the wrong hands. Tun, tun, tun-tun-tun, tun…

Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One wastes no time getting things rolling. The film’s 25-minute prologue sets the stage. The familiar syncopated theme begins playing right after, promising audiences a wild thrill ride. After six movies, the stakes and the action go up a notch. However, making the latest mission even more, well, impossible delivers mixed results.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning – Part One from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.

Audiences join Hunt and his team on a globe-trekking adventure searching for the key. Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) emerges from hiding to help on the mission. Hunt’s trusty sidekicks, Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg), stick around even as the situation becomes increasingly precarious.

The global race for possession of the key and control of the Entity introduces a slew of worthy adversaries for the spy quartet.

A thief for hire, Grace (Haley Atwell), becomes involved in something much more dangerous than she initially thought. She becomes a complicated thorn in Hunt’s side, but her skills may ultimately be useful to him and the team.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.

Gabriel (Esai Morales) is much like his Biblical namesake. Chosen by the omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient A.I., he must proclaim its will to the people and retrieve the key to ensure The Entity’s self-preservation. Ethan and Gabriel’s intertwined past threatens to make the mission personal for Hunt, further complicating matters.

The White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) returns with self-enrichment intentions. Agent Jasper Briggs (Shea Wigham) must stop Hunt before he again goes rogue, and Paris (Pom Klementieff) drives through anything to complete her mission. Perhaps mission impossible indeed.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.

And, of course, there’s the Entity: A faceless, all-knowing, forever calculating machine that may be too much for Ethan and spy company to overcome.

The plot is ridiculous. The intricacies of how the Entity operates do not always make sense, even though most scenes not dedicated to action set pieces are spent trying to explain how it works. The Dead Reckoning attempts to explain it all, the more it allows for too many nagging plot holes. These plot holes ultimately prove to be too difficult to ignore.

Dead Reckoning Part One clumsily attempts to be more than just an action movie. Its message on the inherent dangers associated with artificial intelligence have been overplayed in film ever since 2001: A Space Odyssey. Furthermore, the scenario is too ludicrous to heed any warning seriously.

Relevant to real-world issues, commentary on fanaticism barely scratches the surface even to be considered a plot point. Opportunities to explore these issues more in-depth are squandered. This prevents this edition of the franchise from standing out from the rest.

The plot’s shortcomings, however, can be barely forgiven thanks to some incredible action set pieces. Director Christopher McQuarrie knows how to direct one. America’s last action hero Tom Cruise knows how to act in one.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning – Part One from Paramount Pictures and Skydance.

Shootouts in a desert, tense pursuits in an airport, car chases through Rome, Hunt motorcycling off a mountain, and numerous brawls coupled with a grand escape on the Orient Express make up some extraordinary action scenes. It all borders on becoming a parody of itself and being too much, but the film manages to reel in the exploits just before it self-destructs.

Mission: Impossible -Dead Reckoning Part One is far from being the best of the franchise. However, since the movie franchise began in 1996, audiences have said hello and goodbye to fellow spies Jason Bourne and the latest James Bond. There is something to be said about Ethan Hunt’s staying power. Maybe it has to do with his ability to continuously achieve the impossible. Audiences, however, will have to wait until next year to see if he can one last time. We will be anxiously waiting. Tun, tun, tun-tun-tun, tun…

Borja’s rating: 7/10

What do you think of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One? Let us know in the comments below! Catch Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One in theaters on July 14th.

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