review roundup

There’s a Method to Tom Cruise’s Madness, Apparently

Photo: Christian Black/Paramount

One thing Tom Cruise is gonna do is yeet himself off something for an action film. For the second year in a row, the actor has graced the summer box office with his presence in high-budget, blood-pressure-raising flicks, and, for the second year in a row, it appears critics like it like that. He’s reprising his role as international superspy Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, the seventh entry to the franchise, out July 10. The film follows Ethan as he battles a supercomputer hell-bent on destabilizing the world — an AI called “The Entity” ready to threaten international security. In a fashion typical to the Tom Cruise action-movie cinematic universe, the actor employs practical, death-defying set pieces that are lab-tested and quality-controlled. “They feel like magic tricks, built as they are on anticipation, familiarity, misdirection, and spectacle,” Vulture critic Bilge Ebiri writes. “Whenever it gets down to the business of making Tom Cruise run and jump and drive and fly in and out of things, Dead Reckoning manages to astonish.” Below, the first reviews of Mission Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One.

“So much time is spent setting up the motorcycle jump that we might start to think that’s going to be the climax of the movie. But what comes afterward — an extended train sequence that culminates in what might be the most hair-raising derailment ever put to film, full of seesawing train cars and dangling movie stars — is even more unforgettable.” — Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

Dead Reckoning never rises to that best-in-series movie’s level, though McQuarrie (and cowriters Bruce Geller and Erik Jendresen) concocts set pieces and the cast carves out stand-alone moments that stick with you past the credit roll.” — David Fear, Rolling Stone

“Sometimes it feels as if he’s boiled down the most thrilling elements, not only of the Mission: Impossible series, but of the Bond and Bourne movies, and threaded them into a sizzle reel. There’s less sense here of a story that demanded to be told in two parts — this one running two-and-three-quarter hours — than of McQuarrie and Cruise having a bunch more jaw-dropping stunts they plan to pull off and new travel-porn locations on which to unleash mayhem.” — David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“When punches connect, bodies fly, and cars crash into each other — we feel it instead of just passively observing it. The action here is so wonderfully choreographed that only John Wick: Chapter 4 compares for the best in the genre this year.” — Brian Tallerico, Roger Ebert

“Ridiculous from the start but also strangely fresh for yet another 21st century tentpole about a rogue AI, Dead Reckoning Part One may not be the best movie in the Mission: Impossible franchise — there’s no topping the raw adrenaline rush of Fallout, and McQuarrie is smart enough not to try — but this extravagantly entertaining Dolby soap opera nails what the Mission: Impossible franchise does best: Weaponizing artifice and illusion in order to fight for a world that’s still worth believing in.” — David Ehrlich, IndieWire

“As always, the plot is but an excuse for ever more elaborate set-pieces, executed so convincingly that Cruise has acquired a reputation for carrying out all the insane things Hunt is called upon to do in the movie. That’s a testament to more than just the marketing department; Cruise really is committed to topping his previous feats, and though there’s no shortage of good old-fashioned movie magic involved (in the editing and visual effects), the crew does a terrific job of making Dead Reckoning look real.” — Peter Debruge, Variety

“This is a serious, sharp-minded and top-tier action film by any standard, and many fans will no doubt mollify themselves by seeing it more than once before Part Two opens a year from now. This is Hollywood action filmmaking at its peak.” — Todd McCarthy, Deadline

Mission: Impossible — Fallout remains the best in the series (more consistently engrossing, it’s got a darker subtext, too), but Tom and his team have done good again. To hell with avatars and deepfakes … reckless and talented thesps still have the power to make us feel alive.” — Charlotte O’Sullivan, Evening Standard

“The quality of the action here is, for the most part, more fluid and satisfying than jaw-dropping; there’s nothing here to rival De Palma’s snazziest set pieces, or Ethan’s vertiginous climb up the walls of the Burj Khalifa in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (2011), or his men’s room demolition derby in 2018’s Fallout. But McQuarrie’s typically fastidious writing (undertaken this time with Erik Jendresen) makes up for whatever his direction may lack in sheer verve.” — Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“In the past I have been agnostic and a nay-sayer about M:I, but the pure fun involved in this film, its silly-serious alchemy, and the way the franchise seems to strain at something crazily bigger with every film, as opposed to just winding down, is something to wonder at.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

There’s a Method to Tom Cruise’s Madness, Apparently