Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie have been working together for 15 years, when the latter wrote and produced “Valkyrie.” Since then, the tandem has become inseparable. In few Cruise projects since 2008 does McQuarrie not appear as director, writer or producer, and directly in none in regards to the ‘Mission Impossible’ saga. He was first the ghostwriter of ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ (2012). Later, he made the leap to directing in ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’ (2015), and has already become a fixture in the rest: ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ (2018), ‘Mission Impossible: Deadly Judgment – Part 1 ‘ (2023) and ‘Mission Impossible: Deadly Judgment – Part 2’ (2024).
All the films in the saga directed by McQuarrie have something in common: have been part of a learning process until reaching the optimal point. They are the agent of the IMF (Impossible Missions Force, not the International Monetary Fund) who, with each completed mission, looks back on what they have done right and wrong to promote the former and correct the latter, thus getting ever closer to the truth. perfection. With ‘Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One’, that goal is practically 100% complete..
The saga finds in its seventh installment the exact point of action, the exact point of humor, the exact point of delivery of its characters and the exact point between nostalgia, fanservice and today. come to this exact point of almost everything, the feeling that ‘Deadly Judgment – Part 1’ leaves us is that McQuarrie and Cruise have found the key to be able to continue making ‘Mission Impossible’ movies forever without getting tired. Only Tom Cruise’s age could prevent it, although he has already said that He wants to keep making action movies until he’s 80like his admired Harrison Ford…
Two fixed issues and one improved solution
Regardless of iconicity, it is not a secret that the saga has had to deal with several aspects that could be improved throughout its 27 years of life. Some were fixed in time, others were fixed based on the movie, and others were still in effect until ‘Death Judgment – Part 1’.
Among those that were resolved in time was the issue of the script, since the decision was made from the fourth film to apply a layer of extreme action that will cover the possible holes, implausible or above all boredom of the plot. In ‘Death Judgment – Part 1’, that layer is even stronger, with the added benefit that here there was less to cover up, because the plot is one of the strongest in the saga.
But before talking about the plot, let’s talk about the action, which in the end is the main reason why the viewer will go to see ‘Mission Impossible: Deadly Judgment – Part 1’. In this sense, surely you are tired of hearing the phrase “this film is to go see it at the cinema”, but it is really I can’t think of a better plan to spend two and a half frenetic hours in the middle of July.
‘Mission Impossible’ has made action and risk an artand it is further expressed in this film, magnificently playing with shots and photography to make us feel part of the adrenaline and emotion or tension of the protagonists at all times. The scene of the motorcycle over the cliff is already unforgettable, but the level is so high that it does not stand out as much from the others as we might think. The persecution through Rome has nothing to envy to the one we saw in ‘Fast X’ this year, not to mention the train scenemasterfully carried out by the director and actors, which passes without discussion to the top 10 best franchise moments.
Boosting the action was the great solution to address one of the deepest problems of the ‘Mission Impossible’ movies, and with ‘Death Judgment – Part 1’ that solution is even better. Now, what are the two other structural problems that this movie solves by itself?
To analyze the first of them, I encourage you to remember a phrase from the second paragraph of this review: “IMF (Impossible Missions Force, not International Monetary Fund)“. This joke is not mine, but it appears at the beginning of ‘Deadly Judgment – Part 1’, and serves as the entrance to the ‘Mission Impossible’ movie with the most humor in the saga. But above all, to the one better incorporate humor. Because if we’ve learned anything from the UCM, it’s that quantity doesn’t mean quality, and that too many comedic situations can break the rhythm or even take us out of the movie entirely.
‘Mission Impossible’, aside from some loose gag, sought to add more humor from ‘Ghost Protocol’. The path he chose for it, especially in ‘Rogue Nation’, seemed to go towards the ridicule of one of his secondary, in this case of Benji (Simon Pegg), a formula already used in ‘Fast & Furious’ with the character of Roman (Tyrese Gibson). Fortunately, in this continuous learning process that we have been talking about, in ‘Deadly Sentence – Part 1’ this idea has been completely discarded and the humor is not forced, but rather comes naturally during the action scenes and thanks to the ability of the saga to know how to laugh at itself without becoming a meme.
The second structural problem of the saga, corrected in some films and very present in others, and in which ‘Deadly Judgment – Part 1’ manages to give a twist, is in the matter of villain. Without a good villain there is neither a good hero nor a good movie, and in some moments of the saga we have missed a character who did not directly cause indifference.
Since McQuarrie still hasn’t finished finding it, he has chosen to capture one of his biggest fears on tape: artificial intelligence and the power it can hold. And the truth is that it works perfectly: it brings a breath of fresh air to the hackneyed argument of a group or person who wants to destroy the world, confronts a current problem and serves as a critique of world powers and their interest in global dominance no matter what. the consequences.
The idea is very interesting, but could have been exploited more. McQuarrie does not finish emboldening himself and remains here halfway when it comes to delving into the plot of the AI and what it is capable of doing, sometimes focusing too much on people allied with artificial intelligence when what is truly important (and original ) is the AI itself.
Hayley Atwell, how nice you came.
When we talk about focusing too much on some characters that shouldn’t be the main axis, we are referring especially to Gabriel (Esai Morales), whose complicated history with Ethan Hunt fades in importance as the film goes by, and of whom we have the feeling that he is taking more minutes than necessary from the AI… and Pom Klementieff, who once again demonstrates his ability to make every role he is given his own, no matter how long or how important it is.
The other new face of the film well deserves a separate paragraph. We are talking, of course, about Hayley Atwell, who in her debut in ‘Mission Impossible’ is capable of stealing the spotlight from Tom Cruise in every scene. The actress shines with her own light in the field of humour, action and suspense, she is capable of supporting any plane on her own and leaves us wanting more. It is the Phoebe Waller-Bridge of ‘Mission Impossible: Death Judgment – Part 1’.
For the rest, the IMF team continues at the same exalted level of ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’. Tom Cruise returns to give us a lesson on how still more vital at 61 than most at 25and the trio of Benji, Luther (Ving Rhames) and Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) are the perfect companions for Ethan Hunt.
Age like fine wine
Tom Cruise takes risks at the age of 61 that he could not even imagine in 1996 when he was 34. His tandem with McQuarrie is experiencing its best moment after 15 years of relationship. And it turns out that the most complete film in the saga is the seventh, 27 years after the original. So that later they say that age is not just a number.
The best: The action, the humor and the level of the actors are the best in the entire saga. The addition of Hayley Atwell. How the fear of AI is embodied.
Worst: Precisely the plot of the AI could have been exploited more. Gabriel’s character is not up to the rest.