Mission Impossible 7: the first cut lasted 4 hours, including 1h30 for the train scene

Mission Impossible 7: a new peak for the Tom Cruise saga (review)

Virtuoso, playful, theoretical and romantic: the seventh episode of the adventures of Ethan Hunt, available on VOD, brilliantly deepens the motifs of the franchise.

Caught by the wave Barbenheimerthe last Impossible mission suffered last summer in theaters, with “only” $567.5 million in box office revenue, with its budget ($300 million) which exploded due to Covid but also the overbidding of action which animates the saga of Tom Cruise. When it was released, Ethan Hunt’s latest adventures nevertheless attracted the editorial staff of Première. From now on available on VOD, Dead Reckoning part 1 is offered a second chance while the 8th part of the saga is currently in preparation.

Watch Mission Impossible 7 on VOD on Première Max

We can take different criteria into account to judge the success of a new Impossible mission. The stunts and daredevil choreographies of Tom Cruise, for example – they are extraordinary in this new episode. The way the film questions the “mythology” of Ethan Hunt’s character – fascinating here. Or the game with the codes of the saga and spy cinema in general – absolutely fantastic in this Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning part 1. But the element we always forget to look at is the MacGuffin, as Hitchcock said, the reason why people sweat profusely and travel the world in all directions. Uranium trafficking, threats of nuclear apocalypse, abuses of a globalized crime syndicate… Since the very abstract “rabbit’s foot” waved by JJ Abrams in the third opus, it seemed accepted – by the designers of the films as well as by the spectators – that the various dangers that Ethan Hunt faced were only pretexts to watch him run like crazy.

For this seventh Assignment (and first part of a diptych), Christopher McQuarrie and his co-writer Erik Jendresen made an effort and imagined that the object of Hunt’s pursuits would be a super-powerful artificial intelligence – the Entity, as it is nicknamed – which threatens to engulf our world in a terrifying digital fog, where would definitively be abolished the contours of reality. Tom Cruise versus an AI? The idea is perfect, ideally in keeping with the times. Not only because artificial intelligence is in every conversation today, but also because Dead Reckoning comes out while a screenwriters’ strike brings Hollywood to a standstill, and the most pessimists wonder if executives cynics, up there, in the upper echelons of the industry, are not going to take advantage of this to replace all these unionized scribblers with software.

See Tom Cruise, absolute incarnation of the old-fashioned movie star and self-proclaimed “savior of cinema”, and his sidekick Christopher McQuarrie, champion of scriptwriting sophistication old school, fighting the new sworn enemy of screenwriters and moviegoers – soulless algorithms – provides quite exhilarating meta pleasure. Especially within a saga which has reflected since its beginnings on the question of pretenses and the virtualization of the world, and has always had fun comparing the concoction of their missions by the agents of the Impossible Mission Force with the work of the authors and filmmakers themselves, who also strive to create a replica of reality.

The idea at the heart of Dead Reckoning of a fight between the analog and digital worlds is all the more fascinating since we imagine that Brian De Palma, initiator of the franchise in 1996 and great theorist of images as lures, would have made it his honey. This is undoubtedly the reason why McQuarrie considered this seventh part as the most “palmesque” of all since the first: off-center close-ups on tense faces creating a climate of total paranoia, climax on board a launched train at full speed, winks for laughs at the film of the bearded genius (a pram escaped from the Incorruptibles way easter egg) and, icing on the cake, the comeback of a vaguely cult character from the first film, Eugene Kittridge (who thus becomes a sort of Boba Fett of the saga Impossible mission).

Giving his film a 90s feeling which goes beyond the sole reverence to De Palma (the intro in a Russian submarine and its scent of a 90s video club, the fight of Simon Pegg against a “puzzle bomb” straight out ofA Day in Hell), the film intends to dig into the personality of Ethan Hunt (the great mystery of this saga, and McQuarrie’s great obsession since Rogue Nation), going back into his past, to events prior to 1996, via flashbacks designed to resemble outtakes from De Palma’s film – a fine effort at simulacrum which will perhaps amuse the person concerned, king of quotation and diversion .

The ID photo, which we see in the film, of a young Ethan Hunt, an “analog” Hunt (Tom Cruise long hair, look Days of Thunder), anchor Dead Reckoning in the theme of the passing of time, of lives sacrificed on the altar of “the greater interest” (as they say at the CIA), and announces the beginning of the end for the super-spy. The members of the IMF are nicely portrayed by McQuarrie as Hawksian mercenaries, tired “expendables”, united by their concrete professionalism and a camaraderie forged under machine gunfire. At the beginning of the film, Hunt emerges from the darkness like a ghost. The face of its interpreter, that’s it, no longer defies time. Tom Cruise is getting older and the camera doesn’t try to hide it. Aging but condemned to perform increasingly crazy acrobatic feats, Hunt/Cruise (the two are almost identical) is as if caught in a vice. This is the meaning of two scenes where the world shrinks dangerously around him: two maddening combat sequences (in a Venetian alley, then in a railway tunnel), claustrophobic confrontations on the verge of abstraction.

Portraying Hunt as a doomed lover, lover lethal who cannot cross a woman without putting her life in danger (close to his colleague Bond, but much more chaste), Dead Reckoning balance between a form of very moving romantic solemnity and a playful and truly joyful relationship to the obligatory passages of the saga. The film alternates – perhaps sometimes a little too mechanically – between the seriousness of the character study and the uninhibited pleasure of summer blockbuster. A newcomer named Paris is quite emblematic of this big gap – a merciless killer who will gradually reveal her humanity, played with sovereign graphic perfection by Pom Klementieff (and who compensates for the lack of charisma of the big bad played by Esai Morales , big weak point of the film).

The other little novella in the saga is called Grace, she is an international thief played with maddening class by Hayley Atwell. The scenes between her and Hunt are neo-Hitchcockian comedy delights (a very amusing variation on the handcuffing of the 39 Steps), starting with this crazy Roman chase, which evokes, in addition to Hitch, Gold leaves, Let’s pack our bags, doctorthe Stanley Donen of Charade And Arabesqueand where Cruise and McQuarrie’s passion for meticulously choreographed antics pulsates, at the crossroads of tourist stroll, cinephile erudition and cartoon pleasure.

This principle culminates in a climax which will remain as one of the spectacular climaxes of the saga. McQuarrie has often joked that he was mad at Brad Bird for setting the bar too high with the Burj Khalifa sequence in Ghost Protocolcondemning his successors to do less well, but he can now claim to follow him in a ranking of sequences Assignment the craziest. We will not say more, except that this last act admirably interweaves two ideas of action cinema, which are also two conceptions of what a film can be Impossible mission – one vintage, classic, symbolized by this Orient-Express populated with Hitchcock-Bondian souvenirs; and the other, very contemporary, embodied by the death-defying Tom Cruise of the years 2010-2020, who designs his stunts as pieces of advertising bravura primarily intended for the Internet, disconnected from any dramatic issue, and which must then find a solution to connect them to the film. The way McQuarrie brings these two approaches together is a masterstroke – a moment of ecstasy where the theoretical hypothesis provides pure cinematic pleasure.

This first Dead Reckoning ends with an appointment for the part 2a sort of “Ethan Hunt will return” with the delicious scent of serial, which definitively confirms the transformation of formula show what was Impossible mission in the sixties (where each episode was looped, independent, closed on itself) in a “cinema series”, to be continued, episodic. The film achieves the feat of being an aperitif for the second part without generating frustration. We come out satisfied. And “cliff-hanging” – like Ethan Hunt in the film’s promo images: hanging from the cliff.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, part 1by Christopher McQuarrie, with Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Simon Pegg… At the cinema on July 12.

Similar Posts