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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 13, 2023



‘MISSION IMPOSSIBLE’ started as a TV series in 1966 and ran for seven seasons, with an unforgettable theme music by Lalo Schifrin. 

In 1996, Tom Cruise revived it as a movie with him playing the hero, Ethan Hunt. 

It’s such a hit that it had several sequels.  

Its 6th film, “M. I. Fallout”, was shown in 2018 and became the highest grossing film in the franchise. 

We now have M.I. 7 “Dead Reckoning Part One”, with Part Two to be released next year. 

It’s the third “M.I.” film directed by Christopher McQuarrie (won Oscar best screenplay in 1996 for “The Usual Suspects”) who, at 54, is younger than Tom at 61. Looks like they found the perfect fit with each other.  

“M.I. 7” starts with a supposedly state of the art Russian submarine destroying itself with its own torpedo and the culprit is an Artificial Intelligence known as the Entity, which went rogue and can now infiltrate the defense and military intelligence systems of any country. 

Anyone who can control it can surely rule the entire world.

It has a key that has been divided into two. One half is with Ethan’s friend, Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), who is hiding in the Arabian desert and Ethan has to go to her in the film’s first big action shootout amidst a raging sandstorm.

The Entity is so powerful that it’s quite impossible to control so Ethan aims to destroy it, along with his long time high tech wizard friends Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rames.) 

In their effort to get hold of its keys, they encounter a lot of obstacles, including Grace (Hayley Atwell), a professional pickpocket and thief who is able to steal it effortlessly from Ethan at the Abu Dhabi airport. 

Ethan pursues her and they end up in Rome from other interested parties run after them, including Gabriel (Esai Morales), who works for the entity, and cohorts of the community which includes Eugene Kitteridge (Henry Czerny), the duplicitous director of the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) who initially got Ethan in the first “M.I.” movie in 1996.

The Rome scenes are their answer to the Paris scenes of “John Wick 4”. There is a very long chase sequence where Ethan and Grace end up being handcuffed to each other while driving a diminutive car, a Fiat that’s a staple in Italy which is shown being rammed by a bigger Hummer driven by a relentless female French assassin.

The chase through the narrow streets of Rome also uses the very popular Spanish Steps, which has also just been used in “Fast & Furious X”. 

Then there’s a long sequence shot in Venice and its canals where one of Ethan’s dearest allies is killed by the villainous Gabriel. 

The film’s outrageously lengthy climax is set on a runaway train going to Innsbruck, the Orient Express, where Grace doubles up as the black market arms dealer, Alanna, the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby), who aims to sell the keys to the highest bidder, which turns out to be Kitteridge himself. 

Gabriel has killed the train’s engineer, sabotaged its brakes, and has put bombs on a bridge where the train will pass.

This is where the daredevil Tom Cruise performs his most dangerous Evel Knievel stunt in the movie, when he jumps off from a perilous cliff on board a motorcycle to get to the train running below, making it the mother of all motorcycle stunts defying gravity and physics. 

But after this, Tom and Esai still have an extended fight scene on the top of the speeding train. 

Then Tom and Hayley will still be shown dangling from the cars of a train wreck that might plunge them into the deep chasm below.

Revealing all these things won’t really be a spoiler, as you just have to see the film for yourself to personally experience how they choreograph and execute the finely tuned thrilling action set pieces. 

It’s the best reason why we should watch movies on the big screen and not merely on our cellphones. And knowing that it’s really Tom Cruise who does his own spectacular death-defying stunts lends an authenticity to the whole thing that no amount of CGI and green screen effects can match. 

Tom Cruise is truly still on top of his game, what with “Top Gun: Maverick” grossing $1.5 billion last year. No doubt this latest “M.I.” movie, that runs for nearly three hours, would similarly be a blockbuster. 

The hyperkinetic Tom is shown running and sprinting in so many scenes that no doubt will help propel M.I.7 to the top of the global box office charts this weekend.

He is ably supported by a superb supporting cast, led by Esai Morales whose Gabriel is insinuated to have figured in Ethan’s past. 

In a brief flashback, we see a young Ethan with Gabriel killing a woman who seems to be affiliated with Ethan. 

No, this scene is not from a past “M.I.” movie as this is actually the first time Ethan gets to face Gabriel on screen. 

This seems more like a newly added back story for Ethan, whose character background is really a bit shadowy. 

Maybe this will be expounded on “Dead Reckoning Part Two” which will be shown next year. 

Esai makes for a very formidable villain with a menacing, intimidating aura.

We remember him best as the half brother of Lou Diamond Phillips as Richie Valens in “La Bamba” (1987). 

He now sports gray hair and it gives him an even more imposing screen presence.

Simon, Ving and Rebecca are all splendid as Tom’s allies, but the real find here is the British theatre and film actress Hayley Atwell as Grace, the newest addition to the M.I. franchise. 

She has played the role of Peggy Carter in many Marvel superhero flicks, but this is her biggest break so far, doing her own action scenes to give Tom a run for his money. 

And now we’re wondering: what crazy jaw-dropping stunt would Tom do next for “M.I. Dead Reckoning Part Two” to surpass what he did in Part One? 

His limitless energy and bravado in doing dangerous stunts surely requires equally courageous cameramen who will put their lives on the lines to capture each moment of his lunatic acts, so all we can say is good luck. 

And see you all again next year!