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  • Writer's pictureMiles Stephenson

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 (2023), Christopher McQuarrie [3/5]

Dull camerawork and Marvel-tier green screen artificiality from the first installment in the series shot on digital (it shows!)

Compare the in-camera stunt work of GHOST PROTOCOL’s Burj Khalifa or FALLOUT’s roof jumping with this film’s falling train sequence and you’ll notice an aesthetic decline that is especially disheartening from a series that earned its name with practical elbow grease set pieces and stunts. Even the stunts that were shot practically like the fight atop the train felt recycled and uninspired. How many times have we seen the hero fight the big bad on top of a moving train? I was never gripped the way I was in the bathroom fistfight in FALLOUT or the cargo plane stunt in ROGUE NATION.

McQuarrie’s coverage could learn something from the original Mission Impossible film which — despite an all-too-ludicrous script — soared with De Palma’s dynamic camerawork, including the disturbing Dutch angle shots in the aquarium restaurant scene. In Reckoning Part 1, shot-reverse-shot brings to mind “coverage” instead of formal technique and video game weightlessness replaces the heft of in-camera spectacle.

Tom Cruise still saved cinema with Maverick and is definitely in his iconic era but wanted more from this one… Hopeful for Part Two, 3/5.

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