Absolutely gripping – Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One review

Tom Cruise does speedflying for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning

You should choose to accept this Mission. All your worries will self-destruct in five seconds. Here, Tom Cruise delivers an escapist epic of the highest order, so thrilling that you’ll be trying to get the fingernail imprints out of your palms for a week.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (or Mission Impossible 7 for short) is the perfect summer blockbuster and looks fantastic on a cinema screen with a decent sound system.

One day, it will be massively enjoyable on your telly at home. But its natural home is at the flicks. It’s so very, very BIG.

Cruise has never been better and that’s saying something considering he’s 61 and has made a million movies. He is the action hero par excellence and also commands new levels of self-deprecation and comic timing. He totally out-Bonds James Bond.

It’s quite grown up, too. There’s a bang-up-to-date plot concerning artificial intelligence getting a mind of its own that could take over the world.

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Two keys combine to control the super-computer so it’s a race against time to find them both. The plot’s reasonably easy to grasp which makes a nice change.

And the female characters are in no way patronised. They are not required to expose flesh, they are tough, smart and funny.

High-class fraudster and pickpocket Hayley Atwell is an attractive foil for Cruise but very much her own woman: a real person. So far, so super. It’s the action and the stunts, however, that make MI7 the movie event of the summer.

Director Christopher McQuarrie sets a breathtaking pace from the off, with tightly choreographed fight sequences, car chases with a twist amid the glamour of Rome and Venice, scraps on and in a runaway Orient Express steam train, and Tom driving his motorbike off a mountain.

This is a great cinematic moment and the director turns off the sound so we can all hold our breath together in silence. Smart.

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We’ve seen many of these thriller features before but never turned up to 11 like this. The escape from the crashed train is jaw-dropping – and, by the end, my jaw ached as I’d been clenching it so furiously.

There is the occasional necessary lull when Hunt and his Mission colleagues (Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames) meet and bring us up to date with the plot.

Don’t worry, the next punch-up is just around the corner.

My money’s on the little fella.

Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Cert 12A, In cinemas now

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