The issue with “Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One” is that, like its title suggests, the plot and exposition can be so dense that the audience may yawn or laugh.

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Film Summary

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“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is a mouthful of a title and an eyeful of a movie. You’ve got explosions, car chases, secret identities, breathtaking, palm-sweating feats, and yes, Tom Cruise running, but you’re still left wondering what the heck the plot is.

Plot Summary

The seventh Mission Impossible movie introduces us to the Entity, a sentient AI program that can infiltrate any government, banking system, or military. It operates alone and could send everyone back to the Stone Age. Buuuuut, what if our government had control of it? As dangerous as this program is, every government wants to be the one to say they have it. And the only way to possibly control or kill the AI program is through a meticulous key that comes in two parts. This key was thought to have vanished in a blown-up submarine, but with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) on the case, he’ll find the key within a two-and-a-half-hour runtime.

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Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) protecting Grace (Hayley Atwell) in a gun standoff.

Ethan, along with his tech-savvy friends Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg), want to destroy the Entity and prevent any person or government from having its power. But Entity has teamed up with Gabriel, one of Ethan’s first foes, who relishes making his enemies suffer fates worse than death. As multiple people and law enforcement are on the hunt for Ethan, Ethan is trying to track down Grace, a burglar and phenomenal pickpocketer who holds possession of one-half of the keys. Who Ethan’s true allies and enemies are can only be determined by the amount of risk Ethan takes. But as the title implies, this mission might actually be impossible.

Each entry in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise ups the ante with stunts, maneuvers, and jaw-dropping scenes. Director Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise are now a blockbuster duo whose commitment to providing the best movie possible can be witnessed in every scene. The canted camera angles, the elaborate car chases, and the witty banter all deliver classic good filmmaking. Introducing the Entity as a villain makes for a timely exploration of the dangers of AI and how Ethan and his team can no longer trust the very technology they use. The issue with “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is that, like its title suggests, the plot and exposition can be so dense that the audience (or maybe just me) can never fully grasp what’s at stake.

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Gabriel (Esai Morales) is the main villain in “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.”

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Ethan Hunt 

A secret agent who often goes rogue to protect his friends and follow his own moral code. Ethan is wanted by global terrorists and government agencies alike, but he’ll stop at nothing to protect others.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Top Gun,” their role in “Mission: Impossible,” and their role in “Jerry Maguire.”


As the newest potential ally and foe in Ethan’s life, Grace is a cunning burglar who’s looking for the best option to save herself. She charms Ethan, but she tries multiple times to escape him too.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Agent Carter,” their role in “Cinderella,” and their role in “Christopher Robin.”

Luther Stickell and Benji Dunn

Ethan’s two best friends, who also work in the IMF (Impossible Mission Force). They excel at hacking into computers, navigating Ethan, and creating disguises and plans for each mission.

  • Ving Rhames  is also known for their role in “Pulp Fiction,” “Dawn of the Dead,” and their role in “Lilo and Stitch.”
  • Simon Pegg is also known for their role in “Shaun of the Dead,” their role in “Hot Fuzz,” and their role in “Star Trek.”

Ilsa Faust

An ex-agent who is just as skilled a fighter as Ethan but with a more ambiguous moral code. Ilsa commonly works for herself but has become a crucial ally for Ethan and his team.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation,” their role in “Silo,” and their role in “Dune.”


Once Ethan’s friend, Gabriel is now his nemesis and a global terrorist who wreaks havoc on many and enjoys torturing others. Gabriel is also after the Entity in order to erase his very existence.

  • The actor is also known for their roles in “La Bamba” and “Ozark.”

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Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Notable Performances or Moments

Hayley Atwell adds the cherry on top of a great ensemble by being charming and mischievous throughout the film. While Atwell is primarily known as Agent Carter from Marvel movies, we get to see Atwell act as if she’s in a screwball comedy, tense drama, and heart-pumping action flick all in one role.


Technical Stunts and Action Provide Giant Payoff in Theater

For the past year, Tom Cruise has been marketing “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning” by revealing the behind-the-scenes mechanisms of the movie’s most extravagant stunts. From jumping out of planes to driving off mountaintops on a motorcycle, the coordinated action is an achievement in itself. The planning and commitment required to pull off 30-minute action sequences provide thrills that movies rarely do these days.

The Tom Cruise Show Continues to Shine

Most people who walk out of the theater may not remember the plot of the “Mission: Impossible” movies or even the protagonist’s name, but they will know Tom Cruise delivered again. The actor has expanded his role as an actor to include being a remarkable producer of a franchise that was initially a cash grab but is now Cruise’s love letter to movies. Part of the appeal of seeing these movies is seeing what Cruise does next, and at age 61, he continues to surpass himself.

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Tom Cruise doing what Tom Cruise does.

On The Fence

Dense Plot and Exposition

Thirty minutes into the movie, the credits finally appear. This isn’t thanks to some jaw-dropping action sequence but a lot of exposition to set up the rest of the film. The movie also has flashbacks to a scene where viewers new to the franchise might think it was some part they missed, but it’s never been shown at all. “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning” is a lot to take in, and there are so many double-crosses and explanations of what’s happening that the viewer might yawn or laugh at the convoluted hijinks of it all.

“Fridging” Female Characters

“Mission: Impossible” includes common spy and action tropes, but the one frustrating and outdated trope that the seventh film includes is fridging its female characters. “Fridging” means to have a supporting character die to motivate the main character, and this act is especially common for women in action films. The only characters from the main cast that die in this film are women, and arguably, two of them are shown to die to motivate Ethan Hunt. The scenes are a disservice to the actors and fans of one female character in particular.

General Information

Director(s) Christopher McQuarrie
Screenplay By Erik Jendresen and Christopher McQuarrie
Based On ”Mission: Impossible” show by Bruce Geller
Date Released (In Theaters ) July 12, 2023
Genre(s) Action
Film Length 2 Hours, 44 Minutes
Content Rating Rated PG-13
Noted Characters and Cast
Ethan Hunt Tom Cruise
Grace Hayley Atwell
Luther Ving Rhames
Benji Simon Pegg
Ilsa Faust Rebecca Ferguson
Gabriel Esai Morales


If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Top Gun: Maverick
  2. Nobody
  3. John Wick: Chapter 4

Also, check our movies page for more recommendations and our latest movie reviews.


What Is “Mission: Impossible” Rated And Why?

“Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One” is Rated PG-13 for multiple scenes of violence and action.

Where Can I Watch “Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning?”

Currently only in theaters, but since it’s a product of Paramount, you can expect it on Paramount Plus later this year. 

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Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One: Movie Review and Summary
Each entry in the "Mission: Impossible" franchise ups the ante with stunts, maneuvers, and jaw-dropping scenes. Yet the franchise needs to steer away from overly complicated plots and killing off its female characters.
Community Rating0 Votes
Technical Stunts and Action Provide Giant Payoff in Theater
The Tom Cruise Show Continues to Shine
Dense Plot and Exposition
"Fridging" Female Characters

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