“No matter how impossible the mission may seem, we know that Tom Cruise will complete the task because we are eagerly awaiting his next daring stunt,” says Mayur Sanap.

We’re seven films deep in the Tom Cruise story Impossible Mission Series that is almost 30 years old since it first aired in 1996.

It’s a testament to Cruise’s incredible staying power as the franchise is still alive and the 61-year-old star keeps raising the bar with his daring antics.

With the last two entries of the series – villain nation (2015) and Stand out (2018) – The actor has found a muse in director, co-writer and co-producer Christopher McQuarrie, who transformed the MI films from rollicking action films into a respected blockbuster franchise.

The award-winning star director duo return with the latest installment: dead reckoningwhich not only ups the ante, but also propels the franchise into the future, as any good sequel should.

As the first chapter of the two-part finale, the plot revolves around how Ethan Hunt (Cruise) takes on an AI device known as “The Entity,” and the only way to access it is through a missing golden key that many government agencies and powerful individuals are seeking.

The entity could well be a reason to bring about a global catastrophe, and it’s up to Hunt to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

The mission is also personal for Hunt, as in Gabriel (an effective Esai Morales as the film’s human villain) he faces a ghost from the past who is also searching for the key and knows a little more about the being than others.

It’s a fairly simple and straight forward storyline, but what keeps the momentum going is the sheer sophistication McQuarrie brings to the drama and action.

In a welcome departure from the somber tonality, it set in Stand outhere he uses a lot of humor and heart between the action scenes to serve our viewing pleasure.

There are some cleverly crafted moments of suspense, and the tension in these scenes is so palpable that it permeates the entire screen, keeping us hooked for the entire two hour and 43 minute runtime.

The stunts and set pieces are once again the eye-catcher.

Be it a botched robbery at Abu Dhabi airport, a crash at a party in Venice, a chase down the streets of Rome, a hand-to-hand combat on a moving train, or that widely acclaimed motorcycle stunt, the film is a huge hit in these electrifying sequences.

Fraser Taggart’s nimble cinematography captures the intricacies of the action with skillfully produced images.

Watch out for a scene between Cruise and Marvel star Pom Klementieff’s ruthless assassin (in stark contrast to her cute and affable mantis from Protector of the Galaxy series) as they compete in a narrow Venice alley. It’s beautifully executed.

Along with its action shenanigans, the film is also packed with fun hat tips and callbacks to previous appearances, such as the signature high-speed run, cool tech, rubber mask disguises, and the return of Henry Czerny as Hunt’s boss, Eugene Kittridge.

Cruise, who embraces hands-on stunt work much like Christopher Nolan, does almost everything himself, as opposed to the usual CGI drivel most modern action films resort to; Looking at you, Fast and Furious.

As the lead in one of the world’s biggest franchises, Cruise once again cements his status as an action star like no other.

The women of MI continue to inspire.

Rebecca Ferguson as the idiosyncratic Ilsa gets to recreate her icon villain nation Opera gun scene in its opening gunfight sequence.

Hayley Atwell (CaptainAmerica(Peggy Carter) makes her breathtaking foray into the franchise as clever con artist Grace, who becomes involved in Hunt’s mission. She shares the lead with Cruise equally, and her playful chemistry with the actor is a feast for the eyes.

Vanessa Kirby reprises her role as arms dealer Alanna, aka the White Widow, who can easily break into the boys’ club and set things right.

Nerdy teammates and friends of Hunt’s, Benji (scene-munching Simon Pegg) and Luther (appropriately stoic Ving Rhames) are as capable as ever, but it’s hoped the script will find new ways to play both of these fun characters.

The drama gets a little muddled when a couple of exposition-heavy monologues from various characters try to explain the impending danger. Much of this is somewhat exaggerated and yet there is no clear overview of the threat we face. But since this is a preparation for the great mystery, it should be forgiven.

Thankfully, the film doesn’t tie the viewer to some crazy cliffhanger at the end and ends rather satisfactorily with just enough hint of what to expect from the next installment.

It’s a smart move because no matter how impossible the mission may seem, we know Tom Cruise will get the job done while we eagerly await his next daring stunt.

Let’s start with part two!

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning part one Review Rediff Rating: