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The A-Listers Talk About Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)
From the couple who see a lot of movies because they have AMC A-List.
Patrick: Taylor, we normally start these A-Listers pieces by recounting the buffoonery that takes place at our local AMC, but nothing too exciting happened this time. Unless, of course, you count the fact that our concessions employee asked if we wanted to put Pop Rocks in our ICEE.
Taylor: "Add them to your pleasing" was, I believe, what she said about the Ninja Turtles Pop Rocks experience. I passed on the opportunity. The only other things I can think of are the classic dirty bathrooms and the fact that we were in an older theater with uncomfortable seats and some glitches on the screen. Oh! And the AC was out...in only one theater...
Patrick: How did you like Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One? More importantly, how did you like Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One with a reflection of the green emergency EXIT sign in the corner?
Taylor: I have to say, usually those reflections annoy me endlessly, but I was more or less able to ignore it during this flick. Go me! To be clear, I've never seen an M:I movie, so I was going in more or less blind other than the basic conceit. I...enjoyed it? I think? The action was actioning, the stunts were stunting. But that's not to say I think it's a particularly good movie. The dialogue is robotic, the performances serve the purpose but don't go beyond what's asked, and it all feels pretty cold. But I can't say I wasn't into it at certain points.
Patrick: I was SUPER into it for a while. In fact, basically the first 90 minutes. Then, 150 Minute Movie Syndrome kicks in and I spent the last hour exhausted from the whole thing, either glazed over or fighting sleep. To think that combining both parts of these movies will take over five hours to tell this story...that's criminal. It's not without its fun and I really dug most of it, but that well ran dry after normal-movie-runtime.
Taylor: And it almost always does. At this point, movies have become so bloated that when a movie is quick, dirty, and effective, I hold that filmmaker in incredibly high regard almost instantly. I would say I dug the idea of it and the stunts more than I actually dug the collective movie and experience. But, I also recognize that it's not a movie that is best enjoyed by harping on the technicalities - I should just shut up and turn my brain off and enjoy it.
Patrick: That's how I felt until the film got to Italy...and then I felt like I was watching Fast X all over again. Speaking of movies without conclusions...
Taylor: Italy was rough. Not only did it seem to just never end, but in IMAX, my ears were about to bleed from all the screeching tires. I know some people always prefer things bigger, better, louder, but sometimes it's just too damn much and that was a perfect example.
Patrick: Tom Cruise would be so disappointed in you. Speaking of...is he the only great action star we have left?
Taylor: Ummm excuse me, have you even BEEN to a Redbox lately to see a Gerard Butler movie?
Patrick: I said GREAT.
Taylor: Here's the thing. I grew up in a No Tom Cruise Zone. My dad absolutely hated the guy. No real reason, just said he had pompous asshole vibes. My mom and I would be bullied relentlessly if we tried to watch a movie with him in it, so we just never did. I think that has always made it really hard for me to find him enjoyable, even now. So last great action star? Maybe, but my biases make that difficult to declare.
Patrick: Actor as auteur is a difficult thing to argue, but considering he produces these movies and clearly cares very deeply about them, I think it's safe here. He feels like the only guy who wants to make popcorn movies...but also cares if they're good or not. Plot and character do matter and if those things happen (like in Top Gun: Maverick), then great. Largely, it's about doing crazy shit after crazy shit (I will NEVER get over the fact that he, a few movies ago, held onto a plane while it took off) and making sure that there's enough to connect those setpieces. It's about the balance that seems to only exist in the yesteryear of action cinema. I think that's why I was frustrated with this entry. It's the seventh film in the franchise, we know and love these people...can't we just play? Why does it have to be so serious? Why does it have to take five hours?
Taylor: It was extremely serious! And I'm not saying filmmaking isn't serious and actors/producers/artists can't take projects seriously, but you're totally right in saying this warranted some playtime. To my point about the robotic dialogue, every single thing they said was exposition. There's no "just for fun" stuff or real relationship building (outside of what was necessary for the basic plot), and if you can focus on solely a bloated plot for FIVE HOURS... I'm sorry your movie is too damn convoluted.
Patrick: They really take the latex mask thing seriously. I know it was serious for six other movies, but it's so silly.
Taylor: Don't even get me started on that. Once again, I should just recognize it's silly and move on, but I can't. I'm a pompous hater to my core! The prolonged swashbuckling knife fights were also pretty silly, huh?
Patrick: Final thought: Tom Cruise is the best movie runner I've ever seen. Daniel Craig is a close second, but Cruise really gets form.
Taylor: Yeah, I'll proudly give that to him. Running usually pretty objectively looks goofy, but he makes it look incredibly badass. It's those short legs!
Patrick: Would you recommend this movie?
Taylor: I guess so. I feel like this is a movie that, in reality, I'd recommend to people who like action movies to the point of being able to sacrifice other aspects of filmmaking, but those people will already go see this movie.
Patrick: It's not a bad movie! At all! It's just long! I would say check it out, but skip the Pop Rocks-laced ICEE and grab a coffee.
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