HOLLYWOOD—I love Tom Cruise when it comes to an action-flick. This man knows how to deliver and he has done it again with his latest entry in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise with ‘Dead Reckoning: Part I.’ Just when you think Tom cannot top that last stunt rather its climbing the highest building in the world, jumping out of planes or a crazy car stunt that you have to see to believe, this seventh entry into the franchise is absolutely a fun time.

Let me warn you all, the flick clocks in at 163 minutes. It is lengthy, but dare I saw it was worth every single minute people because the opening sequence as with most “Mission: Impossible” flicks is fantastic. It is full of stunts, fantastic visuals and clearly informs the audience of the narrative at play. Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is tackling a new mission, one connected to a highly coveted key that opens something, but what is only alluded to until the end of the flick. Yes, the TITLE alone tells you we’re dealing with a cliffhanger, but I will not spoil that for you.

Hunt has his team which includes Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames). It is always a good thing to see characters from a franchise return over and over again because Benji brings the witty comic element and Rhames brings a level of brute force and charm that round out Ethan’s team. With that said, I just have to say this; I love Elsa (Rebecca Ferguson). While I was NOT the biggest fan of “Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation,” the character of Ilsa Faust was a fantastic introduction to the franchise. She is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to an ass-kicking fighter who is on par with Hunt himself.

However, with faces of the past we have some new ones as well with Hayley Atwell as Grace, a thief who was hired to perform a specific job to obtain that key. She is an elusive character, where the audience never knows if we can trust or not, and that forces you to become more invested in the chaos. At times you want to root for her, at other times you want to ring her neck because of her antics.

The villain this time is questionable because there are so many moving parts in this movie you don’t know who our protagonists can actually trust. We have Henry Czerny as Eugene Kittridge, the former director of the IMF and the current director of the CIA. Czerny does fantastic work here, but it doesn’t hurt that he has portrayed the villain role so well in his career. It was nice to see him as a therapist in “Scream VI” this year to be honest. There is also Esai Morales as Gabriel, a face from Ethan’s past that the audience doesn’t know too much about, but we know with certainty he is the big bad and he proves it countless times throughout the movie.

There is also the return of Vanessa Kirby as Alanna Mitsopolis, a black-arms dealer who will do anything to get her hands on the key. Adding to the female rooster is Pom Klementieff, as Paris, an assassin who works for Gabriel. The “Mission: Impossible” franchise is great at highlighting women in powerful, kick-ass roles, and this seventh entry in the franchise might do it better than any others.

Let’s talk about the action because this movie puts its foot on the gas and doesn’t let go to the climatic finish and I was thoroughly entertained. I did not look at my watch a single time during this almost 3-hour extravaganza. The chase in the airport: riveting. The car sequence in Venice was absolutely mesmerizing to witness; the fight sequences some of the best choreographed things I have ever seen. We have to talk about that stunt involving Cruise, a motorcycle and a cliff. You might have seen the tease, but seeing it on the big screen is awesome and that train sequence, wow, wow, wow. Director Christopher McQuarrie has done it yet again with pristine care.

McQuarrie has heralded three films in the franchise and will also step behind the camera for ‘Dead Reckoning: Part Two’ in 2024. The film really sets the stage for what is going to be an epic conclusion to this two-part saga and as soon as it ended I was ready for the next one that is how juicy things are weaved in this satisfying entry in the franchise. I thought the filmmakers wouldn’t be able to top ‘Fallout,’ but ‘Dead Reckoning: Part One’ exceeds that flick. The question that now remains is rather ‘Part Two’ can finish off just as strong, as its predecessor.