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The Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One Scene That Puts Fast X To Shame

"Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One" is set to be one of the biggest movies of the year, boasting an impressive 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes as it tracks for a staggering $250 million debut at the global box office. As we all wait to see if Ethan Hunt's most recent death-defying mission for the IMF manages to top Tom Cruise's last blockbuster hit, "Top Gun: Maverick," there are already a number of heavy hitters from this very year vanishing in its ever-growing shadow — namely, "Fast X."

Though "Dead Reckoning" surpasses "Fast X" in a number of ways, including in terms of critical reception, the quality gap between these two blockbuster films is evident through their respective chase sequences through the streets of Rome. Strangely enough, the two scenes are eerily similar, right down to the extended shots of cars somehow driving down the Spanish Steps. Yet despite their similarities, "Dead Reckoning Part One" has the clearly superior scene between the two.

The Rome chase proves Tom Cruise is a true action hero

The car chase scene in "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One" stands head and shoulders above the one in "Fast X" for its practicality. Even in the Spanish Steps moment, the vehicle seen in "Dead Reckoning" looks like an actual car, while the one seen in "Fast X" looks like a fairly rendered but unfortunately obvious CGI model. 

The "Fast X" scene is also just as empty and needlessly complicated as the rest of the film, aiming for the over-the-top antics fans have come to expect. But its bloated ensemble appears and disappears from the action as the plot necessitates while the logical consequences of their violence are doled out seemingly at random, effectively destroying any tension that might be created. Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto survives explosions and high-speed crashes, while Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) is knocked out of commission for the remainder of the film seemingly by jumping out of a car.

Meanwhile, "Dead Reckoning" aims for a simpler complexity, structured like a classic action scene in the way it gives Ethan Hunt and Grace (Hayley Atwell) a creative obstacle in the form of handcuffs to make what might've been a tropey chase sequence unique. Another example of this is the choice of vehicle — a small, bright yellow Fiat 500 awkwardly retrofitted with IMF tech. In a franchise and a genre where we've come to expect the rampant, cathartic destruction of sports cars, it's exciting to watch Tom Cruise attempt to steer a city car so tiny it barely fits his legs while handcuffed to a thief who can't drive four feet without running into something. It feels like a genuine creative risk, the sort that requires the brand of vulnerability that defines a true action hero like Cruise.