One of the few things not to come out of Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 battered, broken or indeed dead is the bloody key, both bits of which are now in the possession of Ethan Hunt. Unfortunately the keyhole is on a Russian submarine at the bottom of the sea, but that’s the only way for anyone to access the original code for the Entity… Time to unpack those budgie smugglers, Ethan.
What is The Entity?
It sounds like a 1990s middle-class white rapper, but is scary enough to send the world’s top terrorists and political leaders into overdrive as they look to harness his powers for their own ends; and the Entity’s origins story leads right back to those leaders.
We see the Russian submarine Sevastopol at the start of the film: its crew respond to an unexpected enemy attack by a foreign submarine with their own weapons, only for the foreign sub and its torpedos to suddenly disappear from their sonar screens. The Sevastopol’s own torpedos then turn around and head back to the Russian sub, exploding into it and killing all the crew.
The Entity is an AI which has gone rogue and infiltrated all corners of the Internet, learning as it goes and becoming sentient. It knows everything and can dissemble at will, misdirecting, subverting countries’ relationships with their allies, eventually destroying Truth itself. Despite making itself cosy within the Sevastopol computer, the Entity is not a creation of the Russians but the Americans, who developed it as a super weapon. However once it was put into the Sevastopol‘s systems, it went rogue.
The Entity can now get anywhere and everywhere online, but can only be destroyed or shutdown using the key to access the computer of the Sevastopol — which is lying at the bottom of the sea.
But… where is everyone?
Poor Ilsa meets her end, on that elegant iron Venetian bridge, killed by the Dark Messiah, Gabriel, a man from Ethan’s past (even before Ilsa he has already killed a woman close to Ethan). I guess I shouldn’t have taken the piss out of him in my review. I was convinced Ilsa would turn out to be alive — her death is faked earlier in the movie after she’s attacked in a sandstorm in the desert — but apparently not.
Dark angel Gabriel, the least scary-looking Evil Emissary I’ve ever seen, survives (was he always called Gabriel or is this ironic nominative determinism at work?) He has already killed Isla, murdered the train driver, killed US intelligence head Denlinger and stabbed Paris. Now, after blowing up an upcoming viaduct, he jumps from the runaway train onto a waiting truck. He thinks the key in his pocket, but it’s not there — Ethan has snatched it during their fight on top of the moving train.
Attacked and left for dead is Paris, who works for the Entity before swapping sides. She initially tries to kill Ethan when he’s lured into a network of Venice’s narrow passageways by the Entity, which is mimicking Benji’s voice. Later, on the Orient Express, Paris is stabbed by Gabriel, but still manages to comes to Ethan and Grace’s aid at the very end as they desperately try to clamber up the chain of train carriages dangling off that viaduct. I think she dies at the end.
Grace — A1 pickpocket, originally employed by White Widow Alanna Mitsopolis to steal the other half of the key, which she plans to sell on — disguises herself as Alanna using one of Benji’s masks and meets with Alanna’s “buyer” on the train. That buyer turns out to be Eugene Kittridge, though at the last minute Grace backs out of her plan to pocket the $100,000,000 for herself and steals back the whole key. She survives that terrifying climb back up the dangling carriages and ends up joining the IMF (Impossible Missions Force), accepting that she is unable to return to her old life.
Ethan escapes the train, though he only has one glider backpack and has to leave Grace behind.
So what could we expect in the newly-analogue spy world of Dead Reckoning Part 2?
We know the ending of the story lies at the bottom of the sea in the Sevastopol though I can’t imagine the Entity just waiting quietly to be deleted. Maybe it will go meta and search through Chris McQuarrie’s laptop to find out its fate. Maybe it will have a bit of fun, changing next week’s lottery numbers to 123456. Maybe it will escape, lying low for a while somewhere less high-tech before being rebooted, in every sense, in a B-movie horror (“the call is coming from inside the microwave oven!”)
We only have two years to wait! Dead Reckoning Part 2 is out in the UK on May 23, 2025, though it is apparently no longer going to be subtitled Dead Reckoning Part 2.