When Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One opens tomorrow, audiences will rediscover Henry Czerny‘s Eugene Kittridge, playing not just the IMF director but one of the great all-time, upper-level, intelligence community dickheads.

If you’re any kind of fan of this franchise, you know that Kittridge, who’s been absent since his debut appearance in Brian DePalma‘s Mission Impossible (’96), is a near carbon copy of Czerny’s original upper-level intelligence community dickhead — CIA deputy director Robert Ritter in Phillip Noyce‘s Clear and Present Danger (’94).

While Ritter and the ’96 version of Kittridge were two peas in a pod — identical appearance, brusque, cynical, bespectacled — the present version of Kittridge is a slightly different species. Gray-haired, a bit heavier and with a sense of the absurd about the high-end intelligence car-chase and train-wreck racket, as some of his lines register in a deadpan humor vein.

HE is more of a fan of Ritter than Kittridge as Ritter would never, ever fuck around — he meant every damn word and never considered any sort of black-humor perspective.

What am I really saying? Clear and Present Danger played it straight and for the most part unironically while Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One is a double tracker — mostly an ace-level thriller but partly (or at least at times) a Buster Keaton action film, as some of the action hijinks summon titters and guffaws.