Few critics have angered me more over the years than David Ehrlich, but when he’s right, he’s right:

“The frantic and extremely funny mid-film chase through the streets of central Rome, during which Hunt is handcuffed to the sexy pickpocket (franchise newcomer Hayley Atwell) who might be able to lead him to the MacGuffin. A jaw-dropping ‘how the fuck did they do that?’ mega-flex in an age when movies are seldom magical enough to beg that question, the city-wide jailbreak combines artfully destructive slapstick with the loudest car crashes you’ve ever heard to create the kind of cinematic euphoria that still can’t be faked or forged at home. VR headsets might allow rich people to enjoy IMAX-sized screens on their living room couches, but Dead Reckoning is a bone-shaking reminder that sound is the real secret weapon of the theatrical experience.

“Not since La Dolce Vita has a film more effectively transformed ancient Rome into a modern playground, a fitting touch for a blockbuster so desperate to squeeze a few new dollops of joy from the ruins that surround it.”

“Gloriously Immune To Woke Mobthink,” posted on 6.28.23: “To a modest degree Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One has a varied cast (the half-Korean Pom Klementieff and the cappuccino Greg Tarzan Davis are the ethnic standouts) but it’s not annoyingly diverse in a Barbie-ish, check-all-the-right-boxes way.

“It was seemingly produced within an alternate reality membrane, welcomely and even gloriously immune to the woke convulsions of the last six years…no conspicuous LGBTQ or trans characters, no Jabbas. Strange as it may sound and as confounding as it jay seem to some, MI:7 isn’t particularly focused on matters of race, gender and sexuality…good heavens!

Contentious Friendo: “One reason that superhero movies dig in harder on diversity and whatever other shit bothers you is because they’re (ostensibly) aspirational, as teenagers have all kinds of identity issues and sensitivities and whatnot.

“Honestly [Hollywood’s woke fetish is] not THAT different from what comics, especially Marvel Comics, did in the ‘60s, introducing Black Panther and the native American character Wyatt Wingfoot.And they were pretty ahead of the curve in gay ‘representation”’ in the ‘80s. It didn’t hurt that X-Men writer Chris Claremont was a bondage enthusiast whose off-hours lifestyle closely resembled what you see in Friedkin’s Cruising.” [HE insertion: “Oooohh, a bondage enthiusiast!”] And then DC got in on the fun with very earnest Social Issue plots, like Green Lantern/Green Arrow fighting the scourge of drug addiction.

“With the basics of the franchise now almost thirty years established, the Mission: Impossible franchise isn’t teen-oriented. Ethan Hunt’s a sexually abstemious James Bond and that’s enough to earn him a pass through woke world, or maybe Chris McQuarrie and Tom Cruise are hell-bent on making sure what they do isn’t ‘relevant’ to the larger world, and jusy serveing up a lot of suspenseful escapism.

“I know you’re consumed by the topic but there is honestly nothing more boring to me than thinking about it. Hollywood ‘ideology’ has always been provisional and ultimately insincere in any event.”