Movie villains always change with the times, with their country of origin reflecting shifts in global politics. But the major movie antagonist of 2023 doesn’t come from a specific place – it’s artificial intelligence. This terrifying foe has been seen in the Netflix movie Heart of Stone, the original sci-fi movie The Creator, and most prominently – in Tom Cruise‘s Mission Impossible 7. And it’s alarming enough to have pushed the US President, Joe Biden, to sign a new executive order.
The dangers of AI have been a central theme in cinema for decades and some of the best science fiction movies deal with the idea of abominable AI taking over the world. Still science fiction is quickly becoming science reality, and it’s Tom Cruise‘s latest action movie, Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, that’s proved to be the final nail in the coffin for President Biden’s AI worries.
If you watch the Mission Impossible movies in order, you will find an array of nemeses for Cruise’s Ethan Hunt – from British actors Dougray Scott and Sean Harris to Henry Cavill and his evil mustache to probably the best movie villain in the entire franchise – Philip Seymour Hoffman. But in the seventh movie, the villain is something simply called The Entity, and it’s undoubtedly the most chilling of all.
In AP’s report on President Biden signing the executive order on artificial intelligence on October 30, it mentions, “At Camp David one weekend, he relaxed by watching the Tom Cruise film Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. The film’s villain is a sentient and rogue AI known as ‘the Entity’ that sinks a submarine and kills its crew in the movie’s opening minutes.”
“If he hadn’t already been concerned about what could go wrong with AI before that movie, he saw plenty more to worry about,” said White House Chief of Staff Bruce Reed, who watched the film with the president.
The Entity is a sentient algorithm that can infiltrate the world’s banks and stock markets, as well as access nuclear codes and CCTV cameras – so just a little bit powerful then. Dead Reckoning Part One sees various nefarious parties trying to gain control of the Entity’s access key, and the story will continue in Mission Impossible 8.
As we said, the fear of AI is nothing new, but recent advancements in technology have made the idea of a genocidal AI terrifyingly relevant. You don’t even need an AI capable of launching nuclear weapons to cause chaos. Deep fake technology and AI voices are the perfect tools for someone hoping to cause a little chaos.
It was recently reported that Mission Impossible 8 was being pushed back by almost a year, to May 2025, and confusingly, may have a title change from the initially planned Dead Reckoning Part Two. Whether this reflects a shift away from the Entity as the main antagonist remains to be seen, but the Mission Impossible 7 ending was certainly a cliffhanger.
It will now be an agonizing two-year gap between the movies, which is definitely leaving us frustrated. While we wait, catch up with the best Tom Cruise movies, the best action movies, and the best science fiction movies. We’re excited for more sci-fi spectacle in The Marvels.