Mission Impossible movie review
It’s the original, it’s the best of the bunch, it’s one of the most underrated action movies of the 1990s, it’s Mission Impossible – franchise starter protocol!
This movie has a shocking low 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, which, when compared to modern action movies (think Transformers, Elysium, or the newer Mission Impossible movies, for that matter), is completely insane. I know the overall premise to the story is convoluted (more on that in a second), but that doesn’t make the movie hard to follow. Also, the individual scenes work well just as action set pieces or even dialogue moments because the performances are so strong.
At least Siskel and Ebert liked it.
Whew, they thought this movie was hard to follow? Wait till the see the sequels. (Or any of the Transformers movies.)
Brian De Palma’s direction is masterful. There’s so much to gush over, but I love the angles in the Ethan/Kittredge bar scene (above) and the movie’s use of silence as shown here:
Awesome. This is quality all around film making; photography, directing, lighting, costume design, performance, sound design, knowing when to and not to use music… this is how it’s done.
Mission Impossible is one of my favorite Tom Cruise roles. He’s so expressive – I especially love when he’s charming Max (“I suggest you pack first.”) or freaking out (“Wake up, Claire! Jim’s dead! They’re all dead!”) or simply giving Jon Voight his comeuppance. (“I’m not the only one who’s seen you alive.”)
The script has general shortcomings rather than specific issues. It’s interesting; the plot points can be weak at times, but the dialogue is incredibly strong. Things like, “They stamped it, didn’t they? Those God damn Gideons,” are the exact sort of jokes I’m looking for in a tense seen even if it doesn’t make much sense that Jon Voight took the Bible from the Drake Hotel in first place. (Max specifically mentions that Job never quotes scripture in his emails, so what did he need it for?)
The real issue with the movie’s premise is that the bad guys already have the list of codenames and are just missing the companion true name list. And they need this… why? Just look for the code names! If I called myself Jamie in some situations and Dave in others, I’d be just as dead if you killed Dave because they’re both the same dude. Obviously, if you had a my real name, you’d have more leverage to go after my family and whatnot, but I presume that in this movie, the goal is to figure out who is an IMF agent in one’s criminal organization and take them out, so my original argument stands.
Yeah, it’s not a perfect movie, but I still maintain that Mission Impossible is solid entertainment that is actually better now than it was when it was new. In the age of action movies like Escape Plan, this might be an oldie, but it’s a goodie. I’m giving it a solid recommendation at 8 out of 10.