IMF agent Ethan Hunt is framed for a botched job and disavowed
as a mole, and must expose the true mole who murdered his team.
Mission Impossible (1996)
Directed by Brian De Palma
Written by David Koepp and Robert Towne
Starring Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart,
Henry Czerny, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Vanessa Redgrave
Based on the 1966-1973 TV series
Prior to watching this first installment in Tom Cruise's long-running franchise, I had only seen Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation. With Fallout due later this summer, I felt it was finally time to check out this action series in its entirety. While the first Mission Impossible is a solid action flick and an all-around fun movie, it doesn't really stand on its own. It tries way too hard to pander to fans of the old TV show, and comes across as forgettable. The most recent installments have tried their hardest to reclaim the glory of the franchise, but after watching this one, it makes me wonder where the glory even came from in the first place.
Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, the character most people tend to associate with Tom Cruise even after his long career of memorable characters. Hunt is an agent of the IMF (Impossible Missions Force, quite possibly the stupidest fictional agency name ever) who is framed as a mole after his team is murdered. He makes it his mission to expose the real mole and avenge his team. What follows is a relatively by-the-numbers action flick with one particularly memorable scene in which Cruise dangles in a highly secure room. Even though you know they'll pull off the job, that scene is still tense as hell. Jon Voight plays Jim Phelps, the original agent from the TV show who was supposed to be played by original actor, Peter Graves. However, once Graves learned that Phelps was the movie's true villain, he wanted no part in it. The twist is mild to say the least, and doesn't really make a lot of sense. Plot is secondary to action in this film.
The climax on the train is pretty entertaining and the CGI doesn't look too bad. Overall, I'd say Mission Impossible is lukewarm, and it's incredible that a hugely profitable action franchise emerged from it. A franchise, mind you, that's still going today and has gotten way, way better. So, I guess I'm glad this movie was successful, or else we wouldn't have the awesome sequels. Still, I'd hoped for better.