"Mission: Impossible" Film Review

Mission: Impossible (1996)

"Mission: Impossible" Film Review

Rating: 4/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    Tom Cruise is a bonafide movie star. He became the pretty boy all the girls loved in films like "Risky Business" and showed off his acting chops in pictures like "A Few Good Men". Albeit "Top Gun", Paramount's 1996 film, "Mission: Impossible", based off the popular show that came many years before its feature length debut, made him a blockbuster action star. Over the years, Cruise has been known for his hair-raising stunts, and it all started with this film. Whether or not they knew this was going to take off and become such a hit franchise that everyone knows today, this film is a great start to a long-lasting legacy of action-packed spy thrillers. 

    The film follows Ethan Hunt (Cruise), an IMF agent who has worked his way through the ranks at a very young age. He usually teams up with his mentor Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) and his team of agents on missions to protect the United States, and sometimes even the world itself. However, when a mission goes wrong and turns deadly, all fingers are pointed to Ethan to blame. 

    Now on the run from the IMF, Ethan must find out who the mole is in the agency, and bring them to justice to clear his name. By doing so, he'll need to recruit a team of blacklisted agents, including pro-hacker Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and helicopter pilot Franz Krieger (Jean Reno). Their mission includes stealing a coveted list of names of agents, as well as making sure it doesn't fall in the wrong hands. 

    From beginning to end, this movie is a whirlwind that is so much fun to watch. Director Brian de Palma, who has had previous experience directing fantastic films like "Scarface" and "Blow-Out" really shows how he is able to bring the spy genre to screen in such a glorious way. Every inch of this film oozes charisma and charm that anyone can be jealous of for not being as cool as Ethan and his comrades. 

    I think that is just what makes Ethan who he is - he's cool. He's suave. He can practically smooth talk his way out of any situation imaginable, and this easily makes him such a fun and lovable character to watch. Of course he has that cocky attitude that Cruise puts on for a lot of his characters when he was younger, but that doesn't change the fact that you root for his character and watch in pure amazement throughout the entire movie. 

    The story is very interesting and complex, really making the viewer think about what is going on and why the characters do what they do. It is a very smart blockbuster film, contrary to other Cruise hits like "Top Gun". It knows it's intelligent and self-aware at times, which is obvious when the film just seems very convoluted and too much at times. While the story does work, it seems like Cruise and de Palma got a little too big for their britches and tried to make it go over the audience's heads. 

    At the same time, the film does linger a bit too long after the mission that takes place in the first part of the picture. It sets up a good plot and is ready to play it out on the screen, but it's not sure where to start. It's definitely noticeable as Ethan sits at the computer screen and tries different passwords in a blinding, tired haze for about two minutes. But, when they really do start to take off, there is no slowing down and it proceeds at a pace that is faster than Cruise himself. 

    The action sequences are glorious, and really set the bar for what the Mission: Impossible films are. Every film since then, Cruise and his director try to outdo themselves and keep upping the ante, but this is a very impressive start. I mean, we watch as Ethan is holding onto dear life on the top of a train trying to kill the bad guy. How can you not have fun with that?!

    Sure, there are its flaws and issues, but overall, this is a very impressive and fun start to this long-running spy franchise. Cruise and de Palma show they are having fun with this film, and really go all in with the spy atmosphere present throughout this movie. I enjoy this installment immensely, and am grateful for the franchise it has given us.