The Movie Review: Mission Impossible

Rating 2 and 1/2 Stars


In the spirit of the 5th movie, Rogue Nation, in this franchise being released, it was only fitting for me to go back to the roots of the franchise, with the first Mission Impossible released in the stone ages of 1996.

I hope Ethan Hunt isn’t surprised to find himself in a rogue situation in the latest installment, because has dealt with the whole rogue agent thing before. I have only watched Ghost Protocol, and he was certainly Rogue in that one.

Mission Impossible has a lighter touch, as if it needed a confidence builder before it decided to really put “impossible” to the test.

Ethan Hunt is a reflective character for parts of this film, before he really becomes Super Cruise as movie goers portray him now. I’m a frequent reader of the Chicago Tribune movie reviews, and I read Matt Zoller Seitz’s 4 star remarks on Rogue Nation. Seitz glowingly talked about how Tom Cruisey the movie was.

I find Ethan Hunt really to just be a super hero disguised as an American agent. His intelligence is vastly superior with Sherlock levels of attention to detail. He pulls of feats that are, in essence, impossible. Cruise does get some extra bodies to help out on his escapades, but they all seem to be working as an extension of Cruise. So I will now refer to Ethan Hunt by his true identity, “Super Cruise”.

The movie begins with a simple mission. And here I thought I was watching Mission Impossible.

Of course I know the old trick about a simple mission, something is bound to go wrong. Things go wrong, Super Cruise goes rogue as everyone around him gets swatted like flies. Cruise’s own CIA seems to have a stake in this, as there is a mole situation in this midst, and the CIA was perfectly fine with skinning some of their own apparently.

The plot is simple but not really tethered altogether. Motivations are not really developed. This is a revenge movie. I talked about revenge in my review of Big Hero 6, also a film about revenge. This is the other side where we want to see Super Cruise find who sold him out and give him that good old American justice.

As twists start to reveal what really went down in the botched mole mission, Cruise actually seems to be the one being played to this point. There is a great scene toward the end revealing the true mole, and Cruise looks off into the distance dumbfounded for a moment. On the inside though I knew that he knew, and he knew that he knew. He will tell is he knew the plot all along.

What you can’t rely on in an espionage tale is the female. And even Super Cruise falls victim to the Bond curse. He takes it rather well, Super Cruise is very good about resolving his emotions.

All the factions crash together on a train ride that builds to the big reveal and the resulting climax where the mole ultimately tries to escape via a helicopter flown by one of his henchman. The helicopter scene sets the tone for the definition of impossible as no suspension of belief could’ve had Super Cruise jumping from an exploding helicopter and landing pancaked on the back of a high speed train. The same high speed train he was holding onto by fingertips a moment ago. With today’s special effects, the scene would’ve looked really cool, but would’ve resulted in the same effect that it was all utter ridiculousness at this point.

But you got what you signed up for. If you don’t like Mission Impossible because of the stunts, than you’re watching the wrong movie.

The big takeaway from Mission Impossible is a scene where Super Cruise is attempting a hack into the CIA mainframe. Suspense is very well built by the number of near detections inside a state of the art security system that gets mad when the thermostat is raised a degree. Super Cruise keeps his composure in the face of it all and in the most difficult feat of the movie, walks out of CIA HQ without a raised eyebrow.

Camera angles from an early discussion from Cruise and the CIA Director are also a highlight in an early suspense builder.

What the Mission Impossible franchise is great at doing is creating angles, shots, and scenes that stick out in your mind not because of the context, but the grandeur. What magic trick will Super Cruise pull out next to wow us?

I’m sure those that have watched Rogue Nation have already urged you to go see.

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