Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Movie Review: "Mission: Impossible" (1996)

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Movie"Mission: Impossible"
Director: Brian De Palma
Year: 1996
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

The Impossible Mission Force, aka the IMF, has been assigned their latest mission: to prevent an international criminal from stealing and selling a secret list of CIA agents working in the field. Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) leads the mission, and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is the point man, but something goes wrong and all of Hunt's team wind up dead. The head of the IMF, Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny), believes there was a mole in Ethan's team, and since he is the only survivor, he believe it's Ethan. Now, Hunt must go off the grid and create a team of other disavowed agents to flush out the real mole and prove his innocence. 

Television series being adapted into movies don't always have the best track record in Hollywood. There's The Mod Squad, The Avengers (the non-Marvel one), Lost in Space and so on, which were all panned by critics and failures at the box office. Fortunately, "Mission: Impossible" and the hi-tech spy genre lends itself greatly to the feature film format. This has led to some solid box office success and many various sequels of the series. The original, the one that started it all, is quite entertaining and pretty thrilling, too. Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, one of the IMF's top operatives, who has been falsely accused of being a mole and working for the enemy. In order to clear his name and flush out the real mole, he must play the role of a double agent and obtain what the enemy wants. Tom Cruise might be mental in his real life, but in his acting life, he never ceases to impress us when it comes to kicking ass and doing his own stunts. Cruise is really good as Ethan Hunt and plays these action parts very well. It probably has to do with the fact that he's (obviously) a little crazy and off his rocker, contributing to his willingness to perform the vast majority of adventurous roles while doing said stunts. Jon Voight, in one of his more tolerable roles, manages to not piss us off and does a good job, though his sinister face makes it hard to trust him. Ving Rhames provides what little humor there is in the movie, and since he is in all subsequent M.I. films, his role becomes a bit more beefed up over time. There are a couple of other bit parts by the likes of Emilio Estevez and Jean Reno, and overall, the cast is good.

"Mission: Impossible" is a fun popcorn action flick that is part spy thriller, part heist film, but somehow still manages to be all entertainment. There are many cool, memorable scenes throughout the film that have become iconic in both the action world and elsewhere. These scenes have been parodied and redone in popular culture throughout the years and still manage to be just as entertaining today. We must admit, a lot of the action is completely over the top, especially towards the film's climax. A helicopter entering a train tunnel? Chases on top of trains? Come on. We don't mind this, but after nearly 2 hours, it all gets a little frenetic. In many ways, Ethan Hunt could be considered the American James Bond with his wide array of hi-tech gadgets, though he may have a little less charm. In many other ways, however, Hunt has much more tact and finesse in completing his missions when compared to Bond, especially over time. Sure, sometimes this movie can be a little predictable and formulaic, but it's never boring, especially when the majority of it consists of some sort of explosion or backstabbing or neat-o gadget.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 61%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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