By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –
A team of spies is all but killed off when a mission goes horribly wrong, leaving Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) the last man standing, or so he thinks. Believing that he has been betrayed by his superiors, Ethan recruits a team of mercenaries in an effort to infiltrate the CIA headquarters to recover information which might clear his name.
Director Brian DePalma was a wonderfully off the wall choice as director for the film adaptation of the popular espionage TV series. DePalma’s films are known for their obsession with “Director for Hire” mode; he manages to inject a definite style which might have thrown off mainstream audiences of the time. The story is full of twists and turns, driven (for the most part) by dialogue rather than action sequences. Fans of the original series were up in arms about several of the film’s choices, such as making a villain out of one of the original series’ main characters… not to mention making that elderly character take part in a major stunt sequence.
Managing to be less believable than Sean Connery in Entrapment
For the most part, the action in Mission Impossible exists to propel the story, not as a means in itself. The climactic sequence however, which involves a helicopter chasing a train through a long tunnel, is not one of these moments. The over the tope tone, combined with the sequence’s relative unimportance to the story make it feel tacked on in order to give the film a big finale. On top of that, the computer-generated effects might have been impressive for the time, but feel hopelessly dated today.
With that said, modern viewers might still appreciate the sequence as a piece of unintentional comedy… which doesn’t exactly help the film’s overall impact.
1996 was the year of bait-and-switch action films. Not unlike the way Executive Decision was often promoted as a Steven Seagal film, Mission Impossible‘s trailers emphasized characters who are summarily dispatched within the first 15 minutes. This isn’t even a real complaint, but as a big Mighty Ducks fan at the time (and 10 years old), I was utterly traumatized.
A solid, if unessential spy movie; which ignited a whole series of solid, if unessential action movies.
Take a Drink: for each appearance of the bubblegum bomb
Take a Drink: every time Tom Cruise hangs precariously from some object
Do a Shot: every time the movie flashes back to a scene of a teammate being killed