Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mission: Impossible - Review

   Based on the old television show of the same name, Mission: Impossible started what would become a franchise that has now spanned almost twenty years, as well as launching Tom Cruise’s action star career. After all this time, Mission: Impossible stills holds up as a fun, action-spy film.
      Jim Phelps’ (Jon Voight) IMF team is assigned with retrieving a list that contains the identities of all the IMF agents around the world. The mission goes awry when the squad slowly dwindles to lone agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise). After being branded a traitor by IMF, Hunt tries to identify the real mole and clear his name. He of course doesn’t go alone as knife expert Franz Krieger (Jean Reno), computer whiz Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Jim’s widow, Claire (Emmanuelle Beart).
   Story-wise, the film differs from other spy films and even from further entries in the franchise. Shootouts and gadgets were kept to a minimum in exchange for an emphasis on the team aspect and building suspense.
   The portrayal of Ethan Hunt is a perfect character for a spy-genre film. He isn’t a superhero, but rather a vulnerable hero who is very worried and distressed once his whole team is killed.  These characteristics fit a man who has essentially become a fugitive, thus making it seem like his mission is even more impossible than initially thought.
   While Ethan Hunt is clearly the main protagonist, the team around him provides tremendous support and each member is essential to the mission. Ving Rhames is exceptional casting as Luther Stickell. Never would you think to have Rhames as a computer hacker who loves all his tech, but it works well in this film, as well as the franchise.
   The villain of the film remains largely unseen. This creates an interesting opportunity for director Brian De Palma to pay off the intrigue and mystery surrounding this villainous persona very well.  Slick sequences roll by as Ethan Hunt slowly figures out who betrayed IMF and his team.
  De Palma can’t be complimented enough. As said before, for a film that is almost twenty years old, Mission: Impossible holds up very well (minus the portrayal of the Internet). The stunts are so well placed and paced that you won’t even notice Hunt never holds a gun.  And this absence of a weapon is largely unnoticed due to the fun action sequences provided, including the signature rappelling scene, one of the more suspenseful scenes in the four-film franchise.
    And of course there is the score by Danny Elfman. One of more the more memorable theme songs out there, one can’t help but get excited when they hear the famous music of Mission: Impossible.  The music is used quite well when it’s there, building the action up where it’s needed.

   Overall Mission: Impossible is great action movie, with thrilling stunts and well-paced and suspenseful scenes.  The direction hits every point and it features a very cool hero in Ethan Hunt, as well as an enjoyable supporting cast. The first one that spawned numerous sequels, Mission: Impossible just so happens to be one of the better films in the franchise as well. (8.0/10)