this is a review of mission: impossible: 1 i wrote for a journalism class. it was written the weekend m: i: 1 opened in 1996 and it was actually published in the college paper. as one of my first reviews ever, it was actually quite embarrassing and cringe-inducing reading it again when i was typing it up. i even had to fix a few errors. i don’t quite agree with it now, i don’t know if it’s because i had higher standard in movies then or if the blockbuster tentpole movies are worse. probably a bit of both. it is more in the style of traditional newspaper reviews. it’s probably a good thing that it’s cheesier and not as well written as the recent ones. on the other and, it was published on actual paper. having seen it a few more times over the years, i do like it a whole lot more than i did, way more than one specific movie mentioned in the second to last paragraph. i even put in proper capitalization, if you’re into that sort of things.
Let’s face it: no matter what anybody tells you, you are going to see the all-hyped-up Tom Cruise movie “Mission: Impossible.” And that’s good news to the filmmakers since the film itself is not all that it can be.
Based on the old CBS series which ran from 1966-1973, the new film version has the familiar theme song (here remade by U2′s Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.) and the famous self destructive message. And just about everything else is different.
As the film opens, a group of secret agents are being told by their leader (Jon Voight, playing Peter Graves’ role in the series) that their new assignment is to stop a burglary that’s about to happen in Kiev. Crusie plays Ethan Hunt, a hot shot agent in that elite group. Others include the leader’s wife played by Emmanuelle Bert, and Emilio Estevez in an uncredited role as a computer expert. The mission goes terribly wrong. Everyone except Cruise and Bert survive. This causes the agency to think that he is a double agent. For the rest of the film, Cruise tries to escape from his agency and prove that he is not a mole. To do so, he recruits new partners, played by Ving Rhames (“Pulp Fiction”) and Jean Reno (“The Professional”).
Directed by Brian De Palma (“The Untouchables”) and co-produced by Cruise, “Mission: Impossible” suffers from a recent trend of many Hollywood action films. Since the success of “Speed,” Hollywood seems to abandon the traditional narration. Like “Broken Arrow” or “Twister,” the film begins with the setup, then it just goes straight from there and starts showing off special effects and stunts. “Mission: Impossible” is three major sequences, in between boring talking scenes. And when you get involved with the plot, the plot twists are more confusing than shocking. This comes as a bit of a surprise since the script is written by David Koepp and Robert Towne, whose credits include “Jurassic Park” and “Chinatown.”
Another problem with the film is that it lacks humanity and a sense of humor. Unlike traditional Hollywood action films, there is not an obvious villain (like Dennis Hopper in “Speed”), and there is no love interest either.
With all these flaws, the film manages to bring enough excitement and entertainment from the three main action sequences. They take place in the CIA headquarter, and a London TGV bullet train. De Palma is able to create a tense mood with cinematography and some spectacular special effects. The title sequence is a perfectly updated version of the series.
“Twister” is also a plotless film relying heavily on special effects and action sequences. But what makes it one better is that there aren’t as many movies about tornados as there are movies about secret agents. “Twister” shows us something that we haven’t seen before (come on, flying cows!).
Your mission, readers, should you choose to see this movie, is to lower your expectations and think of it as nothing more than a perfect summer movie — escapism.