First Mission Impossible Good Start but not the Best One
Mission Impossible was a 60’s classic spy television show before it became known as movie franchise. It won several Emmys and had well known main cast which included: Steven Hill, Martian Landau, Leonard Nimoy, Sam Elliot, and Peter Graves as Jim Phelps. Paramount decided to make a movie adaption of the popular television show in 1990s. The main cast from the hit TV show were not spring chickens but expressed interest coming back. Paramount executives decided to go into a different direction. They wanted the story to focus a younger agent, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), who has been framed for being a mole. Jim Phelps, the character, would be returning as Hunt’s mentor played by John Voight.
Jim Phelp’s and his team, which includes Ethan Hunt, are sent to Prague to prevent a theft of the IMF’s (Impossible Mission’s Force) Noc-List (List with names of all of the uncovered agents in Europe). Phelps and his team are killed besides Ethan Hunt who calls headquarters asking for extraction. Ethan learns that the operation was a mole hunt while meeting the Head IMF Director, Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny). Ethan survived making him the likely suspect; therefore, has to escape before he was apprehended by IMF and Kittridge. Ethan learns from the meeting with Kittridge that arms dealer named Max brought the Noc-List from a person code named Job off the black market. Phelp’s wife, Claire (Emmanuelle Beart), shows up at the safe house because she wasn’t killed like the other members of the team. Ethan helps Max escape IMF’s hands to gain her trust. Ethan promises Max that he can get the real Noc-list also she will set up a meeting between Job and he. Ethan recruits former IMF agents Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Krieger (Jean Reno). Ethan and his team break into Langley and steal the list. Jim Phelps is alive and places the blame on Kittridge for being the mole. Ethan must be believe his mentor or decide not to take his chances with the exchange between Max and he.
The first Mission Impossible movie is enjoyable. The film is written by David Koepp (Jurassic Park) and Robert Towne (Chinatown). The pre-production of the film was hectic. There were multiple drafts and well known rewrites on the script. There was no shooting script when filming started. The story stayed in place with Towne’s help while Koepp and the director, Brain De Palma, worked on the plot and dialogue. Finally, Tom Cruise wanted a very big action sequence for the summer blockbuster. He came up with the climax battle that involves a moving train. Despite the constant budget debates, the script rewrites, and developing a suspenseful story, the filmmakers were able to pull it off. Mission Impossible is a suspenseful action thriller. The biggest credit is that the film keeps you guessing and entertained for less than two hours. Tom Cruise also deserves credit for portraying Ethan Hunt.
Tom Cruise was already an A-list actor. He was never considered a face of a movie franchise. He starred in Interview with the Vampire as Lestat but the franchise never could take off. Mission Impossible made Tom Cruise into a blockbuster star. He is primary one of the reasons why there are five Mission Impossible films. Ethan Hunt is the protagonists of all the Mission Impossible films. I love Tom Cruise as an actor. He brings it every time that he is onscreen. Cruise brings a sarcastic, daredevil, and serious tone to Ethan Hunt. The actor does all of his own stunts. The scene where he is hanging from a ceiling trying to hack a computer that is Tom Cruise not his stunt double. Tom Cruise is one of reasons why the first Mission Impossible is an successful enjoyable action movie. Ving Rhames also added a lot of humor and quickly became a fan favorite.
Mission Impossible does have several negatives. The dialogue is not tension or suspenseful. The story does have glaring holes. What made the ironic character, Jim Phelps, turn bad. Jim Phelps was the face of the Mission Impossible TV show. The character does a complete 180 from turning good to bad. Jon Voight wasn’t on screen enough to provide the mentor-mentee relationship with Ethan Hunt. The writers, executive producers, and director should be faulted for this. However once that I finished Mission Impossible, the treatment of the Phelp’s character didn’t brother me. I became a fan of the main character and the franchise.
Mission Impossible is a good first film in a movie franchise and it gets a 3 out of 5 from me. Tom Cruise is a great actor; whether you believe him to be crazy or not. Mission Impossible is on Netflix.