Mission: Impossible (1996)
The Metrograph in NYC is showing a Brian De Palma series, showcasing 28 out of his 29 full length films. Brian De Palma is one of my favorite directors, having directed 4 films I would rate a 9 out of 10, which include Carrie, Phantom Of The Paradise, Dressed To Kill and Body Double. He has many other very good films, including Sisters, Scarface and Hi Mom. He also has about 14 movies I have not seen yet, so this is my chance to see as many of them as I can make time for, so expect to see me reviewing all the ones I have missed or skipped due to disinterest. Nothing I like more than rounding out the catalogue of films I have yet to see of a particular director, especially one held in such high esteem.
The first film shown as part of this series is Mission: Impossible, one that I skipped when it came out, due to my general dislike of Tom Cruise. Certain actors just do not do it for me, and when I watch them act, all I can think of is "there is Tom Cruise, acting in another movie". I never think of him as a character, he is always Tom Cruise, which just takes me out of the film or story, unless it is a particularly good story. The only movie I can think of him in that I think is very good is Vanilla Sky, but I haven't seen much of his work, so maybe there is a gem or two in his career.
It has been 20 years since this movie has come out, and boy does it show! The computer sequences really date the film, though I find that sort of amusing, and it doesn't really bother me if the film is good. While you can see some of De Palma's signature style, like when two different shots are in focus, this film lacks the charms of his other works. It does not help that the script is pretty basic and the whole film rides on Tom Cruise.
Mission: Impossible was a TV show that was based on a crew of people doing undercover and espionage work, usually in disguises, and getting in and out of somewhere undetected, or fooling someone to get the information they need. While the movie starts off with this plot, where it goes is somewhere totally different, and not in the general feel of the original show. Now, I can understand updating something, but it is a bit odd that they just turned the movie into a basic Tom Cruise action piece, rather than make it a bit more interesting.
In this version, the team mostly gets killed, and Tom Cruise is suspected of being a mole, and goes on the run to find out who the mole is and to avenge his friend's death. This puts the focus on Cruise for the most part, and he hires a couple new guys to help him out. He also has one of his old team with him as well, someone he seems to have some feelings for.
Although some espionage movies can be a bit too complicated, this one is very basic and won't confuse most people. It moves along relatively quickly, and isn't horrible by any means, it's just....there. The biggest problems I have with it are Tom Cruise, and the action scenes. You see, for 1996, the action scenes are just so so. They are obviously special effects, and not particularly good ones. I had the fortunate, or unfortunate for this movie, chance to see John Woo's Hard Boiled the other night, and that was made a few years before this one, but the action scenes are amazing. Seeing the real stunts people did in that movie versus the green screen stunts Tom Cruise did in this makes this look boring. I also saw The Road Warrior a few weeks back, and same thing, and that movie was done 15 years before this one!
All in all it is an OK movie, nothing to get excited about, nothing I would bother watching a second time. The cast is OK, but no one particularly shines, and Jon Voight was in a much better train movie in the 1980s called Runaway Train, which is also just a better movie than this.
I would give this a passing grade of 7 out of 10, but a very low 7.