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Secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is suspected of being disloyal to his agency, he must find out who the real mole is in order to clear his name.
Directed by Brian De Palma (Scarface), written by David Koepp (Spider-Man), Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List) and Robert Towne (The Firm).
With Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol being released late last year I decided it was probably time I caught up with the MI franchise. I had high hopes for the film as it is regarded by many as a must see, sadly I was left a little underwhelmed.
I found it hard to follow exactly what was going on in the beginning; I don't think the mission that the IMF (Impossible Missions Force not the International Monetary Fund) team were on at the start of the movie was that well explained. Although that initial mission isn't really core to the plot, it would be nice to understand what the whole point in the mission was and not feel lost straight out of the gate.
The action scenes are strong with plenty of explosions and intrigue. The most famous scene from MI is no doubt when Hunt is lowered down on a wire into CIA HQ; the suspense is built beautifully in this particular scene. MI is also well known for its use of masks, which definitely makes you second guess who is who all the time as a viewer.
Tom Cruise (Top Gun) leads the franchise as agent Ethan Hunt. Cruise puts in his usual action man performance; I'm not that big a fan of Tom Cruise but he is pretty good in this MI. The fact that he can't trust his own team or the agency puts an emotional element into the movie that gives Cruise something extra to do.
Cruise is the only character that is really given a whole lot to do, other cast members offer apt support with what they are given but it would have been nice to have more developed supporting characters. It's a shame given that there are some great actors in Mission Impossible: Jon Voight (Deliverance), Jean Reno (Leon), Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction) and Vanessa Redgrave (Howards End).
The movie relies on the who-is-the-mole mystery, the problem with that is if you work it straight away then all tension is lost. I am pretty dreadful at seeing twists in movies so when I work it out easily I know it's fairly transparent. Waiting for Tom Cruise to work it out isn't that fun when you know what's coming.
The action scenes are nice but I doubt I will watch this film again. It was obvious what was going to happen from the start which took away from my enjoyment of the movie. I will stick with the franchise but I'm not totally convinced from this initial offering.
*No DVD Extras*
Tom Cruise - Ethan Hunt
Jon Voight - Jim Phelps
Emmanuelle Béart - Claire Phelps
Henry Czerny - Eugene Kittridge
Jean Reno - Franz Krieger
Ving Rhames - Luther Stickell
Kristin Scott Thomas - Sarah Davies
Vanessa Redgrave - Max
Emilio Estevez - Jack Harmon
Runtime: 110 mins
Also posted on ciao under the username shabbating.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Although the Mission Impossible series has now spawned two sequels, and is itself a remake of the popular TV series of the same name, I still maintain that this is the best of the bunch. It works as a disposable bit of fluffy entertainment that isn't as silly or overblown as the sequels, and well performed by its cast, with some iconic scenes.
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) works for an unrecognised branch of the CIA called the Impossible Missions Force, led by Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). They begin an operation to recover a list that contains the real identities of all the spies in America. However, when most of his team wind up dead, suspicion falls on Hunt, as the operation was actually intended to smoke out the mole, who would presumably be the last man standing. As a result, Ethan goes into hiding, and hires Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and pilot Franz Krieger (Jean Reno), two blacklisted former colleagues, to help him protest his innocence and also to smoke out the mole, who may be closer than he thinks.
This is a fun spy film that's a bit of an antidote to the James Bond films which, at the time, were getting more and more overblown with each installment. This isn't exactly realistic, but it never gets outlandish enough that it's distancing to the viewer. It's also got a likeable lead, and some highly memorable action scenes, such as when Hunt must descend through a laser door, which will trap him inside if he passes through one of the beams. Ving Rhames in particular is also great as a brutish member of his team.
This is the series high - a great spy flick with some iconic imagery (namely the whole laser room scene). Not groundbreaking but damn entertaining.
***Mission Impossible (1996)***
We just felt in the mood for an older movie, but an excellent film all the same to watch as a family, as pickings are a bit slim at the moment. My children picked it for us to watch as a family.
***What's it all about?***
Of course the film is based upon the same set up used in the television series of the same name. Having said this, I have not watched any of the original series as this was before my time.
The film is a secret agent movie, with a group of agents given the task of going to Prague to stop a top secret list of agents, passing into the hands of traitors. The group are told to walk away if the mission fails and that their bosses will not admit to knowing them if they are captured.
The mission does go awry and it seems that all of the agents are killed, all except for Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise). Ethan makes arrangements to meet his superiors in a restaurant and it is here that Ethan realises that he is a main suspect being the last man standing.
He discovers that the mission was really not what it seems and sets out to prove his innocence...
You either love Tom Cruise or hate him, but this film was just meant for him. I thoroughly enjoy it every time I watch it (which has been more than once) for many different reasons. I enjoyed watching Tom Cruise in this type of film more than ever; this I feel is where he is at his best, rather than his more serious roles. His performance when he is distressed to find out he is the only member of the team who survived is especially good.
The first reason is the sound track; most people will have heard the catchy tune and blasting out at high volume it is great. As well as the main tune, the ongoing soundtrack is good at adding suspense at the right moments. I was going to give it four out of five stars, but gave it five in the end, because the music is such a massive part of the film.
I also like the lack of sound in key moments; there is silence as Ethan descends into a vault that adds to the tension and you are willing him to be successul.
The film has a star studded task, with Kirsten Scott Thomas, Jon Voight and Vanessa Redgrave to name a few. All give good performances and the direction of Brian de Palma is edgy and I particularly enjoyed the scene where Ethans discovers he is the main suspect and engages with a tit for tat with his boss Kittridge.
The stunts are particularly well executed and have been emulated many times, (especially in MI2 and MI3) Ethan has to enter a government CIA building and avoid laser beams etc (the scene already mentioned) and this has you watching holding your breath.
Ethan is also a master of disguise and perhaps this is the hardest part to find believable - but this is an escapist film in the first place. This is not a serious movie in the same way that the Bourne Identity is; it is make believe and as long as you play along, it is very enjoyable, with a few good one liners and funny scenes along the way.
A bit of trivia I found out was that Ethan (Tom Cruise) never actually fires a gun!
Now I want to watch Mission Impossible 2 tomorrow!
It is available from Amazon for only £3.78, which is a fantastic price.
It is rated PG and last for 106 minutes,
Mission: Impossible is a modern re-working of the classic television seris made in 1996. It stars Tom Cruise as agent Ethan Hunt of the Impossible Missions Force.
Agent Hunt & the rest of his team are sent on a mission to recover one half of the NOC list. A list which has all the genuine identities & alias's of all America's secret agents. Whislt on the mission, all agents with the exception of hunt are killed. Hunt contacts the IMF for aid in escaping & is met by another agent who reveals that the mission was fake & essentially a search for a mole. As agent Hunt is the only survivor they presume him to be the mole & try to arrest him. The film follows the action as he tries to prove his innocence & reveal the identity of the real mole.
On my copy there are no special features, which is very poor indeed but the picture & sound quality is very good.
I really enjoyed this film at the time of it's release & think that it is just as enterytaining to this day. It has lots of action. A good plot with a nice twist & is well acted. I would recommend it for women too but I think that men will love it.
Mission: Impossible was an extremely popular TV series that featured a select team of top agents who were given missions to perform that were seemingly impossible. It involved gadgets, daredevil stunts and some charismatic and impressive characters. Much of it drew its potential from the Cold War in determining its plots, and the feature film that was released in 1996 was long awaited and a much lauded affair.
The film features a group of agents as they are given their mission. Headed by Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) the team quickly find corruption at the beginning of the film as they are double-crossed and casualties start falling. The paranoia stakes rise as the team, and Ethan in particular, realise that no one is to completely trusted. As other missions crop up and the tension mounts, Ethan must play a careful game of cat and mouse, always on his guard, and he must expose the rat: a seemingly impossible mission in itself.
The acting is very good in this film. The mid-1990s gave us a string of action films where the acting didn't need to be particularly good, as the film was entertaining in itself, just throw a couple of famous names at a film and it seemed to work. Mission: Impossible had the famous names, but they also gave good performances. Cruise is excellent as the hyperactive and intense Ethan, and solid backing up from John Voight, Ving Rhames, Jean Reno, Kristin Scott Thomas and others is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat for the duration.
The special effects of the film were very impressive indeed. There are a couple of identity changes and some high explosives, as well as a lot of work with wires that had to become invisible for the film. In a lot of films involving wires, mainly martial arts films and those such as MI where characters need to 'fly' through the air, it is obvious that their trajectory is fabricated. MI manages to do this without giving the fabricated look to it.
Overall, the film is very impressive indeed. The plot is quite easy to see through, but well executed, with the mole being exposed set as the main plot, all else falling into line behind it. There really are only a couple of choices for the mole, and it is telegraphed to a certain extent from quite early on. However, if you don't analyse it very much, then you may be quite surprised at the outcome.
The DVD copy I have doesn't have any extras on it. It is currently available from around the £3 mark from amazon.co.uk and is well worth the cost. Recommended!
First of all I would like to tell you, that I'm a fan of the original Mission: Impossible series. A real fan. And what they did to the character of Jim Phelps is a disgrace. There was almost painfully to watch what have done to the legacy of the series. There is almost none logic in the movie, if you have watch the series. Jim Phelps as we know it, would never done things like that.
Now the story of the movie is that Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is an agent of Impossible Mission Force. With his team, gathered by Jim Phelps (played by Jon Voight) does things that other agencies can't. But, on one mission the things get wrong. Suddenly he finds him self in rollercoaster of twist and mysteries. Relying on his spy skills he is trying to untangle the web of mysteries. This is all I can say without spooling the story.
As for actors. Tom is great in his role of an agent who is almost on edge. A little adrenaline addict of the character is excellent portrayed. The addiction that develops further in MI2 and MI3. Tom is also great as leader of the group. Emmanuelle Béart as Claire Phelps looks cute but lost. Henry Czerny as Eugene Kittridge is unknown and this role will not help with that. Jean Reno Franz Krieger as sort of mercenary that you don't know if you should trust him is also great. But why a man with French accent, plays a man with a German name is beyond me. And Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell - he does a good job. But played by Jon Voight as Jim Phelps is terrible. Not only that he can't portray legendary Jim not even a little. His pretending that he doesn't know anything is so fake, that anyone can see that he is lying. Sort of ruining some of the twist.
Now action sequences are the things, that made movie watch able. Story with all her twist was to tangled and not convincing. So the action that was good - that I will say is the main motor for me.
I have nothing to say towards the director, he did a good job. I do not hate the movie, just because of the action, that was good. And Brain makes a good action movies.
And the soundtrack - well it's legendary.
It seems from everyone who says a negative comment about this film it is that the plot is overcomplex and impossible to understand. However this is the exact reason I love this film. Everytime I watch it, I discover sometimes new and have seen it three times over the last ten years. Each time its been as great as before.
This is a thrilling film that takes the viewer on a ride from the work go and doesn't let go till the final sequence. I am not the biggest fan of the sequels but this film was perfect. Perfect cast, action and plot. The vault scene is awesome and even now it is being copied with Prison Break making an attempt to do a very very similar style break in.
Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, a good guy on the run, which sounds similar to his role in Minority Report, but trust me they are far from similar. The directing is superb with a vast amount of impossible action scenes, which is what Mission Impossible is all about. Sit back and enjoy this film cause when everything look possible the mission just get a little bit more impossible.
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jean Reno, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Beart
Director: Brian De Palma
Length: 110 min
Release Date: 05 July 1996
Your mission if you choose to accept it ......
Mission Impossible is Tom Cruise at his very best; sexy, funny and strutting his stuff in a high octave action adventure that introduces us to Ethan Hunt the agent we can't forget in a film, whose theme tune we can't stop humming.
Jim is the leader of a highly trained group of espionage assassins working for the government and Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is his point man. Their job is simply to track the man/men that steal the NOC list and deliver them to the powers that be. Simple for such a crack-team or so you'd think. But as you can guess things don't exactly go to plan.
All of the team minus Ethan are killed, or so we believe, in an operation that turns out to be an internal mole hunt to find the insider corrupted by a Czech Arms Dealer known only as Max. Worse still he's framed for their deaths and must now race like a burning fuse in order to flee the government assassins and stay one step ahead of the game. In doing so however he's drawing himself close and closer to the discovery of the shocking truth.
Mission Impossible is a thrill ride that refuses to quit from start to finish. It is packed with fantastic stunts and bursting at the seams with action and adventure. The camera work itself is brilliant as is the use of light and dark in many of the filming sequences. More important however is the music, which is integral to the intense drama on screen. The music ranges from the signature tune I'm sure everyone knows to punchy numbers and subtle yet tense piano tinkles.
The characters within the film are also extremely well played. From their initial introductions to their final moments on screen we are kept in the dark about who they really are and in this way the unfolding drama has maximum effect. Cruise, as Hunt, puts in a sterling performance doing many of his own stunts and managing to place some light-hearted comedy moments within a high tensile drama.
The best thing however about Hunt as a character is that he is not only good in a fire fight but also has the brains to work things out without needing to barge in all guns-a-blazing. In this respect therefore the film is a game of two halves, one showing the action packed 'glamorous' lifestyle of the assassin the other the brain taxing yet often painstakingly boring work that goes in to producing the intended outcome.
I can't say I have found anything I particularly disliked about this film, as to me everything was very well placed and the script and acting strong. Therefore I would highly recommend this film to anyone that enjoys a good action film that also has a plot that can hold its own.
This will self destruct in five seconds......
Mission Impossible was the first of the MI films and it was a very successful film that I really enjoyed.
Tom Cruise stars as Ethan Hawke, he leads a team of undercover operatives who specialise in espionage missions using high tech devices and disguises. When a mission behind the iron curtain goes horribly wrong resulting in the deaths of his team as well as his immediate boss Cruise comes under suspiscion as the whole operation was partly an attempt to flush out a mole in the organisation. Cruise is forced to go on the run and form his own team of operatives from those who have worked in the department but are not actually active for a variety of reasons in order to try and clear his name.
One way to describe this movie is that it is very cool. There is a sense of style about the film, in fact the follow up probably took this a stage further in my opinion, but this film is all about big stunts and neat gadgets with a thumping sound track to support it.
Cruise is pretty good as the determined Hawke however bacause of those nice, boy next door looks I sometimes find it hard to be convinced when he tries to play an action hero. Emmanual Beart was also not very convincing as the love interest in the film.
This is a fast paced movie that was a very enjoyable romp and well worth seeing.
This was the Sunday afternoon movie on ITV today and I bet I was not the only person vegging out in front of the TV watching it for probably the fifth or sixth time. It is no that it is a great movie but having the eye candy of Mr Cruise at his twinkle eye best does help a bit, it also stars John Voight and Emmanual Beart so my boyfriend was quite happy with the latters inclusion.
In the film Cruise taes on the role of Ethan Hawke who heads a team who carry out counter espionage missions for a governemnt agency, if anything goes wrong on the mission then they all understand that they are on their own and the government will deny their existence. When a mission does go horribly wrong all of Hawke team are killed and he falls under suspicion of being a double agent.
He then sets out to catch the real mole and kick some bag guy butts at the same time. This is one of those action films that goes for cool moves and stylised action sequences rather than brutal violence, hence it can be shown on a Sunday afternoon.
I must say I do enjoy it although to be honest I preferred the second MI film however I'm yet to see the third one which is meant to be good. The only real issue I have with this film is that there are a couple of weak parts to the plot which are a bit sloppy, other than that it is an intense action thriller with some nice stunts and plenty of visual stimuli.
Hollywood has tried unsuccessfully to make numerous James Bond style movies and failed. Failed because Bond movies are essentially crap(don't argue, you know it's true) as well but they work because the debonair Englishman has been taken to so many people's hearts and we're all able to forgive them as being Bond movies and therefore above the usual criticism. "xXx" is the most recent attempt to give the US an American James Bond in the form of extreme sports thrill-seeker Xander Cage(played by Vin Diesel) but before then came Mission Impossible, a blockbuster adaptation of the rather more entertaining 60s TV show of the same name, which gave us Tom Cruise in the Bond styled role. Yes Tom Cruise. Sigh. Anything with the ridiculously self-obsessed Mr. Cruise in it immediately goes down a star rating for me and is guaranteed to have me avoiding it until it hits the video shelves or TV screen, sorry, I think he's an egotistical wanker and I find his 'acting' leaves something to be desired. Must do, as all I see in each of his movies is an egotistical wanker with a different name and a different story. This time, it goes by the name of Ethan Hunt, a member of the IMF(Impossible Mission Force), a team which carries out, umm, impossible missions I suppose. This time, the IMF has been told to intercept a disk which contains a list of names which could expose all the US's undercover agents, but the job goes bad and all of the team except Hunt, Jim Phelps(Jon Voight, head of the IMF) and his wife Claire Phelps(Emmanuelle Beart...a French actress who looked like she had a promising future until Hollywood got hold of her) end up dead leading those in control thinking Hunt is the rat in the chicken coop and wanting him brought to justice. Of course he isn't so he has to clear his name by exposing the real rat... ...the real rat being blatantly obvious to anyone with a single ounce of intelligence from very early on
indeed. The problem with Mission Impossible is that not only is it a crap movie (and it is by the way) it also has absolutely bugger all aside from the name and a few slight asides, to the original source material(or at least, not as I remember it!) so there is nothing for fans of the series to sink their teeth into either. This isn't always a bad thing, as director Brian de Palma proved with his last TV to movie adaptation The Untouchables but smacks a little of cashing in on a built in audience in some respects and opens up an already poor movie for further criticism in others. Mission Impossible would have functioned just as well under an entirely different title and no one would have compared it to the original show...it's jumping on a bandwagon at it's worst. That's the least of its, and your worries of course. The characterisation here is appauling. You're thrown straight in to the action, learn nothing about the various characters aside from good guy/bad guy roles and that's your lot. Faceless, suited non-entities abound as Tom Cruise, as the lead character, struts, smirks and preens his tailfeathers like the pompous ass he is making him even easier to dislike in case you needed any other reason to do so, whilst the rest are lame stereotypes or simply faceless men and women in suits and you'll care nothing for them. Aside from Cruise, who you're meant to sympathise with but the arrogant attitude makes you despise, I can't remember a single thing about the other characters. I know they were there, but that's about it. I know Cruise was there too and I knew I'd be disappointed because he'd inevitably not get the bullet in the head smug, hateful characters are meant to get in this kind of thing to leave an audience on dubiously induced a high. The script is inevitably appauling and the plot served up by the inept screenwriters is more 'holy' than the pope's oldest pair of Y-f
ronts. Perhaps watched deaf and lobotomised you might get something from the eye candy action sequences which come all too infrequently to break up the otherwise incredibly dull storyline but otherwise you've got to put up with a story which increasingly makes less and less actual sense(it's not complex of clever by the way, it just loses itself) and has less and less point as it progresses. Mission Impossible in a nutshell is this: a big budget blockbuster which sold itself on a few computer enhanced stunts, a respectable cast(despite the faceless performances it does boast the likes of Vanessa Redgrave, Jean Reno and Jon Voight amongst others) and a false promise of an entertaining nostalgia trip. Ultimately it looks as though I'm in the minority for hating this because everyone else seems to have been sold on the ocassional big stunt but frankly, it bored my arse off and I couldn't possibly recommend it.
Now the thing with Mission Impossible which I don't understand was that not many people actually enjoyed it. The film follows the story of a top secret team inside a top secret company, the CIA. Now this film has more twist than a pot noodle. It's story line and action had not been seen before and it was breathtaking. Tom Cruise shows us why he is worth $243 million with superb acting and Jon Voight played his role to the bone as well and incase you haven't seen it I won't give it away but let's just say he plays his normal role of a villian. The second one was ruined by the fact that it was action action and action while this one kept to the brilliant storyline and the great action scenes. Some might find it confusing and might loose the plot so that is why you buy it now from special reserve.co.uk. The pace never slows down. Aiming to be a much more intelligent spy caper than the average Bond, the amount of concentration required to keep the audience in the plot loop can be exhausting, and if your mind drifts away for one moment then you?ll struggle to claw your way back. But don?t let this put you off. M:I is one of those rare films which gets better with each viewing. In other words, it?s perfect for the DVD format. so you can watch it over and over again. Using the original television concept as a base for its source, M:I is an action-packed blockbuster which not only manages to find its own feet, but then uses them to go about giving the competition a firm kick up the backside.don't be. There's a minimum comparison. Ok now let me explain what the whole thing is about. All of this can be described in one word. Spies. All of it is very confusing but basically Cruise and his team are out to do a all too simple mission, sounds too simple? Well it is within 10 minutes his whole crew are dead and Cruise is framed for there deaths. The film althoughter made a massive $241 million at th
e cinema alone but what it does lack was the extra's, all you get is the original theatrical trailer, which is best to avoid before watching the film for the first time as it manages to show most of the climactic scene! Not all is lost as the 5.1 sound will really give your sound system something to chew on, and the combination of some ear-shattering explosions, the coolest theme tune known to man, and a highly riveting movie makes this a DVD not to be passed by.
Not growing up at the times of the original classic series of Mission:Impossible, the film was a totally new experience for me… Obviously the attraction of Tom Cruise in the leading role, was an influencing factor to watching it, but also the great reviews that was reviewed. I reason I enjoyed this film was, quite simply the sophistication and class it had brought. The plot was clever and unpredictable, with no stereotypes. The characters were individual and played very well within the scene. I particularly enjoyed how the director showed images of what Tom Cruise’s character was thinking, so the audience always had an idea of what was happening in a logical manner. Tom Cruise played outstandingly, with the character of Jon Voight playing the split personality character with equal talent. The internal sub plots and use of technology such as the exploding chewing gum were ingenious and excellent to see in action. My favourite scene, was when Cruise and partners broke into the heavily guarded CIA headquarters in Langley. A Very tense scene, where I was gripped with intrigue and amazement. Having the film on video, is great as watching over and over again, is never boring, and I find myself seeing the quite obvious clues staring me in the face. A great film for all the family, and enjoyable to see many times.
Well I'll start by reviewing the film. Storyline --------- Good, but not very original. An ex-intelligence agent goes a-wall, steals the vaccine to a deadly virus. He races to get the virus so he can sell the antidote. Meanwhile Cruise (agent hunt) finds the blokes ex-girlfriend and has to get info on him through her etc. You get the idea Action Sequences ---------------- Fight scenes are very Matrix-esque, some good some bad. There is a good car chase involving cruise on a motorbike - pretty good stunts. Gun fights, nothing special. Escapes - jumping from high buildings etc Soundtrack ---------- Guitar riffs from limp bizkit's "take a look around" and metallica's "I dissapear" fairly good, captures some of the atmosphere in the film. Conclusion ---------- All in all nothing bad, in fact it is, in all accounts a good film. It's just that it's nothing new and it's fairly predictable. DVD Extras ---------- There are interviews galore as well as stunt break-downs and cataloging. They are thorough and informative. There is even the Metallica music video for "I Dissappear", which in my opinion isn't very good anyway, but never the less it is an extra. So a decent film all in all and in a good package. If you are looking for a nice familiar breed of action film to just sit and watching as light entertainment this is a good choice. If, however, you are after a genre shattering masterpiece, you should look elsewhere.
It was after watching Mission Impossible II on DVD that I decided to go back and buy the first one. In the cinema I had found both films a little hard to follow and as a result didn't enjoy them as much as I could have done. After watching the sequel a few times I thought it was time to try the same with the first one. As with most early DVD's the extra features are extremely limited. There is only the Theatrical Trailer, a subtitles option and scene selection. Although this is disappointing it is expected and is clearly marked on the back of the DVD. I must admit that I prefer the story in this film to the second one. It is a classic spy story, perhaps overly complicated for one viewing but when you have the DVD there is nothing to stop you watching it again. The team's mission is to shadow a traitorous Russian at an embassy party and photograph him as he downloads a “NOC” list of secret agents and their code names. The group then have to follow him to meet the buyer and apprehend them both. The mission is a disaster and Ethan discovers it was a set up as part of an internal mole hunt. As it appears that he is the only survivor IMF chief Kitteridge (Henry Czerny) assumes that he is the mole. Ethan is now a wanted man and he has to run from the IMF while trying to find the real mole to prove his innocence. Tom Cruise is the perfect actor to play Ethan Hunt. I am not a great fan of Cruise but he plays this part brilliantly. The supporting cast also give fine performances. The only character which is carried over from the television show is Hunt’s mission leader, Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). There is a star studded supporting cast including Kristin Scott-Thomas, Emilio Estevez, Ving Rhames, Jean Reno and Emmanuelle Beart. There will always be the comparison with the James Bond movies and I think this film can comfortably stand beside them. Go buy it.
Mission: Impossible was one of the best action blockbusters of the 1990s, deriving a quality unique amongst its peers from the tension between Brian De Palma's directorial stylisation and the overriding presence of its star and producer, Tom Cruise. Cruise plays Special Forces agent Ethan Hunt, disavowed as a traitor by his own superiors and forced to uncover the true mole to prove his innocence. The original 1960s television series provides not only the wonderful musical motif, but also the layered complexity of false realities and masked identities, which are revealed with the playful conjuring of a Russian doll. This was Cruise's last movie as an angst-ridden youth (next stop was Jerry Maguire and the trials of family life) and he presents Ethan Hunt as caught between his heroic physical prowess and a trusting emotional naïvety that is painfully punctured by the treachery of those around him. Hollywood heavyweights Jon Voight (Heat) and Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction) are both excellent in support, while the remaining cast reads like an identikit of European cinema, including Emanuelle Beart, Kristin Scott Thomas and Jean Reno (Leon). De Palma's trademark set-pieces include a giant exploding fishtank in Prague, a helicopter chase through the Channel Tunnel, and, most notably, a break-in to steal a vital disc from CIA headquarters in Langley. The moment in the latter when, in almost complete silence, Cruise dangles precariously from a cable and just catches a bead of sweat before it triggers the floor alarm is as sublimely exhilarating as any in American movies of the last 10 years. On the DVD: Aside from basic language and chapter selection the disc is devoid of any extras, leaving us to wait for the behind-the-scenes story of the numerous rewrites and wrangling that reportedly beset production. On a more positive note, the picture and sound quality fully realise the film's highly stylised surface beauty and effects-laden kinetic energy. --Steve Napleton