Plot: After a routine operation goes south and nearly his entire squad is wiped out, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is scrambling to find answers, as well as just survive the botched mission. As it turns out, the op was a false front and engineered to hunt an internal mole. As Hunt is alive, he is the prime suspect and that means he is now a wanted man, but he plans to use his elite level skills to clear his name and take the taget off his back. To do this, he must place immense in trust the other survivor from the mission and assemble a new crew, one with god tier abilities and no aversion to high risk work. In order to just have a chance to make this work, Hunt must pull off a mission with almost no chance for success, then double cross a series of dangerous people and even then, odds are he won’t get what he needs. Can Hunt manage to do the impossible one more time, with his own life on the life?
Entertainment Value: This first installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise puts out all the espionage, double crosses, gadgets, and overly complex narrative turns you’d expect and then some. The later films would shift the series into an action movie line, but Brian De Palma’s Mission: Impossible is all about the secret agent game and while dialed up, it still evokes more a spy movie feel than pure action flick. I know some think it has too many twists or double crosses, but I love the constant shakeups and fake outs, as it adds tension and makes it feel like a ramped up version of the old school spy moves, which I have a soft spot for. So while some were burned out by the twists, I thought it was a fun approach and at a certain point, almost turns comedic, as paranoia begins to set in. Tom Cruise is fine in the lead, he has the charm the role needs and he is more than capable in the action driven scenes, while a stacked supporting cast backs him up, with such talent as Jon Voight, Jean Reno, Emmanuelle Beart, Kristen Scott Thomas, Ving Rhames, Vanessa Redgrave, and others. The colorful, deep cast ensures that even smaller roles feel special and that really helps the “hand picked squad” dynamic, as everyone feels like a specialist here. Mission: Impossible is perhaps overly complicated, but it is an effective and fun spy movie with some liberal doses of action, not to mention a couple of iconic sequences. For fans of action movies, spy movies, or Tom Cruise wearing terrible masks, this one is worth a look.
No nakedness. Ethan is too worried about survival to get much practice with his skills of seduction, at least in this installment. A minor amount of blood is seen in this one, but the elevator sequence is awesome. The camera cuts just before the good part, but it is still an effective sequence, I think. There’s also some mild violence that involves knives, guns, and explosive chewing gum, but the bloodshed is minimal. As for action, the movie has some great set pieces and of course, the famous control room infiltration is a highlight and remains an impressive, if illogical sequence. I also think the tunnel scene at the finale is a lot of fun, so between those segments, some chases, and more up close and personal action, some nice action work here. A lot of secret agent talk and covert lingo, which is fun, but the serious tone also eases at times and gives us some moments of comic relief. So while it isn’t one liner after one liner, there are some humorous lines in the mix as well. As for craziness, the barrage of twists and fake outs combine with the gaps in logic to give us a point, but otherwise the serious tone keeps things from going off the deep end.
Overall Insanity: 1/10