Movie Review: Mission Impossible (1996)

With the upcoming release of “Mission Impossible: Fallout”, I decided that I should go back and review the previous movies in the series… except for “Ghost Protocol”, since I already reviewed that way back when my blog was total shit (now it’s only partial shit). So without further ado, let’s jump into the first installment of this franchise.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mission Impossible”.

When he’s framed for the deaths of his teammates, IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has to go rogue to find out who truly is behind this entire situation. So now we have spy thriller. And I do think this plot is quite good. What I like most is that it focuses more on building a suspenseful and somewhat unpredictable spy narrative rather than being a typical shooty-bang-bang summer action movie. It went for a somewhat different approach to its storytelling than its contemporaries. The slowly building sense of dread and paranoia is what makes it stand out. That said, the plot isn’t flawless. While enjoyable and well told, it can at times feel a little bit convoluted. It’s not as insane in that regard as some other movies, but it’s still worth pointing out. So overall this plot is good.

The characters in this are all layered, likable, and interesting. Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, a young and slightly cocky agent who gets put to the ultimate test when he gets blamed for his team’s demise. What I like about him here is that he’s a very vulnerable hero whose mind slowly kinda snaps after the shit that happens to him, and it’s interesting to see him get developed throughout the movie. And Tom Cruise is damn good in the role. Next I wanna mention Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell. A generally tough guy playing the tech dude… that’s just amazing. And Rhames is so much fun in the role. Then we get performances from people like Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave, Jean Reno, Henry Czerny, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Béart, Emilio Estevez, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles. The reason why I’m keeping it vague is because their characters/arcs are best left experienced rather than explained.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, and it is pretty fantastic. His score jumps between bombastic, droning, emotional, and fun, and it just elevates the movie quite a bit, adding so much to the scenes where it can be heard. And can we just take a second to talk about that classic theme? It’s just so fucking good and is just the epitome of awesome spy/action stuff.

Based on a 1960s tv show, this movie was directed by Brian De Palma and I think he did a great job with it. His direction here is incredibly tight and manages to build some absolutely nailbiting suspense at times. Just take the famous vault sequence for instance, one of the most suspenseful scenes I’ve ever watched, and that thanks to De Palma’s relatively minimalist direction. And the action scenes in this are in general very well choreographed and shot. This movie also has some of the best uses of the dutch tilt that I’ve seen. Though that could also be because I’ve seen a whole bunch of films use it as a crutch rather than a tool. Again, De Palma and crew did a great job.

This movie has gotten somewhat mixed reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 62% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“Mission Impossible” is a suspenseful and highly entertaining spy thriller. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. As previously mentioned, the plot can be a little bit convoluted at times, but it doesn’t ruin it too much for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible” is an 8,87/10. So while flawed, it’s definitely still worth buying.

My review of “Mission Impossible” is now completed.

One down, three to go.

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6 thoughts on “Movie Review: Mission Impossible (1996)

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