Mission: Impossible (1996) starring Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Beart, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave, Emilio Estevez directed by Brian De Palma Movie Review

Mission: Impossible (1996)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible

Hunt Cruises through his Mission

Inspired by the popular TV series "Mission: Impossible" stars Tom Cruise as secret agent Ethan Hunt who having gone to Prague with a team of agents lead by Jim Phelps (Jon Voight - Four Christmases) finds himself the only one left after their mission to intercept a hacker goes disastrously wrong. But Ethan becomes the prime suspect as to why the mission went wrong and has to use some unorthodox methods in order to prove his innocence whilst finding out who was behind the failed mission.

On one hand "Mission: Impossible" is a disappointment it is an unfaithful adaptation of the original TV series to the big screen and as such it goes for big, big names, big action, big scenes all to replace the missing intrigue and tightness of a well worked story. But on the other "Mission: Impossible" is a big blockbuster and as such all the big works taking you on an action packed ride of set pieces delivering the excitement that it sets out to achieve. In many ways it is very comparable to the James Bond movies of the Pierce Brosnan era with its use of gadgets and action except it's not James Bond.

Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell in Mission: Impossible

what is apparent is although the writers have crafted a story of deception and corruption set around the world of the secret agents it is not a tight dramatic, intelligent spy thriller. The story has plot holes bigger than those caused by the various explosions and although by the end of "Mission: Impossible" it makes sense; it is by no means a mentally demanding movie to watch. Even the succession of semi clever twists, and "Mission: Impossible" is a movie which incorporates many along the way, there is little which makes you wonder who is a good guy and who is a bad guy and to be honest it doesn't matter because it doesn't want to be complex it just wants to be entertaining.

As such much of what makes "Mission: Impossible" work is the action side of the movie with some memorable and frankly over the top scenes which deliver the necessary excitement. From the attempt to hack into a secure computer at Langley through to the helicopter chasing a train through a tunnel there are plenty of memorable action moments all of which I have to say are well choreographed often with a slight humorous edge, which sadly doesn't always work because some end up feeling cheesy. But it is not just the big moments which make "Mission: Impossible" work and it is those smaller moments such as when Ethan rips of a latex mask which give it a strange wow factor, despite again being slightly cheesy.

In between the story and the various action set pieces director Brian De Palma manages to work his magic to make even those lulls in the action feel pacey so that it never starts to become boring. There is rarely a scene where something dramatic or should that be action inspired isn't lurking around the corner to spice things up. As such "Mission: Impossible" is a movie which rarely takes its foot of the accelerator from beginning to end.

But what most people think of when you mention "Mission: Impossible" is Tom Cruise as lead agent Ethan Hunt. Now whilst the movie can be compared to a James Bond movie, Cruise's performance and the character of Hunt cannot. Hunt is a more raw character motivated by emotion and Cruise demonstrates this side of him brilliantly, something he achieves in many a movie where the central character has a slight hot headed aspect to them. But Cruise also does well in the action and delivers that memorable hacking scene suspended from the roof perfectly with just enough bulging bicep on show to make him look like an action hero.

Aside from Tom Cruise "Mission: Impossible" does in fact have a whole collection of famous names including Jon Voight as Jim Phelps, Jean Reno as Franz Krieger, Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell and Vanessa Redgrave as Max. And whilst none of them put in a terrible or even inadequate performance they for the most play second fiddle to Tom Cruise.

What this all boils down to is that "Mission: Impossible" is a very entertaining movie if you are looking for a movie which trades on big action and is probably the best of the series so far. With Tom Cruise playing the likable hero and Brian De Palma delivering a pacey mix of story and action it delivers on what it tries to achieve and that is pure action and excitement. But don't expect anything remarkably clever from it, as whilst it has a decent storyline and numerous twists it doesn't take much to understand all the deception.