Mission Impossible

All Mission Impossible had to do was not self-destruct. Mission accomplished. Does it ignite? Not really, but Tom Cruise's first adventure as a producer has just enough hightech firepower, old-fashioned star power and a director who knows how to harness it all.

With:
Tom Cruise Jon Voight Emmanuelle Beart Henry Czerny Jean Reno Ving Rhames

All Mission Impossible had to do was not self-destruct. Mission accomplished. Does it ignite? Not really, but Tom Cruise’s first adventure as a producer has just enough hightech firepower, old-fashioned star power and a director who knows how to harness it all.

The new Mission Impossible latches onto things it should have left to the ’60s: a lack of passion, humor or sense of fun. No James Bond wit here – or Bruce Willis smirk, for that matter. Mission Impossible just might be the most dour sexless piece of escapism in memory.

Cruise stars as Ethan Hunt, a hotshot member of an elite, unnamed US intelligence group. A former Russian spy is planning the theft of a computer disk containing the true identities of the world’s top undercover agents, and the team’s mission, should they choose to accept it, is to interrupt the crime. It all takes place at some black-tie embassy affair in Kiev.

Suffice it to say that everything goes wrong, with only Cruise’s Hunt and Emmanuelle Beart’s Claire surviving. The mission (like the first 15 minutes of the movie) is a setup, and with Hunt alive his own agency decides that he must be a mole. Cruise’s character spends the bulk of the film running from his former cohorts, led by agency boss Kittridge (Henry Czerny). More often than not, the various twists and turns are less ingenious than simply confusing.

That doesn’t matter much, though, when the film’s set pieces kick into gear. Best scene involves a break-in by Hunt and his new gang at the agency’s headquarters. The film’s climax atop the speeding Chunnel train packs an excitement lacking through much of the rest of the film.

Mission Impossible

Production: Paramount. Director Brian De Palma; Producer Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner; Screenplay David Koepp, Robert Towne; Camera Stephen H. Burum; Editor Paul Hirsch; Music Danny Elfman; Art Director Norman Reynolds

Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1996. Running time: 110 MIN.

With: Tom Cruise Jon Voight Emmanuelle Beart Henry Czerny Jean Reno Ving Rhames

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