Reviewed Apr 28, 2012
A very old movie for the last generation, something that should be kept in the past and dug up once every few years to watch...or is there something more? With what's become of the Mission Impossible franchise, the series is expected to be in the realm of over the top action, but was it always like this? No, Mission Impossible is something else, dare I say, the definition of what it means to be a spy film.
I challenge you to watch this film again, find the vhs tape, or acquire it through more shady methods, but watch it again, and this time think of a few things as you do. Firstly, let's disregard the other three Mission Impossible films for a while and pretend they never existed, and let's go into this movie as if it's stand alone and just came out. What do you have? Well let's see.
You start a crew of CIA agents from a section that does not exist, with the inside joke that they carry out the impossible. Aside from the seasoned leader, the entire crew is fresh young talent, so much so that a figurehead of the group, Ethan Hunt is a cocky young spy just waiting to make his mark, satisfied that they will always be led to success and he can always trust in his organization to provide challengeless work for him. Unfortunately things take a turn for the worst and Hunt winds up on his own and without a leader, without a country and without a thorough understanding of how the spy world works. He now has to mature from the naive agent he started from, unsure of whether his choices are mistakes or the way to go. In essence, he's learning, he has everything to lose, and thing will go bad for him. He is forced into becoming a responsible, master spy (but don't let my corny terms disrupt the more serious tone of the film (and don't let the serious tone of the film distract you from the fun)).
With a few surprises along the way and a game of both espionage and diplomacy that completely dominates the film's action element, I'd have to say, when it boils down to it, this is a thicker spy film than some of those in the James Bond canon, and hell, they even have gadgets here and there.
Of course there are also several other things the movie has going for it, it still does have some fine action scenes, which really, are more on the level of suspense. Hell, most of the third act takes place on a train with mistaken identities and the like, I'd like to assume Hitchcock would approve of this as a distance cousin a few times removed. Also, personally, I think it also relives a lot of nostalgia from the 90s, but that's just me.
Anyway, watch it like this, and I'm sure you'll turn that viewing every five years, into viewing every four years.