MEGA REWATCH: The Mission: Impossible Movies

The latest film in the Mission: Impossible series (Mission Impossible – Fallout) premiered in July, and it got rave reviews from just about everyone. Best film in the franchise, multiple critics agreed.

Mek and I were not quite so enamored.

While discussing exactly why we weren’t enamored and how we’d rank the movies ourselves, an idea occurred: The Great Franchise Re-Watch. I don’t know how quickly we’ll watch each installment–I have my TOS recaps to return to, my ongoing Triple Scoop reviews to do, and, oh yes, my goddamn novel revisions to finish. (Maybe I’ll eventually discuss some actual holiday movies too?) But periodically, we’ll be discussing each of the M:I movies and, ultimately, ranking them from favorite to least.

First up, of course, the movie that began them all – Mission: Impossible.

Year: 1996
Director: Brian de Palma
First Watch or Re-Watch: Re-Watch
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Other: Other: Personal Collection DVD
Spoilers: YES

I probably saw this movie for the first time when I was ten or eleven, and I liked it . . . although I will freely admit that the opening act scared me a little because a) I was weak, b) elevator-related deaths freaked me out, and c) they killed Emilio Estevez, those bastards.

Still, Mission: Impossible was pretty goddamn cool at the time, and for the most part, I think it holds up pretty well. Like, as an adult, I’m pretty sure I would’ve called the whole “Jon Voight is evil” twist, but its predictability actually doesn’t bother me here because I think the Big Reveal scene (where Ethan works out exactly how everyone on his team died) is handled pretty deftly, particularly as it happens so quickly after Voight’s reemergence. (I’ll admit, though, that I might’ve been pissed if I’d been a fan of the original TV series; like, how would I have felt if they’d made, IDK, an X-Files movie for the next generation where Old Mulder was secretly evil? I have to think I’d be irritated . . . though I also have to wonder if such a movie could possibly be any worse than Season 10.)

Anyway. Mission: Impossible is well-plotted and paced. I absolutely love the opening credits. The Langley heist, of course, is iconic AF, and Max (Vanessa Redgrave) remains a goddamn treasure.

A few things that bother me a bit, now that I’m a cranky adult who spends too much time analyzing movies for fun:

A) Some of the absurd low angle and Dutch angle shots are super distracting and just need to go.

B.) Claire (Emmanuelle Béart) is immensely boring, which is disappointing considering she’s the primary female character. She’s basically just there to be breathy and duplicitous.

C) Old People Makeup basically never works, ever, but it’s especially laughable when you set up IMF’s Incredible Mask Disguises by applying terrible makeup/prosthetics to Tom Cruise for the first two jobs, and then have him “wear” his Phelps disguise in the final act, i.e, have Jon Voight just sit there instead. Like, look, I’m all about this particular ridiculous trademark; I’m just saying the makeup portion has to go. (So, thank God, it did.)

The Current Ranking

1. Mission: Impossible

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