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The First Mission with Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Your mission should you choose to accept it!
The ‘Mission: Impossible’ movies are fascinating bunch of movies to sit through. Not because they’re based on a popular 1960s TV show under the same name. But because they vary in terms of quality, depending on who’s writing them and who’s directing them. I find the latest ‘M:I’ movies are better.
Despite the variance in quality, I’ve found enjoyment in every ‘M:I’ movie I’ve seen. Thus why I feel it’s best to share what I find good in a certain ‘M:I’ film as well as bad. And I’m not judging these films in whether they are faithful adaptations of the original TV show since…well; I’ve not seen it yet.
I’m judging each of these films in terms of how they stand up on their own. Every movie has a positive and negative to them, whether they’re original works of art or not. And the ‘M:I’ films should be judged accordingly. So, without further or do, let us check out the very first ‘M:I’ movie! 🙂
The ‘M:I’ movies of course star Tom Cruise as the main lead, Ethan Hunt. Tom Cruise also co-produced the ‘M:I’ movies he did so far. It is amazing Tom Cruise was the ringleader producing these films as well as starring in them and doing his own stunt-work from watching the original TV show. 🙂
The first film, released at cinemas in 1996, was directed by Brian De Palma, with a screenplay by David Koepp (who went on to work on the first ‘Spider-Man’ movie as well as 2005’s ‘War of the Worlds’ with Tom Cruise) and Robert Towne, based on a story by David Koepp and Steven Zallian. 😀
I saw this movie on its original DVD release sometime in the late 2000s/early 2010s, but later saw the movie on Blu-ray on the 5th of March 2018 for my Mum’s birthday along with ‘Mission: Impossible III’. We enjoyed a meal to celebrate Mum’s birthday before we watched the ‘M:I’ movies.
At the time, we were getting into the ‘M:I’ movies after seeing ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ on Blu-ray for Christmas 2017 and were catching up with them before seeing ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ at cinemas in July 2018. I am happy to be revisiting these films in proper chronological order.
To answer your question, I don’t know why we missed ‘Mission: Impossible 2’ whilst watching the first and third ‘M:I’ films for my Mum’s birthday in March 2018. My Dad didn’t purchase it on Blu-ray at the time he shopped the films. Typical Dad! 😀 Don’t worry. I got ‘M:I-2’ for my Mum later in March!
To be honest with you, I don’t believe you need to see all the ‘M:I’ movies in chronological order. They’re pretty much standalone films and they can be easily enjoyed without any worry for continuity. ‘Rogue Nation’ was easy to get into as a film, thus this must apply for other ‘M:I’ movies.
In the first ‘M:I’ film, the plot follows Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, an Impossible Missions Force (IMF) agent, on a mission to uncover the mole who framed him for the murder of his fellow agents during a mission at a Prague Embassy and for selling government secrets. Will Ethan get to clear his name?!
I must admit, I found this film complex to follow in terms of its plot with Ethan uncovering who set him up during the mission he and his agents were on. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not a fan of the original TV show and you’d need to know a lot of what happened in the show before seeing the film.
But I think this is a ‘M:I’ movie that you’d need to watch again and again in order to catch on to the many plot points that are going on and understand every detail by a painstaking second. Thus why I find the first ‘M:I’ film rather underwhelming compared to what I would see in the later instalments.
Don’t get me wrong. That’s not to say the first ‘M:I’ film is unimpressive. Not at all! There are some amazing, suspenseful and tense action sequences that are highlights in the film. This includes Ethan’s infiltration of the CIA headquarters via wirework and the amazing climatic train chase in the picture.
But that seems to be what the first ‘M:I’ film is focusing on. Action! There’s not enough story and character development to be invested in. That’s not to say Ethan’s character is uninteresting and difficult to be invested in. But as an introduction to the ‘M:I’ film series, I don’t find it a superb one.
Ethan’s already part of an IMF team when we barely know who he is and where he comes from. His team-mates get killed off in the film’s first act when we barely get to know. And Ethan’s supposed to have a relationship with his team leaders; even we don’t know much about them as characters here.
And yes, I appreciate the film is meant to rely upon twists and turns as that was a common thing in the TV show with people wearing certain disguises like Tom Cruise’s character would. But it’s no good being surprised by the twists and turn when less time is spent on getting to know characters. 😦
Despite the issues I have, I enjoyed Tom Cruise’s debut performance as Ethan Hunt as he drives the story forward in the movie. It’s fascinating to see him as a young IMF agent in the first movie and what motivates him to drive forward and go through dangerous risks in order to solve a mystery.
I was pleased to Jon Voight star as Jim Phelps in the movie. Jon Voight previously stared in the first ‘Transformers’ film directed by Michael Bay and he also did ‘The Odessa File’ which featured Mary Tamm from ‘Doctor Who’. It was a surprise when Jim Phelps was revealed to be a villain in this film.
There’s Emmanuelle Béart as Claire Phelps, who is Jim Phelps’ wife in the film. Once Jim Phelps is presumed dead during the Prague mission, Claire reunites with Ethan Hunt, presumably working as a potential ally and having an emotional attachment to him. Later, Claire’s revealed as a traitor too. 😮
Ving Rhames stars as Luther Stickell, who ends up helping Ethan to infiltrate the CIA headquarters in Langley. Essentially, Ving Rhames would play Luther Stickell in all the ‘M:I’ movies. It was fascinating to see how Ethan and Luther started in their spy professional relationship and became good friends.
Vanessa Redgrave stars in this move as Max, an arms dealer that Ethan gets in touch with following the failed mission in Prague. It was fascinating to see Vanessa Redgrave in the first ‘M:I’ movie. This was after she did the 1974 ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ film and before she did ‘Call the Midwife’.
Henry Czerny stars as Eugene Kittridge, the IMF director who set up a second IMF team to monitor Ethan and his lot. I’m not sure what Kittridge’s motivation is behind this conspiracy, but for a while I wasn’t sure whether he was supposed to be a baddie hunting Ethan or finding out who framed him.
Jean Reno stars as Franz Kreiger, another disavowed IMF agent like Luther Stickell who helps Ethan and Claire to infiltrate the CIA headquarters in Langley. At first, I thought he was one of the good team helping Ethan in his mission in Langley. Quite a surprise once he was backstabber in the film. 😐
There’s also Kristen Scott Thomas as Sarah Davies, one of Ethan’s former team members during the Prague mission. There’s also Emilio Estevez as Jack Harmon and Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė as Hannah Williams. A pity we barely got to know these IMF agents before they were severely bumped off here.
One of the thrilling things about the ‘M:I’ movies is hearing the ‘M:I’ theme music carried over from the 1960s TV show, originally composed by Lalo Schifrin. The first film’s music was composed by Danny Elfman and you can hear the ‘M:I’ theme music both in the opening and the closing credits. 🙂
The Blu-ray special features are as follows. There’s ‘Mission: Remarkable – 40 Years of Creating the Impossible’, ‘Mission: Explosive Exploits’, ‘Mission: Spies Among Us’, ‘Mission: Catching the Train’, ‘Mission: International Spy Museum’, ‘Mission: Agent Dossiers’, ‘Excellence in Film: Cruise’, ‘Generation: Cruise’, a photo gallery of the film, a theatrical teaser trailer for the film; a theatrical trailer for the film and many TV spots for the film.
The first ‘Mission: Impossible’ movie is not one I would rate very highly since it’s very complex to follow and I wouldn’t call it a good introduction to the ‘M:I’ series. But with that said, it features some great and memorable action sequences as well as a great performance by Tom Hunt as Ethan.
I’m astounded by how this ‘M:I’ movie series became popular despite an underwhelming start, focusing more on action sequences rather than story and characters. But clearly the first ‘M:I’ film won a lot of people’s hearts. I’m just glad that the movies got better and better in the years to come.
Who knows? Maybe the next ‘M:I’ film will be very exciting! Hmm.
‘Mission: Impossible’ rating – 7/10
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