Here, for once, is a franchise that really deserves the six movies that have been made, and I have high hopes for the next two, already shooting. If you want fast, loud, and brainless, you can’t do better than Mission: Impossible. Sometimes that’s exactly what I need, to just be entertained by something that doesn’t insult my intelligence more than five or six times in two hours. Frankly, you can’t really hope for better than that.
This one was directed by Brian De Palma, and he worked on the script along with a real powerhouse team: Steve Zaillian, David Koepp, Sidney Pollock, and Robert Towne. It begins with one of the mind-fuck pranks the TV series was famous for. But it veers sharply away from all that in a way that the original cast just hated. That’s cool, they have every right to be pissed, since (SPOILER ALERT) Jim Phelps, originally played by Peter Graves and now by Jon Voight, turns out to be the bad guy. Ethan loses his whole team in a betrayal. I seldom watched the show, and thus have no real problem with the changes. The plot here might be overly complicated. I saw it just a few weeks ago and can remember very little of it. But in movies like this plot is just sort of the bridge from one action scene to another, and this one has some great stuff. There is an impossible raid on the CIA that is ingenious, and clearly impossible. But that’s what it’s all about.
A film like this usually has a place where it loses me, often at the end, where I can no longer suspend my disbelief. Here it is a ludicrous, ridiculous, laughable sequence where Ethan is on top of a French TGV train, the sort that goes about 200MPH. That’s okay, we actually see Tom Cruise do it. But then the train gets hooked up to a helicopter by a cable, and enters the Channel Tunnel. I was unable to find out how wide those tubes are, but I can guarantee you that they are narrower than any helicopter’s rotors. Even if it were possible to get in there with three inches to spare on either side, it is moronic to pretend anyone could pilot it beyond a few feet. Oh, well, there’s always a moment like this in action films these days. I just have to endure it.