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|Index||330 reviews in total|
An engaging piece of Cold War histrionics set in fine motion by DePalma
and his stellar entourage of fine actors. To me, it stands far ahead of
the two sequels, primarily because it is more subtle and cerebral and
less visceral than the others. The cast itself is not laden with merely
young hot-shot actors inserted into screenplays for box office appeal.
Rather, it is almost too politically correct in its casting as all the
demographics seem to be represented here: young, old, Black, White,
male, female, American, European etc. Yet each of the principals and
the supporting cast fits into his/her respective role quite well, with
little wasted motion. It's as if they each have their own "raison
d'etre" as it pertains to the overall story line.
The sophisticated spy-vs.-spy plot line is not only enhanced by the thespian talent, but also the inventive camera work that allows us to revisit "flashbacks" of prior scenes that are taken from perspectives other than the original. To wit, the Jon Voight bridge scene gets a few once-overs, if you will. Also, the European locales are well shot with no gratuitous indulgence, which helps to embellish the story line. Lest I forget, a sweet job by Danny Elfman adapting Lalo Schiffrin's "MI" theme to the soundtrack, especially during the ending credits where he shifts the theme's normal 5/4 tempo to a funkier, bluesier 4/4 time signature!
Tom Cruise takes a nice turnabout from some of his earlier more "cutesy" roles. His role here demands of him technical expertise as well as strength of character in order for him to merely stay alive. J. Voight and V. Redgrave are in fine form in their complex and beguiling portrayals.
In summary, this episode of the "MI" series characterizes what I consider to be a triumph of substance over form, of subtlety over the obvious. Maybe this attitude is a "no-no" for modern audiences, but it remains one philosophy that I will always endorse.
Ego centered and senseless movie. Brian Depalma pulls off one cool scene involving an exploding restaurant otherwise a box office success that will be baffling to people who watch it once the Tom Cruise star has faded. If you love Tom (and he can deserve your love, just doesn't this time) you'll like the fact that for a "team" movie there is no Team it's all just Tom. That's fine if you don't remember the original concept of the cool TV show, and let's face it the makers of the film were betting you don't. Best moment however is when they briefly play the original theme music in a couple of spots. Dangling wire scene is a steal fro Topkaki--which for Depalma is a signature moment. What can you say about a career that has lasted for decades where his signature is stealing other directors signature moments. Here though he really gets to do very little, he certainly was taking the job hoping (and getting) a hit film so he could go off to make his more personal Hitchcock rip off films ( don't get me stated) anyway he doesn't get to work much style into Mission. Final sequence on the train in the tunnel is the first of many abusive unconvincing CGI action scenes that have followed and dominated American movie making. I don't mean to get on a soapbox here this film is bad as a stand alone without trying to blame it for other bad films. Cruise is too into being serious to enjoy the film and the script (written and rewritten while they were shooting) doesn't not hold together, leaving Cruise looking rather silly for playing it so seriously rather than with a "isn't this fun? Don't take it too seriously" attitude that might have saved at least him. The film was a hit, feel free not to listen to me, or feel free to actually watch this film as a film and see how poor it is. For those who see Brian DePalma's cinematic stealings from other films as being his expression of style, this time around he most effectively steals the hanging on wires gag from Topkaki. Unfortunately he needed to steal some scenes from about 10 other good movies to help out the rest of this one. Most exciting moment in the film is when they briefly play the original theme music--that moment leads into the Topkaki riff. If you were on a desert island and only had this film and its sequel to watch, I'd say watch this one, otherwise use them both to burn to make black smoke to attract rescue.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A de Palma film is always a gas. He cares not at all about the actors. The story is just an excuse for his real work, which concerns the appearance of things. His films are, therefore, purely cinematic, something others have called `sterile.'
And so it is here. The story is a trifle, a common bit about duplicity of the spymaster. The acting is deliberately flat, presumably to make producer Cruise not look bad. Each is allowed to find some old character: Reno finds Léon; Emmanuelle her Manon and so on. They rattle about in the past, each playing a role borrowed from another story.
The conceit behind the film is a group (in the TeeVee show) who create elaborate scenes that dupe the audience, correcting some deep wrong. No one can be trusted to be what they appear. The goal of the plot is to discover identities of who is who.
The film is three set pieces, a remarkably simple construction: Prague, London, Chunnel. The camera differs in each third, each exploring the space in a different way, each fooling us into believing the camera is ordinary. Usually he swoops and zooms are dramatically obvious, and are intended to reveal as in the remarkable `Snake Eyes.' Here, they are concealed, and used to conceal.
As an elaboration of the idea, much of the plot revolves around hidden `spectacle' cameras and peeloff masks.
Even though this movie had plenty of expensive glitter, an excess of on-screen whispering, coupled with an excess of flashbacks, rendered the plot next to impossible to figure out. But then again, maybe that was the producer's point, to get us to return again and again until we have it all sorted out. Therefore, I also give it 1 point.
After Carlito's Way, all of Brian De Palma's movies have been more
about style than content. When the plot and characters weren't good
enough to keep the film interesting, we got crap like Femme Fatale.
When, on the other hand, De Palma had an intelligent script and a
reliable cast to work with, the result was quite pleasant.
Mission:Impossible belongs to the second category.
Based on the popular TV show from the '60s, the movie starts with Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), leader of IMF (Impossible Mission Force), preventing the latest terrorist plot before receiving a new assignment ("This message will self-destruct in five seconds"): he has to locate and arrest a double agent. The problem is, his whole team, including himself, gets wiped out during the mission. Only Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is left, which brings his superiors to a "logical" conclusion: he has to be the traitor. Alone and on the run, Hunt has to prove his innocence and find the real dirty agent. He will receive some help from Claire (Emmanuelle Bèart), Jim's wife, computer whiz Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and mercenary Krieger (Jean Reno). An impossible mission? Perhaps...
As I already said, this film relies heavily on style, and De Palma artfully delivers when it comes to staging an exciting thriller. Two scenes in particular prove the Scarface director was the right man for the job. One sees Ethan trying to rob a maximum security vault whose alarm basically reacts even if you have to scratch your nose. That scene is loaded with suspense and is one of the best ever directed by De Palma. The other memorable bit is the final set piece (I'll just say three words: train, tunnel, chopper), which proves things can really get impossible in these movies.
As for content, David Koepp's script is brilliant as long as it deals with the various conspiracies, but rather shallow in terms of character development. Take the IMF team at the beginning: they're so hastily introduced it's hard to feel for them when they're all killed five minutes later. Apart from Cruise, who manages to turn an otherwise one-dimensional protagonist into a charismatic lead, the only characters worth watching are Phelps (a superb Voight) and Max, a criminal mastermind, masterfully underplayed by Vanessa Redgrave.
All in all, not as good as De Palma's earlier works, but nonetheless quite stylish, charming and enjoyable, not to mention a really good adaptation of a TV series. If only other remakes (Charlie's Angels, for example) were this good.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was a Tom Cruise spy film. Unfortunately it was not a "Mission:
Impossible" film, and that was my problem.
The overall most important element of the TV series was the plot - the heist, the robbery, the fraud, the trickery, the whatever... The team (the brain, the girl, the technician, the muscle and the actor) in effect were only there to move the plot forward. But, saying that, we really got to know and trust these anonymous agents; a tribute to such excellent actors as Peter Graves, Martin Landau and Leonard Nimoy. The first thing that this film does is kill off the team. Disgraceful! And then various members of the new team he puts together turn out to be traitors. Drivel! And then at the end of the film they completely trash the reputation of TV's greatest spy master Jim Phelps. Terrible! Sorry, but this is not the film that I wanted to see.
It says a lot that according to rumour the producers did not see fit to offer any of the original cast members of "Mission: Impossible" so much as even a silent cameo in this movie. (Imagine the great Martin Landau as the aged Rollin' Hand. What a missed opportunity). I think another case of buying a title and doing what you like with it. See "The Saint" for further details.
Childish presentation, boring in parts, very silly overall, noisy irritating soundtrack, unnecessarily long scenes, strange direction techniques, very few real thrills, a lot of hype -- and I never realized what an ENORMOUS nose Tom Cruise has! Maybe that's why one of the female leads also has a giant schnozzle! The film was a gross disappointment, though I guess die-hard Cruise fans will eat it up. Any comparison between this effort and the TV series is virtually pointless, as the TV shows were fast, exciting, clever, superbly-directed, full of suspense, with a lot of sharp dialogue, and actors who were true craftsmen. Sorry, but this flick is a real bummer!
I was very much disappointed by this flat action movie and its predictable
ending. I am a fan of the old Mission:Impossible series of the 60s and 80s
and therefore I think the plot is ridiculous at best. Why should Jim Phelps
do what he did? He was always loyal through the many episodes of the series
and there he could have gotten much more money if he had betrayed his team.
The reason why Peter Graves (Jim Phelps) did not star in this movie is because he did not agree with what I have just said.
Anyway this movie is NOT for fans of the series because there is nothing left of the teamwork spirit of the series. It is a one man show for Tom Cruise.
Like many others, I was disappointed with the fact that for the big screen,
almost all the elements which made the tv series "Mission: Impossible" so
entertaining - the team ethos, the complex con-tricks, etc - were jettisoned
in favour of a huge ego boost for the one man show that is Mr. Tom Cruise.
It is particularly annoying given that the "plot" chosen to replace it is so
bog-standard and predictable. An honest hero is framed for something he
didn't do and spends the rest of the movie trying to clear his name and out
the real spy... This seems to be the plot of every third blockbuster these
days - two titles released just before "M:I" using exactly the same
storyline spring to mind: "Judge Dredd" and Schwarzenegger's "Eraser". It
was also totally un-necessary to take the hero of the original series and
make him the villain of the movie - can you imagine a film version of "The
Untouchables" with the cops hot on the trail of the evil gang boss Eliot
Ness? There is also the fact that the movie is deeply insecure; one feels
that it would like to be a cold-war style espionage picture but does not
have the courage of its convictions so tacks a cheesy and implausible action
sequence onto the end. I could go on, but at the end of the day, my list of
criticisms are all are all pretty subjective, and don't really point to this
being a bad film, simply one that I don't like.
But then suddenly it struck me. The reason I find this movie so intensely
pointless, and the reason I think it's no good, is that so many scenes are
so stupid, or just completely extraneous. Take for example the films most
memorable moment - the break in to the CIA building to steal half of the
'NOC' list. We are told that this is the most secure room in the entire
world, that it has every security system known to man. Except, it seems, a
plain and simple good old CCTV camera! Sure, the scene is well directed and
a fair amount of tension is wrung from it, but if you take a step back to
think, it's preposterous. Besides, by my reckoning there is no reason for
Hunt even to have the real NOC list if he is planning on double bluffing
simply to smoke out the spy, so the scene shouldn't even be there. Why
would he endanger all those agents by handing over the real list?
Nit picking? Certainly, but it sums up for me why the whole thing is a waste of time. There are plenty of movies one can enjoy by checking ones brain in at the theatre door; but when a movie cloaks itself in a supposedly complex plot and encourages the audience member to engage his or her brain, and then doesn't even stand up to scrutiny, I find the whole process deeply depressing - more so when the film takes itself as seriously as this one evidently does. I can't even be entertained anymore, because I am acutely aware of how shallow, empty, and ultimately pretentious it all is. So sorry folks, but if you ask me this is a red herring wrapped up in a Macguffin, wrapped up in a shaggy dog story with fleas, all designed for the sole purpose of making Tommy look good. It's a real shame that the supporting cast, production values, direction etc are all so high, since the film itself is so thoroughly worthless. At my most generous, I'd give it...
If you are a big fan of the television series, starring Peter Graves and Martin Landau, like I am, then you will hate this movie as much as I did. It has nothing to do with the television series, other than its title and opening musical sequence. I went in to this movie expecting more. If you can get beyond these prejudices, then you can expect, at best, a mediocre movie. Right off the top of my head, I can pick five or six episodes from the series that were actually better than this movie. It's a shame because I like Tom Cruse. He's better than this!
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