“Mission Impossible (1996)” Review

Owing to my obsessive completism I cannot watch the latest Mission Impossible film, which is getting some good reports, without seeing the previous… [looks up IMDB] … five (already?) films, having given up on disgust after seeing the first one about 20 years ago. Indeed rewatching the first one is inescapable too. And if I’m going to have to suffer that than, sorry, I’m going to have to blog about it. And I’d better warn you now, I really cannot do this without spoilers…

The past two decades have done nothing to change my opinion of M:I1. The same flaws that irritated me then, in spite of its fine cast, are just as apparent now. I’ll admit taking delight in some of the stupidity. Instead of a Class 373 in Eurostar livery we get it decked out TGV style. The channel tunnel is double track. There’s no third rail or overhead power. At least all this nonsense livens the feeble showdown.

But the real problem is it starts out with the jolly camaraderie of the TV show apparently with the sole purpose of destroying it all. I don’t mind the film series doing its own thing, being different. But why desecrate what came before?

It’s not even as though getting Kristen Scott Thomas and then killing her off is the worst thing to happen, because they also specifically name Peter Graves’ lead character from the original show, and killing him off would be bad enough but then they have to go and retcon the hero of 6 seasons into the villain. Unforgivable. Salting the battlefield.

Another five of these may be tougher going than I thought.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

2 thoughts on ““Mission Impossible (1996)” Review

  1. All those many years ago when MI first came out, I was very, very dubious (it’s my nature) that a program that was largrly about running intricate cons on bad guys could be converted into an action movie format. I remember having a discussion about how I thought it would go wrong when they started saying things like, “we’re forging our own path” and other platitudes that movie people use when what they mean to say is, “We don’t actually care about the original material, but that name alone guarantees butts in seats.”

    During that discussion, we asked the question, “What’s the worst thing they could do to ruin this movie?” And the answer we agreed on was, “make Mr. Phelps the bad guy.”

    I watched the movie. I groaned. (OK, actually, I said something, rather loudly, very off color about the lineage of the makers of the film.). I left the film and have not watched another since.

    I gather if (and only if) you can divorce the movies from the name “Mission: Impossible” (perhaps replacing it with “Mission: Absurdly Beyond Believe”) some of them are apparently entertaining.

    I’ll not give them my money, though.

    1. Yes, exactly. That’s been the position I stuck to for 20 years or so.

      The second one is very much an action movie (it’s John Woo) and nothing to do with television’s Mission: Impossible and that makes it less painful. I think ‘entertaining’ might be overstating it, however. (Full post to follow…)

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