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The Next Reel • Season 12 • Series: Mission: Impossible • Mission: Impossible

Mission: Impossible

“This whole operation was a mole hunt.”

Tom Cruise Upgrades the TV Show with Mission: Impossible

It took Paramount a while to get the Mission: Impossible movie off the ground. They’d tried for years with the property, nearly getting a version made in the early 80s before it fell through because of an escalating budget. By the time Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner were ready to start their own producing work, the property was still floundering. Cruise, as a fan of the show, immediately recognized its strengths and thought it would be a great way to kick off Cruise/Wagner Productions. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our last series of the season – the Mission: Impossible films – with De Palma’s 1996 film Mission: Impossible.

Here’s a hint at what we talk about.

Pete has seen some of the original show but Andy never has. Does that play into how we approached this first film and our impressions? They certainly do change elements, after all. Jim Phelps is a traitor. It’s not so much a team story as it is an Ethan Hunt story. But it does feel like covert missions in this film, perhaps moreso than later in the franchise. 

This is also the birthplace of Cruise as the action star always ready to do his own (often crazy) stunts. It’s not as large or over-the-top here, but it’s certainly still part of the story and who can forget him suspended on the cables dropping silently into CIA headquarters? That’s absolutely the centerpiece of this film and still is a thrill to watch. We also love the sequence with Hunt talking to Kittridge in the restaurant full of giant fish tanks, as well as the train sequence. 

We struggle with some of the team elements, and definitely have issues with the flatness of that first team. Good thing they all get picked off! Some performances are better than others. Same goes for the effects of the day, but largely De Palma shows he knows how to use CGI and when, so it’s rarely a problem here. Speaking of De Palma, he’s bringing a lot of creative style to the story which feels key to the spy story being told. It’s a thrill to start this franchise with him really allowed to play.

All in, it’s a good start to this series. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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