PG-13, 1 hr. 50 min. Directed by: Brian DePalma. Release Date: May 22, 1996. DVD Release Date: Jan 17, 1998.
PG-13, 124 min. Directed by: John Woo. Release Date: Dec 31, 2000. DVD Release Date: Nov 07, 2000.
PG-13, 2 hrs. 6 min. Directed by: J.J. Abrams. Release Date: May 05, 2006. DVD Release Date: Oct 30, 2006.
****REPOSTED FROM THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH NEW COMMENTS/EDITS****
Action-packed, high-tech spy thrillers provide an explosive, if unbelievable viewing experience... at least on average. Like my review of the Indiana Jones and Scream trilogies, I decided to clump these together because my three separate reviews would be remarkably similar, although I do have a decided preference within these first three Mission Impossible movies. My concern was that the reviews might be so similar in nature, with most of the same praise and complaints, that I could be accused of abusing copy and paste.
The special effects, by which I mostly mean the pyrotechnics) are great in all three of these movies, and I think they get better with each release in the trilogy. While some of that is obviously improved technology, I think it was a major force in the filmmakers’ plan as this story evolved. They wanted the trilogy to get more visually appealing with every film that was added to the series. I also dug the vast majority of the spy technology and “craft” that I saw used. Granted, they had a few of the same “stroke” technologies that we saw in the 007 franchise, but the it all worked as we get further into the game.
Story-wise, I think all of these suffered from some of the same short-sightedness that seems to plague the entire spy flick genre. All of these fought to be topical, and brought us settings and problems that felt real because of events of the day, but add topical realism to a mess of crazy action sequences and lucky breaks that would have killed any real person, and you get something that doesn’t shine as brightly as it might have if they’d provided us with a location or issue that was a bit more fantastic.But my real criticism is that with the arguable exception of the first Mission Impossible release, Tom Cruise was not exactly a spring chicken. While I’m not ready to start shoveling dirt on his grave, I thought he was a bit too old to reasonably bounce back from most of the shenanigans we watch him go through, and half the time, we watch Ethan Hunt shrug off impacts that would likely have killed a real person. Hunt won't be the first spy to disregard the ravages of age. Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan both had moments where you wonder how they didn't need a nap, too.