Monday, March 7, 2016

Mission: Impossible

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  Personally, I like to Mission:  Stupidly Easy in my life.

Mission:  Impossible – 4 out of 5

With the recent release of Mission:  Impossible – Rogue Nation, I’ve decide to go back and watch the franchise from the beginning.  The only films I’ve seen in the franchise are the first three and the third one wasn’t under the best circumstances (keep an eye out for that review to find out why) but this one has a special place in my heart not just because it’s the first one but because this film always makes me think of the time I met Jon Voight.   

This dude!

When this film came out, I was visit my sister and the man who would become my brother-in-law in Memphis, Tennessee and we were visiting the Peabody Hotel to see the infamous ducks they have there.  While I was checking out the ducks (but only really half paying attention—I was a teenager at the time and watching ducks probably wasn’t “cool” to me), a man came up to me, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Watching the ducks?”  I turned and looked at him, he smiled and said, “Have fun.”  He walked away and I turned around to watch him and he waved at me as he left.  It was then that my mother ran up to me and said, “That was Jon Voight.”  I wasn’t the most familiar with Voight at the time so I couldn’t think of whom he was or the films he did.  Later, while at a Wal-Mart, my mom grabbed a copy of Mission:  Impossible and said, “That’s Jon Voight.”  I looked at his picture and, sure enough, that was the man who came up to me at the hotel.  So, I met Jon Voight but didn’t recognize him and it took a VHS copy of this film to make me realize what just happened to me.

My mom then proceeded to reenact this sequence for some reason.

Anyway, stupid story about my life is over…Commence the synopsis!

Shown:  An artistic interpretation of me seamlessly sliding into the synopsis
in this review.

If you don't love Luther, I don't want to know you.
While on a mission for the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) in the American embassy in Prague, Jim Phelps (Jon “I Met Ron Swanson” Voight) and his team are taken out by some unknown assassins.  The only team member to get away is Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and he soon learns from the IMF director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) that there’s a mole in the division and, since Hunt survived, he’s believed to be the mole.  Hunt escapes and recruits two former IMF agents:  computer expert Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), pilot Franz Kieger (Jean Reno) and Jim Phelps’ wife Claire (Emmanuelle BĂ©art).  Now the team must do things like infiltrate the CIA in order to find the mole and what really happened that night in Prague.

"Don't get a boner, don't get a boner, don't get a boner..."

Watching this movie 20 years later, I gotta say that it still holds up.  Granted, it does look dated because the computers you see in the film just look ancient when compared to what we use now but, this aside, the film still is entertaining as hell.  The performances are great, the covert ops section of the film is excellently put together and executed on the screen by director Brian De Palma and, while the action set pieces aren’t as huge or spectacular as they will get later in the series, the action is very satisfying.

Thanks for the "What does Kittridge have in his nose?" shot, De Palma.

Since I haven’t watched this one since it came out (and watched it on the now ancient medium of VHS), there were a few things I forgot about it.  Number One) I completely forgot that Emilio Estevez has a non-credit role in the film and was a part of the doomed IMF team at the beginning in Prague.  Number Two) I forgot how well-crafted the big reveal in the film is and how the entire mystery of the film is established.  And, finally, Number Three) The sequence in the CIA—the infamous one with Hunt hanging from a wire—is a lot cooler and far more intense than I remember.

Hey, Emilio.  I forgot you were in this film.  What happens to your character?

OH SWEET JESUS!!!  I forgot that, too!

For being two decades old and being the jumping off point to the franchise, Mission:  Impossible is still a great movie.  Sure, it’s nothing like the rest of the series (hell, Hunt doesn’t even fire a gun in this one) and it may suffer from some weaker acting by some of the performers but it’s still a terrifically crafted spy thriller.

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