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Overall Rating

Awesome: 23.81%
Worth A Look38.1%
Average: 9.52%
Pretty Bad: 19.05%
Total Crap: 9.52%

3 reviews, 66 user ratings

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Mission: Impossible
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"An Explanation of the Impossible"
5 stars

WARNING!!! This is not a review of Mission Impossible, but an explanation of its plot. The 1996 version of the popular television series has become synonymous with the word “confusing.” For the life of me, I cannot figure out why, but here is a simple yet detailed account of the events that transpire during, what I consider to be, one of the best TV-to-Movie translations.

Jim Phelps (character from the original TV show) is given his mission to obtain half of a stolen NOC (Names Of Cover) list from a wealthy man who plans to sell it to an arms dealer named Max. He gets his team together, including his own wife, Claire, and Ethan Hunt. The mission goes smoothly until members of the team start dying.

We’re not supposed to know at this point, but Jim Phelps is the one sabotaging everyone. He rigs the elevator to kill Emilio Estevez. His partner, Krieger (Jean Reno) stabs another member as well as killing the man who supposedly was stealing the NOC list. Another team member is blown up in a car while Phelps fakes his own death. Ethan survives and then discovers that the whole mission was a “mole hunt.” The IMF agency was after an “inside man” who was planning to steal the NOC list. Since Hunt survived, they suspect him, sending him into hiding.

Hunt, looking to clear his own name and seek revenge against the man who killed his team members, sets out to discover who “JOB” is. Phelps’ wife, Claire, also survived the opening ambush and helps out. Hunt seeks out Max, pretending to be “JOB” and offers to get both halves of the NOC list she seeks. To do this he recruits Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) another “disavowed” agent while Claire recruits Krieger (whom, at this point, we don’t know is involved with Phelps).

The new plan is to break into CIA headquarters at Langley and retrieve the NOC list in incredible, heartstopping fashion. With everyone pitching in, Hunt is able to get the NOC list from the IMF mainframe, as well as noticing a couple things. One is the knife brandished by Krieger twice during the break-in and the second is Luther’s shock in realizing they are stealing the cover names of all IMF agents in the field. Hunt realizes he can trust Luther, but not sure about Krieger.

Later that night, Hunt discovers a bible in the hotel, stamped as taken from the Drake Hotel in Chicago, where Phelps had said he had stayed on a recent mission. Hunt then discovers that IMF boss, Kittridge, has had his aunt and uncle arrested for being drug smugglers. After placing a call to Kittridge from an outside line, essentially accusing him of being “JOB”, Hunt is stunned to see Jim Phelps in the booth next to him, very much alive. Over a sitdown, Phelps recalls the events of that opening mission, telling Hunt that Kittridge is the one who shot him. Overhearing all of this, Hunt begins to piece together that night his own way, figuring out that Phelps was the one involved all along. He thinks that Claire may have been the one that blew up the car (that she was supposed to be in) but he can’t be sure.

So Hunt sets up a little rendezvous on the bullet train. He sends Kittridge tickets to the train as well as a transmitter watch. Now, all parties involved are on the train. Hunt gets the NOC list disc to Max while Luther jams the frequency on her computer preventing her from accessing the entire disc. “JOB”, in the meantime prepares for his meeting with Hunt in the baggage car, as Kittridge roams the train, not sure what he’s looking for. Claire gets to the baggage car and sees whom she believes is her husband, Jim. She suggests that they don’t kill Ethan, leaving him to take the blame, when Ethan pulls off his Jim Phelps mask, discovering what he feared.

Claire is a bad guy and so is her husband, Jim Phelps a.k.a. “JOB”. The plan is laid out, but Ethan marks Jim with his “camera glasses” sending a signal back to Kittridge’s new watch, allowing him to see that Jim Phelps is alive and well and responsible for everything. After killing Claire, insulted that she tries to stop him from killing Ethan, Jim tries to escape from the train with the help of Krieger trailing in a helicopter. But Ethan saves the day, killing both Jim and Krieger. With Luther’s assistance, Kittridge discovers Max, getting back the NOC list.

OK, sure that’s a lot of info. But what’s so complicated? It’s all laid out. And what’s wrong with a little complexity? Nothing I say.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 05/24/00 07:23:30
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User Comments

8/12/13 hank crap--bs plot--ending-waste of time 1 stars
4/30/12 roscoe the is shit. no action. no story or intrigue. one of worst 1 stars
1/06/12 Aravind A very well made film :) 5 stars
8/15/11 Wiseguy70005 @Andrew Carden: A 7-year TV series is hardly short-lived. 4 stars
2/05/09 Faraz J OK movie witha an ok plot. No fun. This is supposed to be MI! 2 stars
12/02/08 Rapfan sucks 2 stars
11/22/08 The Dork Knight I still don't know what the plot is about. 3 stars
10/13/08 Shaun Wallner I really enjoyed this film. 5 stars
3/16/08 Pamela White plot can be confusing 4 stars
11/19/07 Chris Underrated movie, a good spy movie. 4 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Outrageously cockeyed drama that assumes confusion=deep,amazing plot.Think again DePalma! 2 stars
7/02/07 johnnyfog I defy anybody to understand the plot!! 4 stars
3/09/07 johnnyfog Really, really, really, really, really confusing. But good 4 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega It's not impossible to like this movie. 4 stars
9/05/06 Sepi53 Super action film, with Tom Cruise best performance ever!! 5 stars
8/05/06 nicolecrom2678 Thought is was one of Tom Cruises best. Great action 4 stars
6/16/06 dave SIck movie, the best in the series 5 stars
2/14/06 Anthony Feor Cruise at his best. This movie ruled 5 stars
9/26/05 Jonathon Holmes I want my fucking money back, Cruise 1 stars
8/27/05 ES Could have been better, second movie not worth the bother 3 stars
8/07/05 Indrid Cold Some memorable scenes, but really just another disposable summer blockbuster. 4 stars
7/03/05 Quigley not the greatest spy film, but had its moments. cruise, however, was a low point 3 stars
5/26/05 tony Very Suspensful, Thrilling and above all EXELLENT. Byfar the best action movie of 1996. 5 stars
12/20/04 Daveman Not too bad, entertaining spy film, although there is an inescapable element of camp to it. 3 stars
10/04/04 Ian This is my all time favorite movie w/out a doubt! Emmanuel Beart &.....Hannah are gorgeous 5 stars
5/31/04 Nobody Complex mid bending need to watch it 2 or 3 times to really get it 4 stars
5/06/04 J.Peckerfoot its good,shame emilio dies..hey ho. 3 stars
3/18/04 Umbrella Corporation. Now this is Tom Cruise's fine hour of entertainment... Message will self-destruct in 5 secs 4 stars
12/06/03 john has nothing to do with the TV show - other than that it's boring 1 stars
9/06/03 Dimitri Aubert Good spy movie, though very unrealistic at the end... 4 stars
7/21/03 Monster W. Kung The best thing I can say about it is that compared to Woo's sequel it's gr... gre... better 2 stars
4/11/03 Fizikalec Great movie, great atmosphere, great twists, if there wasn't the channel scene and Kruger. 5 stars
12/03/02 Gazza E Great action movie...just don't think about it too much 4 stars
11/23/02 Croweater Whats so confusing about the plot? I liked twists and complexity it reminds me of the show! 5 stars
11/20/02 Ethan Hunt You know how you can figure this one out, Pay ATTENTION< ITS NOT XXX 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Action and nothing more 4 stars
7/25/02 Justin Tom Cruise is terrific! 5 stars
12/23/01 Andrew Carden Very Pale and Dull Adaption Of The Short-Lived TV Series. 2 stars
12/04/01 The $1.98 Pyramid Who has the time to watch the plot 30 times in a row to understand it? 4 stars
11/12/01 R.W. Welch Not bad most of the way but finale is much overdone. 3 stars
9/12/01 Butterbean A smooth spy film that you have to watch twice to understand. 4 stars
8/10/01 Mr. Hat Tom Cruise is a really bad actor. 2 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk This is a great movie...a bit hard to follow...but nonetheless, great. 5 stars
7/10/01 TLsmooth Ethan Hunt would kick the horse piss out of James Bond. Bond movies suck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
6/10/01 J Better (but not much better) than the sequel. It was good but the storyline was overrated. 3 stars
2/17/01 Heff Where is the story line!!! The action is good but the rest is SHIT!!! 1 stars
2/14/01 Jake Very slick and smart 5 stars
1/06/01 Connoisseur not one second did I know what was going on 1 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla good move, but the helicopter-train chase wasn't that believable 4 stars
11/13/00 The EVIL Penguin Much better than the sequel 4 stars
2/25/00 Overflow Bitch Better than I thought it would be. Very cool. 4 stars
12/15/99 Paul A fun and fast moving movie 4 stars
4/04/99 Albert I want to be lying on the CIA computer room floor when Cruise wires down and lands on me. 5 stars
2/19/99 Piz a really smat, fun movie, that isn't as hard to "get" as people made it. 4 stars
12/11/98 Scion of Graveheart Oh, look! Tom Cruise! -1 star for "guy always get the girl" hoax. Not bad. 4 stars
12/10/98 Skip Danner The famous Mr. Phelps does the unthinkable (if not the impossible): turns traitor. 2 stars
12/01/98 Mr.Pink Great Fun!! 4 stars
11/24/98 Fred An action movie without any action. Now I've seen everything. 1 stars
11/12/98 Jules Jim is the bad guy? What a cheap, childish attempt at suspense... Lame 2 stars
10/15/98 {{{OZ}}} Stylish, not too far from the original, but not overly exciting, for mine. 3 stars
10/15/98 MR HOLLYWOOD !! Confusing as hell....but deserves alot of credit,couldnt understand a word from emmanuelle. 4 stars
9/06/98 Admiral Mung Bean Soda (+/- 12db) Spies. Gadgets. International intrigue. Zzzzzz. 2 stars
9/05/98 Badass I was the only one who understood this film the first time I saw it. 4 stars
8/28/98 Johny Why is this film so hard to understand? 4 stars
8/25/98 Mister Whoopee Nigh incomprehensible. Had none of the coolness of the TV series. 2 stars
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  22-May-1996 (PG-13)


  27-Jun-1996 (M)

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