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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
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Hectic, incomprehensible; De Palma sells out."
2 stars

It isn't until 'Mission: Impossible' is almost finished that you realize it never actually started.

This, I hope, will be the emptiest spectacle of the season (God help us if they get any emptier) -- a pointless, aggressive non-movie to rival Batman Forever. Summer blow-outs like this can bring out the Chicken Little in those who care about film: The sky is falling! Cinema is dead -- long live the corporate thrill-machines!

The director, Brian De Palma, is a past master at operating thrill-machines (Blow Out, Carrie, The Untouchables, a host of others). So I don't understand why this one crashes so often. There are a handful of witty De Palma touches, but after a while it gets depressing to sit there and count all the De Palma-isms for lack of anything else to hold your interest. It's like hearing sporadic Jimi Hendrix riffs scattered amid two hours of Muzak.

Mission: Impossible has a headache-inducing plot that I'd just as soon not explore in depth. Secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), working for veteran spy Jim Phelps (Jon Voight, in for Peter Graves), gets caught up in a scramble for a valuable computer disk, and some agents trust him, even if he doesn't trust them .... I can feel the pounding behind my left eye. I don't remember why the disk is valuable, and I don't care.

Nor, evidently, did De Palma, or the screenwriters (Robert Towne, Steven Zaillian, and David Koepp are credited), or anyone else involved in the movie. Mission: Impossible is vague and dull in an infuriating way: Nothing is at stake, nobody on the screen means anything to us. (At least Twister found a few seconds for characterization -- banal characterization, granted, but still.) It starts loudly and confidently and maintains that pitch, but it's all bluff.

De Palma has rounded up a stellar international cast (Vanessa Redgrave, Emmanuelle Béart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames), only to forget about them or to kill them off rudely; any movie that loses Kristin Scott Thomas in the first reel obviously has no priorities. Mostly, De Palma sticks with his unexciting star, who is also the co-producer, unfortunately. Cruise himself is a bit of a machine, but De Palma can't rewire him. Cruise has only one thing on his hard drive: cockiness.

Two sequences stand out: a nail-biting entry into a heavily-guarded computer room, and the outrageously phallic climax involving a train, a helicopter, and a tunnel. De Palma pumps up the action the way he always does, turning suspense into a sly joke. But too often the action simply collapses into bombastic special effects that your cousin Floyd could direct, given $70 million and cutting-edge computer pizzazz.

De Palma inserts his first joke at the end of the opening credits, when his name appears over an image of a tape famously self-destructing. But the joke may be on him. This 'Mission' results in the self-destruction of a great film artist for the sake of Hollywood, commerce, and star ego. It's a mission De Palma shouldn't have chosen to accept.

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originally posted: 01/11/07 10:06:38
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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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