Action movies can frequently be boiled down to good guys versus bad guys. When the action movie is set within the world of espionage and intrigue, just pinpointing the identity of the villains and heroes can be part of the fun. The "Mission: Impossible" franchise is replete with examples of plot turns based on the unclear allegiances of the main characters. Currently, the fifth “Mission: Impossible” film is in production. This franchise, which is based on the 1960s television show, started in 1996.
The first film, like the sequels, stars Tom Cruise as the quick thinking and quick moving Ethan Hunt, an agent of IMF or Impossible Missions Force. Also on his team are Sarah (played by Kristin Scott Thomas), Jack (played by Emilio Estevez), Claire (played by Emmanuelle Beart), and Hannah (played by Ingeborga Dapkunaite). Their leader is Claire’s husband, Jim Phelps (played by Jon Voight). Jim sends them on a mission to recover a list of undercover spies that could be very dangerous if it got into the wrong hands. The mission goes completely wrong and most of the agents die. One of the few survivors is Ethan, who learns from the head of the agency, Kittridge (played by Henry Czerny), that the mission was really a setup to lure out a double agent. Ethan learns he is now the prime suspect, so he goes on the run. Joining him is the other survivor, Claire. They team with blacklisted IMF agents Luther (played by Ving Rhames) and Franz (played by Jean Reno) to help Ethan clear his name.
The screenplay of “Mission: Impossible” is quite intriguing. It is a lot different from the show, but is has a lot of unexpected twists, especially near the end.
There are a lot of memorable scenes in the film. The most famous one features Ethan breaking into a very secure room to access its computer. The suspense is intense since he cannot touch the ground, or the alarm will trigger.
The cast is on target. Tom Cruise, as usual, makes a compelling hero. Also strong is Vanessa Redgrave, who plays Max, a counter spy.
“Mission: Impossible” is a great choice for fans of suspense films or fans of Tom Cruise.