Mission: Impossible (Movie Review)
--- 5.8/10 - Alright -
So I had never seen the film that started it all, Brian De Palma's 'Oh shit, I gotta make a movie that makes money' film, and Tom Cruise's first entry into a series that defines 'I wanna do some crazy shit AND RUNN!". And though those might sound like disses, they're not. Especially Cruise doing crazy shit.
Let us begin with De Palma, I haven't seen most of his films, but I have seen two standouts, Carrie & Scarface. And this film shares a whole lot of visual DNA with those two. This film is very uniquely shot, no one can deny that. De Palma has a weird snazzy way of shooting his scenes, Dutch angles (which I normally hate) are littered around scenes of extreme stress, they slap you in the back of the head with how tight and close in they are. It wasn't horrible or annoying, its just a De Palma thing. He has of course his Split Diopter shots (idk what they are called tbh) where the shot is wide and slashed in half offering two points of focus, even though the subjects are at different distances. Which also look cool. And then your full room shots (specifically one overhead) that lets Cruise play around a set. And your nightmare sequences? And extremely bright red blood??
But, where this film really excels is in its action sequences. The CIA heist is still thrilling to watch! With its tight shots accompanied with mediums revealing future complications, and the cutting back and forth is done wonderfully, the sound design of trying to be completely silent, Cruise sweating for dear life and doing his acrobatic routine, and the moment he drops! Fuck yeah, that one scene almost hints at the future of this series nail biting moments. And Cruise doing all these stunts makes them believable, and gives De Palma the freedom to shoot wide and shoot action and reaction. So honestly if you haven't seen this movie, watch that segment, it is worth it.
The other big moment is on top of a train, and though it doesn't hit the high marks of the CIA breach, it is still damn satisfying to see even though it shows its digital green screen age. And the reason it still hold up is that they actually shot 150 mph winds at Cruise which really sells the speed, danger and complications. He flips and flops his way around with the gust. It gets a little over the top with the helicopter, and the finale is a little too cheesy, but hey it is 22 years old.
And speaking of cheesy that is where this film truly flops. The dialogue and interaction with characters is truly just weird and awkward. I mean I mean Cruise is good at two things, stunts and running, his social skills in this movie are awful. He's always too close, too fake, too loud, too serious, too smiley, why is he biting his lips smirking, his eyes are too pervy, for a second I thought he was gonna rape that girl, and he's so obviously planning something when his face is literally in full rage/horror mode. He almost has no chill. Now this might be De Palma's direction, and his need for extreme reactions, but damn was distracting and almost annoying. Plus it is from the mid 90's so it is a product of its time, I guess, but I still didn't enjoy it. Oh and everyone else performs equally as cheesy and over the top and just bad.
And that's not even the biggest problem of this film, the screenplay is just a jumbled mess. The way it goes about giving you information and showing character goals and ambitions is just weird, convoluted and confusing, which caused me to be bored for the most part. I mean I get everything that happens and the twists but it just feels like they took the long route to get there. I feel as if they could of really stripped this thing down, simplified some plot lines and really just made this a thinner film. Besides the two big set pieces, I did not care for anyone or really anything in this movie. It almost felt like they just tied threads to get to those big two moments. (which supposedly they actually did start Production before having a final script)
The editing was also choppy at times, maybe because of the time it was made, or just poor editing, but it felt off. The music was fine for the most part, with the exception of his take on the MI theme which was great. There was no other musical standouts, but the score did gel the film together and gave it a very spy, covert sound.
So In Ending,
This Film is hella 90's, It's hella De Palma, It's hella cheesy, and confusing, and at most times boring. Cruise is at his Cruise'est, being awkward as fuck, smiley, and just too cool for school. BUT! there are two set pieces almost worth the admission, They truly hint at what this series will become. I'd recommend a watch if your a big fan of the M:I series, if not just catch the set pieces on YouTube.