Mission: Impossible (film series)

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (PG)
D: Brian de Palma
Paramount (Tom Cruise & Paula Wagner)
US 1996
110 mins

Action/Thriller

W: David Koepp, Robert Towne & Steven Zaillian [based on the television series created by Bruce Geller]
DP: Stephen H. Burum
Ed: Paul Hirsch
Mus: Danny Elfman
PD: Norman Reynolds

Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Jon Voight (Jim Phelps), Emmanuelle Beart (Claire Phelps), Henry Czerny (Eugene Kittridge), Jean Reno (Franz Krieger), Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell)

A government spy of the IMF department, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) witnesses the deaths of his team during a failed mission and attempts to find out who double-crossed them and discovers it may be one of his superiors.
This big screen update of the hugely popular TV series probably didn't endear itself to the fans when all the original characters were killed off almost immediately into proceedings, but there's a good deal of technical gadgetry, devious disguises and action set pieces to entertain throughout the running time in place of the over-convoluted story.
The sequels which followed were a huge improvement, getting increasingly better as the series continued.
5/10

Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible
Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 (15)

D: John Woo

Paramount (Tom Cruise & Paula Wagner)

US 2000

123 mins


Action/Adventure/Thriller


W: Robert Towne, Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga [based on the television series created by Bruce Geller]

DP: Jeffrey L. Kimball

Ed: Christian Wagner & Steven Kemper

Mus: Hans Zimmer



Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Dougray Scott (Sean Ambrose), Thandie Newton (Nyah Nordoff-Hall), Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell), Brendan Gleeson (John C. McCloy), Richard Roxburgh (Hugh Stamp), Anthony Hopkins (Swanbeck)


Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt for this action sequel, which is far more in the vein of a James Bond adventure than the roots of the television show or the preceding big screen outing.

The plot begins in an outlandish manner and becomes more-and-more far-fetched, but it's easy to go with if you don't think about it too much. Hunt and his team are given the mission of locating a deadly virus, stolen by a criminal mastermind who plans to make a vast fortune by owning large stakes in the pharmaceutical company who created the antidote.

The action scenes are incredibly well staged, and Cruise deserves admiration for undertaking many of the stunts himself, and for this alone, the film is very entertaining. Some of the performances are quite wooden, the lead villain is quite one-dimensional and the face mask disguises push the suspension of disbelief a little too far, but this is far more enjoyable than the 1996 film, even if you do have to remove your brain before watching and ignore many of the plot holes (most of which were caused by studio interference, who ordered director John Woo to pare down the original cut of 180+ minutes).

Criticism aside, the worldwide audience spoke volumes, making this one of the most successful movies of 2000.  

6/10


Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 2
Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 2

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III (15)

D: J.J. Abrams

Paramount (Tom Cruise & Paula Wagner)

US 2006

125 mins


Action/Adventure/Thriller


W: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci & J.J. Abrams [based on the television series created by Bruce Geller]

DP: Dan Mindel

Ed: Mary Jo Markey & Maryann Brandon

Mus: Michael Giacchino



Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Owen Davian), Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell), Billy Crudup (John Musgrave), Laurence Fishburne (Theodore Brassell), Michelle Monaghan (Julia Meade), Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Declan Gormley), Maggie Q (Zhen Lei)


Though this action franchise is heading more in the direction of James Bond than the original television series, this third instalment is arguably the pick of the first three movies.

Now retired as an agent to get married, Ethan Hunt still trains recruits for the field, and is approached to find one of his trainees who has been captured by the henchmen of a sadistic black market arms dealer, Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

When the original mission goes wrong due to sabotage by a double agent, Hunt is blackmailed into stealing a deadly weapon which Davian plans to sell to America's enemies so he can profit from the ensuing war.

The stunt work, special effects and action scenes in this action thriller are worth watching the film alone, and there are enough twists and turns to keep the mind engaged, making this a lot more than mindless explosions and shoot-em-up set pieces.

6/10


Tom Cruise & Michelle Monaghan in Mission: Impossible III
Tom Cruise & Michelle Monaghan in Mission: Impossible III
No plan. No backup. No choice.
No plan. No backup. No choice.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL (12)

D: Brad Bird

Paramount/Skydance/Bad Robot (Tom Cruise, J.J. Abrams & Bryan Burk)

US 2011

133 mins


Action/Adventure/Thriller


W: Josh Appelbaum & Andre Nemec [based on the television series created by Bruce Geller]

DP: Robert Elswit

Ed: Paul Hirsch

Mus: Michael Giacchino


Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Jeremy Renner (William Brandt), Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn), Paula Patton (Jane Carter), Michael Nykvist (Kurt Hendricks), Lea Seydoux (Sabine Moreau)


Ethan Hunt and his IMF team return for this fifth mission, this time cut loose from the American government after the bombing of the Kremlin forces them into going rogue to prove their innocence.

Like previous instalments to the series, this owes more a debt of gratitude to the Bond movies than the original television series, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. 

The action scenes, technical gadgets, special effects and stunt work are all top notch, especially a breathtaking set piece in which Tom Cruise scrambles outside the windows of the Burj Khalifa tower.

Brad Bird, directing his first live action film, proves that he's just as good at directing action movies as he is at animated film. 

6/10


Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Desperate times. Desperate measures.
Desperate times. Desperate measures.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION (12)

D: Christopher McQuarrie

Paramount/Skydance/Bad Robot (Tom Cruise, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg & Don Granger)

US 2015

131 mins


Action/Adventure/Thriller


W: Christopher McQuarrie & Drew Pearce [based on the television series created by Bruce Geller]

DP: Robert Elswit

Ed: Eddie Hamilton

Mus: Joe Kraemer


Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn), Jeremy Renner (William Brandt), Rebecca Ferguson (Isla Faust), Alec Baldwin (Alan Hunley), Sean Harris (Solomon Lane), Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell)


Ethan Hunt and his IMF team are forced to go rogue again, this time to uncover the existence of The Syndicate, an organisation formed from various intelligence agencies around the world with the sole purpose of creating anarchy.

As with previous films, the special effects and stunt work are excellent & the action scenes are full of thrills and tension.

For me, the Mission: Impossible films just get better and better with each new film, and though they do lean more towards James Bond than the original TV series, this doesn't prevent them from being highly entertaining films and huge box office successes.

6/10


Tom Cruise & Rebecca Ferguson in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Tom Cruise & Rebecca Ferguson in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT(12)

D: Christopher McQuarrie

Paramount/Skydance/Bad Robot (Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, Jake Myers & J.J. Abrams)

US 2018

147 mins


Action/Adventure/Thriller


W: Christopher McQuarrie [based on the television series created by Bruce Geller]

DP: Rob Hardy

Ed: Eddie Hamilton

Mus: Lorne Balfe 



Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Henry Cavill (August Walker), Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell), Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn), Rebecca Ferguson (Isla Faust), Sean Harris (Solomon Lane), Angela Bassett (Erica Sloane), Alec Baldwin (Alan Hunley)


This sixth Mission: Impossible film sees Christopher McQuarrie return as director, with the rest of the cast (bar Jeremy Renner) reprising their roles from the preceding chapter.

Unlike other instalments to the series, Fallout references events from the other films and Solomon Lane returns as the chief villain and supreme leader of The Syndicate, a rogue organisation set on bringing about planet-wide anarchy, this time by using a plutonium bomb to commit mass genocide.

Ethan Hunt and his team accept the mission to prevent the terrorist attack, but are monitored by August Walker, a CIA assassin who causes problems for the IMF agents.

McQuarrie does an excellent job directing the action scenes, which feature a masterclass of stunt work from high speed car chases to airborne helicopter sequences and even a HALO (high altitude, low opening) skydiving scene which will surely have you on the edge of your seat.

Practical effects, stuntwork and fight scenes aside, this Mission: Impossible movie also has the best story, drawing on all things learned in previous instalments to be arguably the very best of the entire series.

Tom Cruise may not win an Oscar for his performance, but he does deserve praise for undertaking the stunt work himself, especially considering he suffered a broken foot performing a jump from a building.

If there is to be a seventh film, it will do very well to be better than this instalment.

7/10


Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Fallout