When it’s over, in most films that spawn sequels, it’s usually the first film that resonates best in viewer’s memories, however, this was not the case for me in this first film in the Mission Impossible series based on the 60’s TV show. Tom Cruise is Ethan Hunt, an American agent who is falsely accused when his team is murdered during a high stakes mission. The film had some memorable stunts. In fact, the stunts and the action are the film’s best assets. Having Hunt suspended in mid-air during a heist at the CIA headquarters served up one of the most iconic scenes in a spy thriller to date. Also, the final train sequence had the look and feel of being on a train, offering the realism of speed and danger. If you take away these fillers, there’s not much left in story. Also, there was no real edge to the characters, except for Hunt and Luther (Ving Rhames). Cruise was perfect as Hunt. He captured the charm, wit, and heroism of a secret agent who had nothing to lose and all to lose. Rhames was a strong presence, lending humor and brawn to his techie character, which carried over to two sequels. I thought Jon Voight was mis-casted as Jim Phelps, Hunt’s mentor and boss, and his mediocre performance solidified that belief. In addition, a strong female lead was hugely lacking, immediately withholding the possible conflicts the plot desperately needed. Bottom line, the action made the film watchable, but the poor storyline made the film forgettable.
My rating: 3 out of 5
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