Have you seen the Mission: Impossible – Fallout trailer? And watched that crazy featurette where Tom Cruise risks his life, over and over again, for our entertainment? If the answer is yes, you’re probably wondering, “Where can I get more high-octane Mission: Impossible action before Fallout hits theatres?” Well, did you know that there are FIVE other Mission: Impossible movies that you could watch right now?! Probably. But if you haven’t watched them in a while, they really are worth your time. The entire series is an absolute blast, and my favourite YouTuber, Patrick Willems, has a great rundown of how great they are:
Seriously, this franchise rules. But something that I hear more often than I’d expect is that “It only really gets good with the third one.” Now don’t get me wrong; I love M:I-3. But I think saying that that’s where the series gets good is ignoring one very important fact: the original Mission: Impossible is a fantastic movie. It’s a twisty, paranoid thriller directed with Brian De Palma’s trademark precision, and features one of the series’ most suspenseful setpieces. It’s not quite Rogue Nation good, but if pressed I’d probably have to say that it’s my second favourite of the franchise.
The movie begins with an elaborate sequence, showcasing the IMF team working together to complete one of their impossible missions. SPOILER ALERT – within about fifteen minutes the entire team is dead, save for Tom Cruise AKA Ethan Hunt. The scene works perfectly for two reasons: 1) as mentioned before, we get the pleasure of seeing a bunch of pros pull off a job in a really clever way. There are disguises, gadgets, and crazy 90s hacking devices, and De Palma is a master of showing us where everyone is in relation to everyone else. And then we get to 2) where everything goes to hell and everyone gets killed in fairly shocking ways (seriously, Emilio Estevez gets his face crushed by a freakin’ elevator). Suddenly everything goes from beautiful meticulousness to absolute chaos, and we see it all from the point of view of Cruise, who completely sells the horror of what he’s witnessing.
From here we get some really fun man-on-the-run stuff, before Ethan is able to scrape together a new team (it’s Ving Rhames and Leon the Professional!) and try to clear his name. We get the famous sequence where Cruise is lowered into a room, where literally anything will trigger an alarm – body heat, sound, and, of course, touching the floor. There’s an amazing reveal of who the bad guy is that almost has to be seen twice to fully comprehend. The finale takes place in, and on, a speeding train, and, though it isn’t the stunt show the series would evolve into, it’s still an absolutely incredible action scene. Danny Elfman’s score is wonderful – every subsequent film in the series would be indebted to it – and the editing by Paul Hirsch (of Star Wars fame) is top notch.
I would of course recommend watching all the Mission: Impossible movies before Fallout (well, maybe you could skip M:I-2) but if you don’t have the time for that, I would seriously consider giving this one a try, especially if you haven’t seen it. It’s a far cry from the smorgasbord of delights the series would become, but there’s a heck of a lot to love.