Before watching the movie:
Add this to the list of “how did I let this wait 14 years?” This movie is action, suspense, and big-name stars. It draws upon a hit TV show with an iconic theme. It is the Hollywood spy movie.
I have to admit I’ve never seen an episode of the series, so I can’t appraise it on that level.
Also, back then, nobody ever thought Tom Cruise would go publicly insane.
After watching the movie:
Ethan Hunt’s covert operations team all die on a mission that goes horribly wrong. Control informs him that the mission was designed to flush out a mole, and as Ethan was the only survivor, he must be it. In order to prove his innocence, Hunt has to find the real mole, but first, working with some influential criminals, he has to collect some very valuable bait.
Okay, “all-star” was a little bit of an exaggeration. Two leads are unknowns, and I don’t know how well recognized Jean Reno was at the time. He’s still not exactly a big name, I guess. John Voight is the biggest name after Tom Cruise, but he spends most of the picture dead.
The effects had a pretty light touch to them. There are only a few scenes that had any special element involved. The action was carried almost entirely by fists, guns, and explosions, the old fashioned way. And the action doesn’t disappoint.
What does disappoint is the music, though slightly. During the climax, I realized I hadn’t noticed the title theme since some time close to the beginning. Still, I’ve been more disappointed by the absence of the main theme in other movies (Star Trek and Rocky and Bullwinkle come to mind), so I’m not going to give it a pass over that.
Altogether, this movie is an exciting, fun experience that showcases the best of the American spy genre.
Watch this film: for the excitement of the chase.
Don’t watch this film: with espionage criminals. They might get ideas.
I would add: Don’t watch this movie if you loved the series. Unless you can divorce your memories of the series from the name. In far too many ways. this is an in-name-only version. The movie is meant to showcase Tom Cruise; the series was so very much an ensemble show.