Classic Television Thursday #39 – Mission: Impossible (1996)

mi1I really hadn’t planned on doing this, but after writing last week’s essay on the Mission: Impossible television series and noting that I hadn’t actually watched any of the new movies that were based on it, I decided to give at least the first one a go.

Actually, this one’s pretty easy to summarize: take the basic plot from Three Days of the Condor but remove all of the attendant complexity of that movie because of course today;s blockbuster-seeking audience doesn’t want to have to follow anything too complicated, throw in an abbreviated and much less tension filled riff on the silent heist scene from Rififi, give it a James Bond -esque cold opening, then throw it all under a nostalgic Mission: Impossible mask (which does carry through the opening format of play the theme complete with scenes from later in the movie, then the assignment tape – appropriately for the times, a video tape which also integrates the dossier scene, then the apartment briefing scene), finish it off with an actually pretty well done action set piece climax, and there you have it.

mi2Of course, it’s fairly easy for the film makers to “homage” those earlier movies, since today’s audiences will likely have never seen either of them, and I’m sure that was true of audiences in 1996 as well. (My ghad can it actually be almost 20 years since this movie first came out?)

None of which is to say that Mission: Impossible is a bad movie. It’s actually fairly entertaining in that typical summer blockbuster fashion. Plus, I do have to give it credit for at least not completely disrespecting its television predecessor, a move that unfortunately is quite typical with this kind of movie today.This is one TV-to-movie adaptation that works pretty well.

So yeah, I’d say say if you’re a fan of the original series, go ahead and give this one a look. It may not be completely original, but it delivers on its promises and works pretty well for what it is.


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