Welcome to William Schoell's GREAT OLD MOVIES blog. Feel free to leave a comment regardless of the date the review was posted -- I read 'em all. Or if you prefer -- and especially if you have any questions directly for me -- email me at tawses67424@mypacks.net and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Click on a label link (labels can be found at the bottom of each post) to find other movies from that year, the star, that director or genre and so on. Or enter a title, director, genre, star or supporting player in the small Blogger "search blog" box at the far left up above and click search blog. [NOTE: While this blog mostly reviews films -- and TV shows -- that are at least twenty-five years old, we do cover films up until the present day.] HAVE FUN AND THANKS FOR DROPPING BY. William.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Ethan Hunt (Cruise) faces down "Max" (Redgrave)

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1996). Director: Brian De Palma.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is on a special "impossible" mission for the IMF [Impossible Missions Force] in Prague when everything goes south and his teammates are slaughtered all around him.  He is told by Kittridge (Henry Czerny, who plays Conrad Grayson on TV's Revenge) that the whole operation was merely a ruse to flush out a mole in the organization. Since Ethan appears to be the only one of the group who's still alive, he becomes the chief suspect and goes on the run. Trying to track down whoever murdered his comrades, he enters into a phony alliance with an arms dealer known only as "Max" (Vanessa Redgrave) and in the film's most suspenseful sequence must steal a list of important names from a nearly impregnable vault while hanging just inches from the ceiling; there is also a thrilling climax involving a helicopter and a high-speed train. While purists may quibble over the identity of the mastermind behind the dire plot, Mission: Impossible is an excellent update of and tribute to the very popular and long-running TV show, equally absurd at times but always fun. Cruise is well suited to this kind of material and does it well, while Jon Voight is fine as IMF head Jim Phelps. Jean Reno, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ving Rhames, and Emmanuelle Beart also have important roles. For some reason Emilio Estevez is uncredited as Jack, an early casualty of the IMF in Prague, although his performance is solid. Vanessa Redgrave is just splendid in her unusual turn as Max. The movie wisely uses Lalo Schifrin's theme music from the television program. Followed by three sequels.

Verdict: One of the classier television adaptations to hit theaters. ***1/2.

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