This mission is (looks at camera) … impossible

I watched this movie yesterday:

And man, it was good.

It’s been like two decades since I’ve seen this movie so I actually remembered very little. When I first watched it I also don’t think I really followed what was happening. I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how good a movie it is.

Mission: Impossible is a great movie. Seriously. It’s quite good. It has action on the scale of a summer blockbuster, but it quite legitimately a good suspense thriller. It also has twists upon twists beyond any parody of M. Night Shyamalan could hope to do.

What fascinated me too, having only really seen Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, is that Ethan Hunt is a very different character in this first movie. He’s much less a super hero, for example. Ethan hunt never gets into kung-fu fights. He spends most of the movie either sneaking around, or talking his way out of problems. It makes him both more vulnerable and, oddly enough, far more heroic.

This movie has so many great scenes too. Take the Restaurant Scene with Kittridge. The Dutch Angle filming is just enough to give everything a weird vibe, and you start to understand that Ethan Hunt is awesome at what he does.

Then there’s the Hanging From the Ceiling scene, where any sound or pressure can result in catastrophe. It’s fantastically well done.

But one scene that I had forgotten about completely was the Magic Scene, where Ethan uses magic tricks to get out of an awkward situation. It’s amazing, simple, and Ethan is just like the best spy ever.

There are also great little details, like when Ethan hook a helicopter to a train and then screams wordlessly at someone. It’s such a simple and effective way, in my mind, for Ethan to say, “I’m going out of my way to screw this one particular guy and I want him to know.”

Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher is one of my favorite action movies, but I have to say that Ethan Hunt is everything Jack Reacher thinks he is. Jack Reacher, in a way, is the antithesis of Ethan Hunt. Jack drifts through his world without fear of consequences because he cannot be harmed, only slowed. Ethan has to deal with being sleepy and not knowing how to trust. Jack proclaims himself smart, Ethan actually shows himself to be. Jack preaches his weird pseudo-libertarianism, whereas Ethan quite literally just wants to survive through the week.

Not that you shouldn’t watch Jack Reacher, it’s excellent (and actually one of the better comedies I’ve seen), but I have to admit that Mission: Impossible is better. If you haven’t revisited, do it. It’s worth it.


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