Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson
Have I Seen it Before: Oddly enough, I think this is one film in the series that I somehow missed in the theater, thus I’m remembering it the least upon this screening.
Did I Like It: Yeah…
On that note, I’ve come to some conclusions about the Mission: Impossible series as a whole. Like the television series that begat it, the movies suffer ever so slightly when watched in succession. The format is relatively unchanging, especially after the series fell under the auspices of J.J. Abrams and his company, Bad Robot effective with Mission: Impossible III (2006). There is little variation in these films. Sure, the ubiquitous “your mission, should you choose to accept it” scene in this film harkens back to its televised analog roots, before pulling the rug out from under us and enveloping super spy Ethan Hunt (Cruise) into a web of villainy before the first reel is over. That’s refreshing and does its level headed best to renew interest in this new story.
From there, however, that twist doesn’t hold up. It gives way to yet another survey of internal difficulties in the CIA that Hunt will nullify with his brazenness. What’s more, the proceedings have continued to grow a little pat in other ways. There are masks. Tom Cruise dangles from improbable heights. Ving Rhames shows up. There’s a throwaway reference to the first film that floats in the air for an instant before evaporating just as quickly as it arrived. Incidentally, those scant references are usually my favorite part of one of these movies, Cruise conscientiously defying the forces of gravity be damned.
All of that isn’t even meant as a criticism of this film or the series as a whole, really. This film, too, is a pleasant way to spend two hours. It may be better to do so every couple of years and then not think too much about it afterwards.
At the time of this writing, McQuarrie is hard at work on the seventh and eighth film in the series, his third and fourth. This series once was a showcase for great (or in some cases, potentially great) directors to play around in a tried and true genre. Now that McQuarrie is here to stay, let’s hope he gets bored and decides to throw us a few more curveballs in the process.