Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Flick Pick: Mission: Impossible

Mission: Impossible
(Paramount, 1996)

This film defied the odds and broke all the rules. They took a campy 1960s TV show; not always a great idea. Then they killed off most of the cast in the opening act. And they made the hero of the TV series the traitorous goat of the movie. Pack these into a vanity exercise for an actor with a tremendous ego, a project getting handed around among several big-name directors like a hot potato, and a budget packed with location shooting and rather expensive and complicated stunt/action extravaganzas, and you have a recipe for a potentially legendary box-office disaster. Forgive me, but rather like a mission:impossible.
Except despite all this, Tom Cruise delivered on every penny of his contract fee and then some, pitched stunts that authorities turned down at first, and got them to say yes with nothing but his charm and some backroom arm-twisting. The B-cast team assembled after the A-cast team was wiped out in a crucial plot point gelled fabulously. The locations, action, and stunts were superb. And despite a convoluted labyrinth of plot twists, both director Brian DePalma and leading man Cruise helped the movie find its way to the M:I mystique, plugging into it completely. They also brought the film in on time, under budget, and quintupled the production budget in box office gross, which never hurts credibility with the studio bankrolling such a project.

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