Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Your mission: Matchmaker
When it comes to the Mission: Impossible franchise, the third movie and after, even though I love them, doesn’t quite feel like the Mission: Impossible I grew up with. The first film came out in 1996 and the second was released in 2000, which as you probably know – have similar filming styles back then. That filming style is a little corny, but feels just…right. Not too flashy, not too aged. Those first two will remain in my memory for a long time – and memorability is a factor in how I review. When I think of Mission: Impossible, I mostly think of Mission: Impossible II, which came out when I was 12 – the start of when I wanted to be a spy. That’s right, this movie is super nostalgic for me, but how is it for the rest of you?
Mission: Impossible II centers around a genetically modified virus called Chimera that basically gives you a day before it affects you and cannot be reversed. This thing, if unleashed on humanity – would be bad. When Ethan learns that another IMF agent stole the virus to sell on the black market, he enlists the help of a common citizen, the other IMF agent’s ex-girlfriend – to go undercover and retrieve the virus back.
So there are good things and bad things. The main bad thing I saw with this movie was how much focus Tom Cruise wasn’t given. It was more a movie centered on Thandie Newton’s character than anything else, but that’s not bad and I’ll tell you why. It’s not bad because it’s still clearly a spy movie. Mission: Impossible III had a romantic element as well, but it could have gotten away with claiming it wasn’t at the same time. It was way too emotionally-driven, while this one was emotionally driven as well – it had enough really cool spy stuff at the same time.
I guess another negative aspect to this film was in way too many uses of the spy mask. Too many uses of a spy mask like that is unnecessary and makes you wonder why they don’t just wear one at all times if it makes things that much simpler? At some point in this film, you’re bound to ask when enough is enough, because it becomes a bit of a gag – something a parody film could have made fun of. It’s a cool concept, even cooler in the third, but keep it simple, stupid. For the most part, that’s just a pet peeve of mine.
The rest of the movie I like. I like the virus plot, the chemistry between Thandie and Tom, the fight choreography, the motorcycle chases, and most importantly, the “impossible mission”. This is the bare minimum requirement in a Mission: Impossible film for obvious reasons, and something the third lacked. The impossible mission wasn’t so much Ethan’s, but Thandie Newton’s character’s mission. She’s a civilian that has to act normal in arms reach of an old IMF agent who has possession of a destructive virus…and there’s not a lot Ethan can do to help. You just know something bad is about to happen – and that’s how you know this is an impossible mission.
This is a spy movie at heart, and a good one at that. It has just enough spy action and character development to feel just right. The mission itself does indeed feel impossible, which is a big positive. Plus, that soundtrack is probably my favorite out of the series.
I wish the film centered a little more on Ethan’s character than it did, and I wish they didn’t rely so much on the spy mask – because it quickly started to feel like a cop-out, but other than that, I am satisfied with this flick.