Mission: Impossible is a Thriller Impossible, with one action scene after the other, each of them impossible. Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, the agent of the IMF, who is sent on impossible missions in exotic places. This movie starts in a Russian prison, moves around Moscow some, makes its way to Dubai, for no discernible plot reason other than the presence of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, which plays a special effects part in the story, until finally moving on to Mumbai, India. As expected in Mission: Impossible movies, Ethan has to save the world. This time, a loosely connected terrorist group launches a nuclear missile in an attempt to instigate all-out nuclear war. Ethan must foil the plot.
The movie is a string of special effects of large things exploding, Ethan falling off buildings, onto trucks and cars, bouncing off objects onto sidewalks. Each fall would be fatal in the real world, but these characters are made of rubber so they just bounce right on. There is also a lot of hand to hand combat. All the protagonists are expert martial arts fighters. When they hit each other, loud noises echo in the theater. I saw this in IMAX, no less, so the noises when they hit were so loud, they vibrated in my diaphragm and I could feel the punches.
There are also many impossible situations. For instance, the terrorists launch the fatal missile from a computer room. After the bird is in the air and on its way, they tear down the computers, ripping cables out of drives and patch panels, sparks fly, the power goes off. The good guys get there just a few minutes too late, just after the bad guys leave, and now one of them gets tasked to “rewire the machine” and get it back up and running within the 30 minutes it takes the missile to reach its destination – they need the computers to deactivate the warhead. Of course, it would take weeks to bring up a computer system that was ripped apart physically, if it could be done at all, but in Mission: Impossible, we don’t expect such petty delays.
I also get a kick out of where all the gear comes from. When they find themselves in the Burj Khalifa and realize Ethan must climb up the outside vertical glass wall over 130 stories up, they magically have glass suction gloves designed to just do the job and turn Ethan into spiderman. The gear just seems to materialize when it’s needed, whether that’s a magnetic suit, suction gloves, a private jet, a high-tech railcar, or a Moscow telephone booth that uses iris scanners and then self-destructs after it delivers a message.
Of course, I am criticizing the basic premise of Mission: Impossible, where impossible things can happen. For more than two hours, one impossible thing after another happens every 30 seconds or so, and it forces me to turn off the analytical part of my brain, the scientific part of my brain, the martial artist part of my brain, and the plotweaving part of my brain – and only leave the “enjoy the special effects” part of my brain on and on high alert.
Mission: Impossible is an impossible ride that can be enjoyable if you’re out for nothing but the ride, sort of like a bad-ass roller coaster. Most viewers apparently can turn off all of those other parts of their brains, because Mission: Impossible is a highly rated movie, both by audiences and critics. I enjoyed the ride, like I would a roller coaster, but I generally look for more than explosions, loud sounds and rubber bouncy people in a movie.