Mission: Impossible films shouldn’t be this good.
The series felt like it started off as a ‘90s vanity project for Tom Cruise, unforgivably doing away with the IMF team of the TV series in the film’s first act. But it was directed by a very-much-still-in-the-game Brian De Palma, and the supporting cast – Jon Voight, Emanuelle Béart, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Kristin Scott Thomas and Vanessa Redgrave – elevated the film to being far more than just another Tom Cruise flick.
Then the second one came along in 2000 – arguably the only duffer of the series. Again, it was a superstar director – John Woo – behind the camera. Despite the misstep in tone, it’s a good thing they pushed on. The third film in 2006 – directed by J.J. Abrams – put the series back on course, before the peak of the franchise came with Brad Bird’s Ghost Protocol in 2011. Christopher McQuarrie’s Rogue Nation arrived in 2015, before the same director helmed Fallout last year.
Six films, five directors – De Palma, Woo, Abrams, Bird, McQuarrie (only McQuarrie has directed two). Six films, five composers – Elfman, Zimmer, Giacchino, Joe Kraemer and Lorne Balfe (only Giacchino scored two). It would be easy to put the strength of the sequels down to the ever-changing writers and directors, working together to keep the franchise fresh and ever-changing, but lots of long-running film series have a revolving door of writers and directors.
The answer has to be in the Cruiser’s role as producer – the only constant throughout the whole run. It’s a testament to Cruise and his production team that they’ve managed to maintain such a high standard, given the usual decline in quality of Hollywood sequels.
Fallout was probably my favourite action film of 2018. The bathroom brawl sequence was undoubtedly my favourite action scene of the year – just an unbelievably brutal scene, and all credit must go the stuntmen and choreographers who brought it to life.
As a lifelong Bond fan, I’m always well-attuned to the occasional franchise coming along and overshadowing 007. We had it with the Bourne films, and it’s now happening with the Mission: Impossible films. ‘Bond is finished,’ people will say on social media, completely oblivious to the fact that the Bond films are now as strong as they ever were in terms of appeal and Box Office. It’s a simple solution: the cinemas can accommodate both. The Mission: Impossible films are not better or worse than the Bonds, they’re just different. May they continue for a long time.
Hit: Mission: Accomplished
Hidden Gem: The Exchange