09 November 2012

Mission: Impossible (Brian DePalma, 1996, USA)

It's strange that I'd never seen this film before, or maybe not, since I've rarely ever liked Tom Cruise (possible exceptions being largely films he starred in from 1999-2002, and possibly Collateral). On the face of it, it seemed relatively promising. Brian DePalma, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Béart, Vanessa Redgrave. Add to that that I saw John Woo's M:I-2 in a second run theater because its coincided with the time I was assigned to write a paper on John Woo and auteur theory during my brief stint as an intended film studies major. I haven't seen M:I-2 in a dozen years, but I can only hope it's nowhere near as dated and unsatisfying as this one. It's funny, I think I've been wanting to see this movie since about 2001 when my French teacher, in one of those oddly random foreign language class moments, showed us part of the sequence on the train, to demonstrate, apparently, that the TGV (train de grande vitesse) was in fact de grande vitesse.
I kind of feel like the most remarkable thing about this movie are the talents it squanders. It's amazing that Brian DePalma produced such a dull film. As tedious as any lesser James Bond movie, it seems to follow the same blueprint, which naturally includes offing the most interesting woman in the first fifteen minutes. Kristin Scott Thomas is riveting in her scenes, but so are Emmanuelle Béart and Vanessa Redgrave. Weirdly, Emilio Estevez is also quite effective in his small part. Jon Voigt and Tom Cruise on the other hand are beyond tedious. Not that it would have mattered if that plot had made sense at all. It's this weird combination of setpieces connected only by the most strained bit of logic. Ving Rames and Jean Reno are brought on halfway through the movie to steal some data from CIA headquarters in a dull, drawn out "action" sequence notable only as a potential missing link between the 70s and the 21st century. Ving Rames is completely wasted in a flat characterization, but Jean Reno is relatively effective given the limitations of the script.
blah blah blah
There was a nice moment at the end where Mazzy Starr is playing at a cafe.

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