Mission: Impossible

Critics Consensus

Full of special effects, Brian DePalma's update of Mission: Impossible has a lot of sweeping spectacle, but the plot is sometimes convoluted.



Total Count: 57


Audience Score

User Ratings: 867,094
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Movie Info

After he is framed for the death of several colleagues and falsely branded a traitor, a secret agent embarks on a daring scheme to clear his name in this spy adventure. Though it drew its name from the familiar television series, director Brian DePalma's big-budget adaptation shares little more with the original show than the occasional self-destructing message and the name of team leader Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). The film focuses not on Phelps but his protégé, Ethan Hunt (a reserved Tom Cruise), who becomes a fugitive after taking the blame for a botched operation. He responds by banding together with a group of fellow renegades, and he is soon maneuvering his way through a twisted series of double crosses that mainly serve as excuses for spectacular high-tech action sequences. Much of the activity revolves around a missing computer disk, with the film's most famous scene depicting Hunt's delicate efforts to retrieve the disk from a secure, well-alarmed room in CIA headquarters. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi


Tom Cruise
as Ethan Hunt
Jon Voight
as Jim Phelps
Henry Czerny
as Kittridge
Jean Reno
as Krieger
Dale Dye
as Frank Barnes
Marcel Iures
as Golitsyn
Karel Dobry
as Matthias
Emilio Estevez
as Electronics Expert
Valentina Yakunina
as Drunken Female IMF Agent
Marek Vasut
as Druken Male IMF Agent
Nathan Osgood
as Kittridge Technician
John McLaughlin
as TV Interviewer
Andrzej Borkowksi
as Kiev Room Agent
Rolf Saxon
as CIA Analyst William Donloe
Andreas Wisniewski
as Max's Companion
David Shaeffer
as Dipolmat Rand Housman
Rudolf Pechan
as Mayor Brandl
Gaston Subert
as Jaroslav Reid
Ricco Ross
as Denied Area Security Guard
Mark Houghton
as Denied Area Security Guard
Bob Friend
as Sky News Man
Annabel Mullion
as Flight Attendant
Garrick Hagon
as CNN Reporter
Jirina Trebicka
as Cleaning Woman
Andrzei Borkowski
as Kiev Room Agent
Maya Dokic
as Kiev Room Agent
Sam Douglas
as Kiev Room Agent
Olegar Fedoro
as Kiev Room Agent
Carmela Marner
as Kiev Room Agent
Mimi Potworowska
as Kiev Room Agent
David Schneider
as Train Engineer
Susan Doucette
as CIA Agent
Helen Lindsay
as Female Executive in Train
Pat Starr
as CIA Agent
Richard D. Sharp
as CIA Lobby Guard
Randall Paul
as CIA Escort Guard
Graydon Gould
as Public Official
Tony Vogel
as M15 Agent
Michael Rogers
as Large Man
Laura Brook
as Margaret Hunt
Morgan Deare
as Donald Hunt
David Phelan
as Steward on Train
Richard Sharp
as CIA Lobby Guard
Melissa Knatchbull
as Air Stewdardess
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News & Interviews for Mission: Impossible

Critic Reviews for Mission: Impossible

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (21)

  • The "set" pieces of this film come off like clockwork, but there's no connective tissue -- no story line, no solid characterization, etc. In the end, De Palma's work seems full of sound and visual fury without signifying much of anything.

    Jan 5, 2018 | Full Review…

    Carol Buckland

    Top Critic
  • The most dour, sexless piece of escapism in memory.

    May 20, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Despite the snags, De Palma remains a virtuoso puppet-master, pulling the strings taut in a nail-biting robbery sequence, switching from micro to macro with Hitchcockian panache, and finally letting rip with a hell-for-leather climax.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Humorless, charmless and flat.

    Jan 18, 2002 | Full Review…
  • There are just a few groovy special effects and a practically incomprehensible story which we finally can't work up enough energy to care about.

    Jan 1, 2000
  • It's the worst kind of convoluted thriller -- it can never unravel satisfactorily because there's nothing simple at its center, just more confusion.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mission: Impossible

  • Aug 15, 2016
    While the sequences that Mission: Impossible is most famous for (the ceiling-descent and train-top) are truly thrilling, absolutely everything in between these scenes is obvious and uninspired. Rarely can a movie have you so completely engaged one minute, and then immediately back to checking the time the next. An important film, pop-culturally speaking, but not a very good one.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 27, 2015
    An overly twisty spy game that tries keeping the style of the TV series while spinning off in its own direction, this mission boasts some exciting set pieces but commits an unforgivable cardinal sin. Three whip-smart screenwriters take part (David Koepp, Spider-Man; Steven Zallian, Schindler's List; Robert Towne, Chinatown), but the often unwieldy plot involving an elusive disc exposing a list of IMF (Impossible Mission Force) superspies proves a case of too many cooks - in this place, top chefs - spoiling the broth. As convoluted as the double-crossing ends up to be, the most head-scratching backstab proves to be in turning TV stalwart Jim Phelps into the villain (indeed, original Phelps actor Peter Graves wouldn't take part because of this infraction). In this PG-13-rated spy thriller, an American agent (Cruise), under false suspicion of disloyalty, must discover and expose the real spy without the help of his organization. Despite helming Hitchcockian mind-benders with an over-stated style (Blow Out), Brian De Palma seems to be a journeyman director-for-hire here, delivering some shots that seem quite unassured. Of the series, this chapter ranks as the most humdrum and unsexy. When a few outstanding sequences demand it, however, he sure frames some hell-raising fun. An inauspicious debut to an eventually A-Grade franchise, Mission: Impossible deserves a look for these key sequences and to see what later chapters got right. Bottom line: Jerry McGuffin
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 15, 2013
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 09, 2013
    Brian De Palma brings Mission: Impossible to the big screen in an explosive and action-packed adventure. Branded a trader when his team is killed during an intelligence operation, IMF agent Ethan Hunt goes rogue in order to clear his name. The plot's rather good, and does a fair job at building suspense and intrigue. Starring Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Beart, and Ving Rhames, the casting's pretty solid. And, the action sequences are shot especially well, adding a lot of energy and intensity to the film. Danny Elfman's score is also excellently done. Incredibly entertaining, Mission: Impossible is a fun and thrilling action film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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