DIRECTOR: J.J. Abrams
May Contain Spoilers!
The Mission: Impossible franchise has been utterly inconsistent in all but a few ways. The first is that Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is the star throughout and some of his sidekicks run though, notably Ving Rhames but besides that, nothing. Beginning with Brian De Palma’s intelligent thriller back in 1996, it changed tack as John Woo took over for the 2000 sequel. It then took a further six years for J.J. Abrams to direct this, before he would reboot Star Trek in 2009, but don’t forget that Star Trek was delayed from its initial 2008 release date, meaning that he came straight of the back of one 1960’s TV show reboot to another.
He had made his name with TV spy show, Alias and the mind bending Lost, but with Alias under his belt, he did seem to be qualified to tackle a big screen adaptation a 60’s TV series, before he would tackle another such show. But wait a minute, it had already been adapted, twice before so what we needed for Abrams was a sequel. Well, here I will give him his due and his comprises of trying to do both would pay off.
The plot is good, with a heavy tone to some of the outlandish action and some bold choices. The set piece sequence was Hunt swinging from one sky scraper to another, entering the building and stealing the maguffin in order to save his fiancée (Michelle Monaghan). But Abrams only shows us half the heist, as we see him perform his daring stunt and enter the building. What we don’t see is what happens inside but we do know that it goes wrong, forcing him to jump!
The fact that he chose not to show us everything and allow our imaginations to run with it, was a good decision. It shows a real sense of creativity and film making. He steers away from showing us EVERY cheap thrill and tries to make the action work well and for the most part it does, though it does generally lack some flair.
To me, De Palma’s Mission: Impossible (1996) is the best, but this is a close second. If Abrams had chosen to show the same respect for the genre with Star Trek (2009) as he does here, I would have been a very happy man. I do feel that the pacing is a little off, the action is lacking something but the plotting is solid and in keeping with the genre and even though it has it’s faults it’s not a bad film by any stretch.
Certainly better than M:I 2 (2000), that’s for sure.