I was convinced to watch the first Mission Impossible movie by a couple of things lately. The newest entry in the franchise is about to come out, which means there’s general discussion about the six film series right now, but I was specifically pushed by a member of the Geek to Geek podcast community who praised them as solid, fun action films, and by the History of Fun podcast, which described them as heist movies. I love a good action movie, but I especially love a heist, so I decided to dive back in from the beginning.
Unfortunately, just getting started was more difficult than I expected, because apparently these movies aren’t available on any subscription based streaming service. I knew I had at least the first three on DVD, though, so I dug through some boxes and found out that I actually have the first three movies twice… once on American DVDs, released individually, and once in a three film, 5 DVD, special edition box set from Canada becuase… why not?
Anyway, I watched the first movie in a series of half hour-ish segments over the past two days (which is how I watch most movies these days, and I gotta say.. it was really fun! I have pretty vivid memories of watching *a* Mission Impossible movie when I was younger, but I actually think it must have been 2 or 3, because almost nothing in this movie was familiar to me! Sure, I know the scene where Ethan Hunt has to drop down to the computer terminal on cables, but nothing else really felt familiar. I know I played the N64 game at least a bit when it came out, so I think the passing familiarity I had mostly came from that.
It really did interest me to think of the movie from the heist perspective. The opening act of the movie is based around Ethan’s team getting wiped out on a mission to photograph a generic bad guy stealing a generic mcguffin, so it’s almost an anti-heist. The way the film portrays it, though, with a briefing at the beginning where the plan is laid out, a team needing to coordinate and synchronize their efforts, and something inevitably going not quite to plan in the heat of the action, is 100% heist.
Act 2 features the wire drop scene, as Ethan’s new team breaks in to a secure building to secure a secure piece of information by bypassing security. It’s a heist.
Act 3 is set up as the hand-off, where Ethan is going to maybe betray his country and fellow agents, except for the plan he makes with his one remaining loyal teammate to stop the data from getting out, which almost goes wrong when an unexpected twist complicates things right in the middle of the action, but then it works itself out. HEIST!
All in all, you probably don’t need me to tell you whether this movie is worth seeing or not, because it’s over two decades old, but you know what? I’m going to do it anyway! This movie is totally worth seeing, both as a fun, funny action flick, and as a solid heist movie as well. I’m definitely going to keep watching the series, and might even go back to the old TV show, too, if it does heists the way the first movie does!