It’s crazy to think that it’s already been 20 years since Ethan Hunt got pinned as the mole responsible for the murder of his IMF team in his first seemingly “impossible” operation. Now, 20 years and four movies later, we are being graced with the installation of the fifth addition to the franchise Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, and I think the best way to celebrate is to watch each of the past installments and tell all of you, my dear readers, what I thought. So here it is, my opinion of the Mission: Impossible franchise:
#5: “Mission: Impossible 2″ (2000)
By far the worst addition to the franchise, Mission: Impossible 2 is a dreary experience, and not due a dark tone or anything, but due to the severe dullness and complete lack of effort that went into the production. In the first few minutes I can remember myself saying, “I don’t think I like this.” The editing is choppy and awkward and the direction from John Woo is dreadful to say the least. It took all of the excitement and intriguing political undertones of the first film and threw them out in order to replace them with dumb, mindless action sequences filled with agonizing slow-mo, relentless explosions, poor performances, and extremely annoying dialogue filled with terrible jokes and bland one-liners. They even made Tom Cruise into an annoyance! How on God’s green Earth does that happen?
1 out of 5
#4: “Mission: Impossible” (1996)
The first mission in the franchise is next and it’s not because it’s a stinker like the second installment. Mission: Impossible may not be quite the best installment, but it is definitely the most iconic. Whenever I think of secret agents in movies, my mind always goes to Ethan Hunt dangling from that vent in one of the most edge-of-your-seat scenes of the franchise. Brain DePalma’s film is a singular entity. It’s a vast puzzle of post-Cold War political intrigue, so vast, in fact, that it is almost impossible to follow without further research into the plot. The convoluted plot does take away a bit from the full experience, but, don’t worry, there is the option of turning your brain off and still enjoying it because the plot hardly matters. It’s a fun and engaging action film that pulls you in with cool stunts and action sequences and an electrifying performance from Cruise. You won’t believe when it’s over it went by so quick.
3 out of 5
#3: “Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation” (2015)
The newest installment to the franchise, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation is the reason this list exists in the first place. Based on critical reception, I had high hopes for this adventure, but it didn’t quite manage to reach them. It is no doubt an exhilarating high stakes action set piece, but it is just that and nothing more. There are plenty of exciting stunts (such as the one shown above where Hunt hangs from a departing cargo plane) and riveting action scenes with a decent joke thrown in here and there, but it never quite manages to reach the heights of Ghost Protocol or even the third installment. It’s script is one of the lesser of the five and it’s plot is equally as tedious, but Rogue Nation is also the most solely fun of the franchise, so it hardly matters. Don’t worry, you’ll have a good time.
3 out of 5
#2: “Mission: Impossible III”
The most emotionally engaging of the franchise, Mission: Impossible III shows how a sequel should be made. It takes what failed from the second installment and fixes it and it also takes what needed improvement from the first one and improves upon it. The characters are further developed, the plot is easier to follow, the action is riveting, the acting is pitch-perfect, the script is strong, and the direction is impeccable. The aspect I loved most about this sequel was that it gave the actors the perfect opportunity to, well, act. While the first one was an intriguing political rollercoaster and the second was a cliched, relentless action set piece, this third addition is a character study of the man that is Ethan Hunt and what he will do when his professional and personal life get mixed with brutal repercussions. It’s also the grittiest of the series, giving it a welcome shot of realism thanks in most part to JJ Abrams riveting direction.
4 out of 5
#1: “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol”
The very best Mission: Impossible is also the fourth one, and that is Ghost Protocol. While it does lack the dramatic heft that made the third installment so memorable, it makes up for it with stellar performances, the best direction of the series, a truly funny, insightful script, and some of the greatest action scenes ever put on celluloid. The best of those said action scenes is the one shown in the image above where Hunt must scale the Burj Khalifa Tower, the tallest building on Earth. being a person particularly scared of heights, I must say that I was left gasping for air. Director Brad Bird, who was only known for animated films such as The Iron Giant, Ratatouille, and The Incredibles, breathes new air into the franchise and shows that he was made for live-action filmmaking in the process.
4 out of 5
So, as you can see, it is safe to say that I am a fan of the franchise. They are all pretty, pardon my french, “kick-ass” (excluding the second one), and I can easily say that I would give each of them high marks in each of their own rights (again, besides the second one). The rest of the critics out there also have a say so lets take a quick look at what they think of the franchise.
#5: “Mission: Impossible 2”
#4: “Mission: Impossible”
#3: “Mission: Impossible 3″
#2: “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol”
#1: “Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation”
The newest and fifth installment of the franchise, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation comes out this weekend (July 31) and I hope you’ll all go out and give it a watch. It is currently getting rave reviews with a 93% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, a 75/100 on Metacritic showing generally favorable reviews, and an 8.0/10 on IMDb, the best of the franchise for Metacritic and IMDb.