This edition of MMO Fallout Book Club looks at the 1996 movie Mission Impossible. Mission: Impossible stars Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, a member of the top secret Impossible Mission Force. Ethan is on the run after his mission is foiled by a spy, resulting in the deaths of his entire IMF team.
I haven’t seen Mission Impossible since 1996, making me about seven years old at the time, and proof as to how powerful the movie was to me. Even then, I used to be a huge fan of the 1960’s Mission Impossible television series, catching reruns of it on TV as often as possible.
I’m sure for most people, Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible series was the first, and likely only, slice of the franchise they have seen, so the film may not have come off as powerful as it did to fans of the television show. The change was so drastic that several members of the original cast absolutely hated it.
The first major alteration is in the early deaths of Ethan Hunt’s entire team. Over the course of their first mission, the members of Hunt’s team die one by one in what is quickly understood to be an ambush. In the old series, the main characters were safe. People died, but the IMF team was always safe from death. To put it in perspective, imagine if a new Terminator movie released, and within twenty five minutes John and Sarah Connor are both killed and the movie follows new people.
The other point of offense among the early crew was the final reveal of Jim Phelps as the traitor and a terrorist. Jim Phelps was the director of the IMF from season two onward, playing a pretty major role in the organization’s movement. The portrayal of Jim as a traitor was so powerful that several members of the original cast either turned down roles or refused to see the movie.
Despite its ridiculous and often impossible (see what I did?) plot points, Mission Impossible is still one of my favorite live action films of the 90’s starring Tom Cruise. I never ended up seeing Mission Impossible II or III, but they are on Netflix so I will have to check them out.