Mission: Impossible


Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 29
  2. Negative: 4 out of 29

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Critic Reviews

  1. Tampa Bay Times
    Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Aug 2, 2015
    Stealth is a key element of tension and, even though DePalma tosses his share of fireballs around, Mission: Impossible gets edgier when it gets quieter. The audience's rapt, empathetic silence while Hunt hangs there in peril proves how well the director does it. [24 May 1996, p.5]
  2. 90
    Director Brian De Palma is having too much fun zipping around curves and hitting the accelerator to slow down. He's a supremely confident engineer, and if you're game enough to make a jump for it and hold on, he offers the giddy excitement of watching the ground rush by beneath your dangling feet.
  3. Exciting, smart and enormously enjoyable.
  4. A sleek, whooshingly entertaining update of the vintage television series.
  5. Charlotte Observer
    Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Aug 2, 2015
    De Palma makes us sweat; slow, quiet scenes are as nerve-bending as occasional explosions and the final, frantic battle. He calls himself a director for hire on projects such as this and "The Untouchables," where he has little input before shooting. But his skill at maintaining tension is his main asset, and he uses it to the max here. [24 May 1996, p.1E]
  6. Aug 2, 2015
    Unlike most action films, Mission: Impossible's distinct appeal operates not so much on suspense but on improbability.
  7. 75
    The bottom line on a film like this is, Tom Cruise looks cool and holds our attention while doing neat things that we don't quite understand--doing them so quickly and with so much style that we put our questions on hold, and go with the flow.
  8. It's a movie of profoundly convoluted pop pleasures. Between dazzling suspense sequences, it invites the audience to work for a good time.
  9. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Stylish, brisk but lacking in human dimension despite an attractive cast. [22 May 1996, p. D1]
  10. 70
    All Mission Impossible had to do was not self-destruct. Mission accomplished. Does it ignite? Not really, but Tom Cruise's first adventure as a producer has just enough hightech firepower, old-fashioned star power and a director who knows how to harness it all.
  11. Miami Herald
    Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 2, 2015
    Mission: Impossible is full of red herrings and MacGuffins, but even if you can't keep track of who's doing what to whom, it's hugely enjoyable for its sheer kinetic power. It's a soulless trinket, and it never really grabs you the way good action films do. But it moves like a demon, and it's consistently dazzling. [22 May 1996, p.1D]
  12. Philadelphia Inquirer
    Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Aug 2, 2015
    Unfortunately, Mission: Impossible - which assembles a new Impossible Missions Force and plops it down in Kiev, Prague, London and Langley, Va. - doesn't have the momentum or suspense of De Palma's best pictures. It moves, awkwardly at times, from one elaborate set-piece to the next. [22 May 1996, p.E01]
  13. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Tim Appelo
    Aug 2, 2015
    De Palma is in fine form here, wittily using visual quotes from ``2001'' to suggest that technology is a spiderweb on which we poor humans wriggle. He balances comedy with nail-biting suspense as ably as Cruise balances his buff bod on that trembling rope. [24 May 1996, p.20]
  14. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Mark Caro
    Aug 2, 2015
    Mission: Impossible does provide enough old-fashioned fireworks for a big-budget summer spectacle. But despite the cinematic bravado, this mission ultimately represents a white flag being waved at the notion of updating the TV show. The movie seems to argue that because the Cold War is over, all the good global-conspiracy plots have become obsolete. The intrigue, instead, must turn in on itself like a snake devouring its own tail. [22 May 1996]
  15. 63
    This movie isn't a disaster, but, all things considered, there's little reason to make it a high priority for theatrical viewing.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 285 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 2 out of 32
  1. Dec 26, 2011
    Brian De Palma's action blockbuster "Mission Impossible" succeeds the impossible job most action movies do; seducing the audience without fear.
  2. ManfredP.
    May 1, 2006
    t's been a long time coming. It's April 18th 2006. It's been ten years since this film was released and its second sequel is t's been a long time coming. It's April 18th 2006. It's been ten years since this film was released and its second sequel is less than a month away. Now seems like the perfect time to reach back into the wells of my cinematic career and re-examine one of the single most important movies in my life. This is one of the movies that made me fall in love with movies. It made me appreciate the meaning of a good plot, the importance of cerating tension, the methods with which one creates suspense...and how to flawlessly set up, construct, and execute an explosive finalé so effective that you could've swore it gave you an errection. [***SPOILERS***] The movie opens with the simplest of shots: a camera slowly tracking in on a security monitor with an unknown guy hunched keenly over it watching two equally unidentified figures talking in a room. All we know is that we are in Prague. But our ignorance soon turns to astonishment as the layers of this lie - courtesy of fictional(? ) CIA special branch, IMF (Impossible Missions Force) - are stripped away and the truth is revealed. This one opening scene effectively establishes the style for the rest of the film; confused ignorance followed by shocking revelations. DePalma crafts an extraordingary plot of intrigue and betrayal and, of course, impossible missions whose tasks include a pursuit on the roof of a high-speed train and infiltrating the Central Intelligence Agency. But as well-conceived as the plot may be, the cinematography is equally commendable. With a range of shots being able to take the viewer from a sense of extreme panic and disorientation all the way to the most in-your-face shots that allow the action and story to carry the film on their own merits. I've seen other highly commended DePalma works, including 'Scarface' and 'The Untouchables', and whilst the former is exceptional in its style and excecution the latter is miserably out-of-synch with its own content. Even against 'Scarface', 'Mission: Impossible' more than holds its own. In fact, if there is one thing that 'Mission: Impossible' has over 'Scarface', it's the presence of a much more satisfying conclusion and a much more streamlined story. Heck, even the visuals give the reverred 'Scarface' a run for its money. I must have been about twelve or thirteen when I first saw this film, and it's as affecting today as it was all those years ago. Unfortunately, I'm not a member of the 'Star Wars' generation. Nor is my childhood filled with images from 'Star Wars'. My childhood was defined by movies like 'The Neverending Story' and 'The Land Before Time'. 'Mission: Impossible' was one of the first mature films I'd actually seen. It certainly left quite an impact on me...if only for the fact that I resolved I would one day understand the plot completely. Which, you'll be pleased to know, I now do :-D Full Review »
  3. BradB.
    Nov 3, 2006
    This is the best mission impossible film due to its originality and flair. Remember this film was made in 1996, 10 years ago yet it is still This is the best mission impossible film due to its originality and flair. Remember this film was made in 1996, 10 years ago yet it is still very captivating today. Full Review »