Great Scenes… Mission: Impossible

missionimpossibleborderYour mission, should you choose to accept it, is to watch this brilliant sequence from the first Mission: Impossible movie. And no, it’s not the bit where Tom Cruise suspends from a ceiling and catches a bead of sweat. It’s even better than that.

Mission: Impossible is a great action film. Interestingly, it is an action film with very few action sequences. Instead, it relies mainly on chewy dialogue, a number of twists and the star power of its leading man. Brian De Palma’s terrific spy thriller will always be remembered for its stunning break-in at CIA headquarters, but for my money, even it is trumped by this super scene where Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) go head-to-head in a Prague restaurant.

Hunt is smarting from the murder of his fellow team members earlier that night, and Kittridge thinks he has found the man responsible. As Hunt himself asks: ‘Who else is left?’ What could have been a stock conversation across a table (I’m looking at you, De Niro and Pacino) is elevated by some fantastically fun dialogue and the commitment of the two performers. 

Cruise is a master of portraying paranoia and Czerny has a memorable way with words. Only he could get away with muttering about something as silly as ‘serious blowback in IMF operations’ and still retain the audience’s interest. Cruise holds his own, however, and ‘Kittridge, you’ve never seen me very upset’ is one of the actor’s great deliveries, better than ‘show me the money’ any day.

De Palma cranks up the tension with some nifty camera angles before an aquarium blast brings things to a thrillingly soaking conclusion. So what if it looks like someone threw a jug of water over The Cruiser (4m58)? It’s all part of the movie’s understated charm. Sometimes you don’t need huge explosions to have a great action movie, something Cruise himself forgot when he hired John Woo for the lame sequel. Sometimes all you need is two good actors spouting ludicrous and enjoyable dialogue at each other.


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3 Responses to “Great Scenes… Mission: Impossible”

  1. Paul the Ball Says:

    RED LIGHT!! GREEN LIGHT!! (from 0m45 onwards) –

  2. I 100% agree with Mr the Ball. I can’t hear the words Mission: Impossible without screaming at the top of my lungs ‘RED LIGHT! GREEN LIGHT!’
    I still dont really get what that means.
    Also, any of the shots involving Claire, she was hot.
    Oh, and Emilio Estevez getting killed after about 40 seconds of screen time.
    ‘Yes! my career’s been reignited……(turns to page two of the script)…..oh’

  3. Adrian McAleenan Says:

    Great one, a fantastic scene, the Cruisers eyes darting around the room, classic!! So many great scenes in this show, i could go on all day but one stands out at the start when Cruise goes back to apartment in Prague after the Mission has been aborted and the Noc list is live. Firstly the way he crushes the lightbulb and scatters it on the floor like a true professional, secondly when he empties a bag into the sink and rifles through it like his life depends on it (it does), ive always wanted to do that and lastly when the Bible comes into view over the computer monitor and the penny drops on a very exhausted Cruiser. This may have to be watched tonight!

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