"Mission: Impossible" movie and TV show (open spoilers!)

Just saw the first MI movie last night again, and liked it all over again, despite the gi-normous suspension of disbelief required. I didn’t like MI-2 all that much. I understand MI-3 is now being filmed - Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames are back, with Keri Russell as the babe du jour, and Val Kilmer (!) as Cruise’s boss. Hmmm. I guess I’ll hope for the best.

Some questions:

  1. Did the original TV show ever have “disavowed” agents come back and/or help out Phelps and his team?

  2. When you first saw the movie, how long did it take you to figure out (if you did, before it was revealed) that Phelps was the bad guy?

  3. What were the prong-thingies that stuck out and impaled the Emilio Estevez character at the top of the embassy’s elevator shaft? Are those a common feature on elevators, or is it pure Hollywood?

  4. I seem to recall that Peter Graves, who played Phelps on the TV show, refused to make a cameo appearance in the movie when he heard that his old character would turn out to be the bad guy. Can anyone add any more details?

  5. I suspect that Ethan Hunt (Cruise’s character) slept with Claire, Phelps’s wife, when he returned from meeting with Phelps in the coffee shop. By that time, he’d figured out that Phelps was evil, and that would be the perfect revenge (plus, she was 'way hot :cool: )

  6. I had the sense that Hunt and Kittridge (the top CIA guy) really were at sword’s point through most of the movie, but by the time they were both on the fast French train, they were working together… or at least, had the same goals (recovery of the NOC list; trapping Max; stopping Phelps).

  7. Why would Phelps shoot Claire in the baggage compartment, but not Hunt? (I know, I know, it would ruin the movie for Hunt to be killed and Phelps to get away. Give me your best explanation, consistent with the rest of the movie, please).

Any other MI observations welcomed.

No. No agents were ever “disavowed” on the TV show. Cinnamon Carter was captured once, but, of course, the IMF did a mission to release her.

Also, I’m convinced that the TV show–unlike the movies–was self-parody. (I watched it every night at midnight during high school, and quickly came to that conclusion.)

I recall Spider Robinson’s comment that he kept waiting for the team to blow the whistle on their bosses using taped copies of the silly self-destructing tapes.

Phelps? Who is this Phelps? Everyone knows the head of the original IMF was Dan Briggs.

The show jumped the shark once he left.

I’m there.

The original didn’t, but the M:I from the 80s (w/Graves as Phelps and a younger cast) did, IIRC, include an episode where an agent was killed and subsequently disavowed.

I don’t recall Spidar Robinson (from the movies?), but I can say that one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen is Jim Phelps riding a go-kart to get out of a ridiculous Iron Curtain country by going under those things that normally tell you a train is passing.

It was pretty obvious when he first showed up; there was no other reason why he didn’t report in to IMF (after all, he wasn’t the one set up to take the fall as the mole) and there wasn’t anyone else left to be the suspect.

Actually, we know that he did (Phelps acknowledges it) and it was all part of the plan to misdirect him.

To leave Hunt to take the fall, I guess. Why you’d trap yourself on a high-speed, non-stop train with a most absurd avenue of escape (helicopter pickup?) Is a better question.

Well, for one, I want to know what the point of having this “NOC list” (apparently unencrypted) on an isolated terminal in the middle of Darth Vader’s Impenetrable Chamber of Meditation, when the analyst who works on it can waltz in and out at will for a cup of coffee without so much as a cursory security check? For all anyone cares, it seems that he could print out a two hundred page stack of beyond die-after-reading hyperclassified material and walk right out the front door with it. The whole situation seems to exist entirely for the purpose of having Tom Cruise suspended from acrobatic apperatus, which was really quite silly; I mean, with the indistinguishable facial imitation technology they had, all Tom Cruise needed to do was find and kill the analyst and rip his eyes out to bypass the security system. Didn’t he see Minority Report? And what HVAC engineer keeps building these ventilation systems that are large enough to walk around in?

Two cool scenes/lines however: the “escape from the aquarium/cafe” was a very nicely done gadget scene (“red light–green light”), and I liked the line, “Those damn Gideons! They stamped it, didn’t they?” when Phelps figures out how Hunt figured out the plot. And Vanessa Redgrave plays the best Bond villian in decades…it’s a pity she was in the wrong movie. They could have used her in Tomorrow Never Dies.

Just another one of Brian de Palma’s misses, though certainly far from his worst. The less said about the Cruise-mugging sequels, the better.


The Mission: Impossible movies never existed. Jim Phelps would never betray his team. 'nuff said.

You know, the TV series was one of my favorites growing up, but I wouldn’t have objected to employing Phelps as a traitor if it were done in an exceptionally clever, well-written way. But the movie is an absolute clunker, with stupidities mounting at every turn, overripe acting, meaningless “bravura” sequences, and twists and double-crosses strewn randomly.

MI2 is a loud, ugly, empty-headed movie and still manages to be better than the original. I’m not sure I can think of a franchise I dislike more (mostly because of all the obvious talented so clearly wasted).