Thursday, 18 April 2013

18/04/13 - In Defence of the Impossible


There’s a lot of hate directed toward the Mission: Impossible movies, but if that riff fails to stir your soul then frankly I don’t think we can be friends. Yes, they’re a bit cheesy, the plot often doesn’t make sense, they’re riddled with continuity errors and blah blah blah, but they’re fundamentally decent, entertaining movies, and you should all just learn to accept that. So here we’re going to look at a variety of aspects of the series in what a cynic might describe as ‘slightly too much detail’. But that cynic can piss off, I’m going with ‘an entirely appropriate level of analysis’.

They fly a helicopter through the Channel Tunnel
This scene is sort of ruined by David Schneider’s rubbery face pulling a peculiar grimace of befuddlement at the end, rendering the entire sequence slapstick, and this is the element that people tend to focus on. But just let me reiterate the salient point: they fly A FUCKING HELICOPTER in the CHANNEL TUNNEL. Strewth! Blimey!

Red light! Green Light!
OK, so Ethan Hunt has chewing gum that turns into a bomb. That happens.
One end’s green, the other end’s red, and when you squish it all together it explodes. Suck on that, haters. (Or chew, rather.)

Impaled in the elevator shaft
There are many instances of people dying in lifts in movies. Generally it’s the case that the elevator plummets to the bottom and explodes (which, logically, couldn’t happen – lifts can’t freefall like that, and what is there to explode?), and here and there people get sliced in half while getting in/out (which, disappointingly, doesn’t happen in Speed). But in Mission: Impossible, a dude gets trapped on top of an ascending lift, has no escape, and looks up just at the right moment to get a huge spike through the face. Brutal.
(Also, ‘Impaled in the Elevator Shaft’ might make a good title for a porn remake of Mission: Impossible. Write that down somewhere.)

‘What are you going to do? Spank me?’
The improbably-named Nyah Nordoff-Hall (played by the almost equally improbably-named Thandie Newton) is hilariously filthy in M:I-2. There’s not even any double-entendre or suggestiveness, it’s just dirt. Magical, ludicrous dirt.

Limp Bizkit cracked off a decent tune
Yes, the ineffably cretinous Fred Durst’s merry troop of cod-rap-metallers provided the theme tune for the second movie in the franchise and, against all odds, it’s bloody brilliant. It takes the aforementioned DUM DUM DERR DERR DUM DUM DERR DERR DUM DUM DERR DERR DUM DUM DERR DERR diddle-oooo diddle-oooo and gives it a heavy, thudding edge. Brilliantly sinister. Listen -

That M:I-2 bike chase
The motorbike chase scene in the second movie is widely panned for its inconsistencies. But I reckon they actually make it better; the concept of the film is inherently absurd (and I mean this in a positive way), so it’s like discovering directorial easter eggs when you spot that Ethan’s tyres keep changing from road ones to knobbly dirt ones, or that certain scenes are clearly mirrored because the number plates are backwards on passing cars, or that the bikes’ registration numbers keep changing. It’s like that one episode of The Inbetweeners where Simon’s Cinquecento doesn’t have the registration number ‘M335 ALP’, but instead has ‘M483 LTH’. You’d all noticed that, right? Right? Hello…?

The internet

Oh my god, the internet is HILARIOUS in Mission: Impossible. When he types ‘Job 3:14’ into some proto-Google search engine and it comes back with ‘no results’ - ha! Things were different before they changed. Then they became different.

M:I-3 was co-written and directed by J.J. Abrams
…y’know, the guy who created wacky island adventure TV colossus Lost. That’s pretty good, isn’t it? (Although he did also write Armageddon. Hmm.)

M:I-3 also features various classic spy devices
…such as microdots, micro-explosives, and mysterious codenames. So all of the detractors who say that the movie franchise is an insult to the original TV series have slightly less to complain about.

The movies star Ving Rhames and Jean Reno
Ving Rhames and Jean Reno are both awesome, as anyone who’s seen Léon, Pulp Fiction, Ronin or, er, Con Air will tell you. They both pull off the scary-yet-charming thing masterfully. They’re also both a safe pair of hands – the sort of chaps you’d want watching your back in a caper. Good work, fellas.

Tom Cruise is great
Yes, he might be a closet-dwelling nutjob with questionable religious beliefs, but he seems like a decent bloke (usually), and he’s got a lot of brilliant films behind him: Jerry Maguire, Top Gun, Rain Man, Magnolia, Days of Thunder, Eyes Wide Shut, Tropic Thunder, Minority Report, Impaled in the Elevator Shaft… and he’s also endearingly small, which makes him seem more accessible. You know, like he’d be friends with you.

One of the all-time great lines

There’s a wonderfully tense scene in the first movie, in which IMF director Eugene Kittridge accuses Ethan Hunt of being a mole. ‘I can understand you’re very upset,’ he says. ‘Kittridge, you’ve never seen me very upset,’ replies Hunt. And then he blows up an enormous fish tank with his exploding chewing gum. In your face, Kittridge! Didn’t see that coming did you, you twat?

So yeah, the first three movies were great. I haven’t actually seen the fourth. Is it any good...?

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