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Mission: Impossible

Year: 1996
Studio: Paramount
Director: Brian De Palma
Producer: Tom Cruise/Paula Wagner
Writer: Steve Zaillian/Robert Towne/David Koepp/Bruce Geller
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Ving Rhames, Jean Reno, Emmanuelle Beart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emilio Estevez, Vanessa Redgrave
Before descending into the Tom Cruise is a Superhero show, this franchise started out actually pretty good. Even though set in Europe, it had a decidedly European feel and carried off a quite cool sentiment and style well.

Director Brian de Palma obviously hadn't signed on to make Tom look like a god, like John Woo and J J Abrams did for both sequels, and he keeps the action brusque, the Cruise idolatry to a minimum and the story smart.

Updating the old 1960s TV show, it concerns a team of spies who operate under deep cover using ground-breaking disguise and espionage technologies on national security missions deemed 'impossible'.

When most of his team is wiped out during a routine embassy sting, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) goes on the lam from his agency to find out what happened, crossing the world with surviving team member Claire (Beart) in tow and recruiting specialist ops Rhames and Reno to help him.

The action and intrigue was not only well executed, but iconic, the sort that extends far beyond the movie. Show anyone the motif of a black-clad figure descending by wires into a clean white room to operate a computer without touching the floor and they'll know just what you're talking about.

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