10 Things Mission Impossible 5 Needs to Get Right

As you'll recall I did an audio commentary with my buddy Dennis Rosenfeld for Mission Impossible (1996) a few months ago. It was an awesome experience. I watched a ton of the old TV episodes, but I also watched the four feature films with Tom Cruise. The second movie is one of my all time favorite action movies, but in terms of making an actual Mission Impossible movie, however, none of the feature films got it right.

And now we're going to get a fifth Mission: Impossible film. Tom Cruise is still the man in charge, and J.J. Abrams is still producing. This concerns me.

Abrams' MI3 got it very wrong indeed. And MI4 got even further away from the core concept of the show. It struck me that these people have no idea what a Mission: Impossible movie is, or should be, so here's a list of 10 things they need to get right to accomplish that mission.

Now, listen up Tom and J.J...

1) It's Mission: Impossible, but don't take it too literally

The "Impossible"-part just refers to the fact that the mission are impossible for regular intelligence agents. It does NOT mean that the missions are over the top, super-human endeavors, where the entire world is at stake. Scale it down, people!

2) There's no I in Mission Impossible

Okay, there's a bunch of I's, but make no mistake: IMF is a team-based organization. We all know Tom Cruise is your golden ticket, but how about casting some big stars as his supporting players, AND give them something to do?

3) Get the style right, just for once

Give us the classic mission-pickup scene, give us the proper team-assembly scene, get the structure right, get the mission right. In short.....

4) Watch the old show

Just watch it dammit! Just watch it! It's pretty damn clever and cool. Do THAT! Don't just make any old generic spy movie. If Ethan Hunt can be substituted for James Bond, discard  your script.

5) No exposition

Part of the cool thing about the old show was that you had to pay attention. Miss a moment, and you miss the plot. That's cool! Don't worry about the average dumb movie-goer, they barely understand anything anyway, you lost them during the toothpaste commercial two hours before the final act. Make a spy movie for grown-up people, and grown-up people will come see it. It's the old "if you built it, they will come" thing.

6) No love story, no family, no friends, no boss

Get rid of all that crap. We don't need it. It's not a part of the Mission: Impossible universe. The mission IS the plot.

7) IMF doesn't have a damn office!

That's all I got. NO OFFICE, dammit. And if you don't get why that's important, you clearly haven't listened to the aforementioned commentary track, so get on that.

8) Drop the humor

No, don't just drop it, obliterate it. Shred it. Disavow it. Self-destruct it. Burn it and forget it ever existed. There's no room for humor in Mission: Impossible. Especially not if it's courtesy of Simon Pegg. In fact, drop Simon Pegg altogether.

9) Get real

We're tired of CGI crap, get back to the origins of the show, cool gadgets, clever cons, no video-game sequences, get it down to earth and keep it real! If you can't shoot it, don't put it in the movie.

10) Don't make a F**KING rogue agent story

Every single one of the four previous Mission: Impossible movies centers around rogue agents. Every. Single. One. It's like Superman losing his powers in very movie, or Enterprise blowing up in every Star Trek story! You just can't do that! You owe os a proper MI movie! Now, get it right, dammit!


Somebody get this to whatever flavor-of-the-month is currently occupying the director's chair on MI5. Get this to Tom Cruise. Get it to J.J. Abrams, because guys.... So far you've been bested by a 47 years old TV show.