Shot in Prague before it became synonymous with cheap labor and tax breaks for runaway productions, the initial signs were less than promising for Mission: Impossible - rumors of clashes between Cruise and Brian De Palma, the latter pointedly keeping a very low public profile when the film opened, last-minute heavy re-editing and the dropping of Alan Silvestri's original score (not, it has to be said, anywhere near as effective as Danny Elfman's replacement) - yet the result is a lot more fun than it has any real right to be. There's little relation to the original series aside from the title, Lalo Schifrin's theme music and an ill-done by Jim Phelps, here played by Jon Voight rather than Peter Graves - indeed, the original cast turned down offers of cameos in a film which kills off almost the entire Impossible Mission Force in the first twenty minutes so the star can hog the spotlight. But then, in those days Tom Cruise still sold more tickets than anyone else and the film raked it in - as they say in gangster movies, it's nothing personal, just business.
Although it was apparently Emmanuelle Beart's role that bore the brunt of the pre-release cuts, Cruise is in more danger of being overshadowed by co-stars Ving Rhames and Jean Reno, neither of whom get as many close-ups but make up for it with much more unforced charisma and screen presence. The plot doesn't always make sense - there's really no reason to break into the CIA's headquarters in Langley to steal a real list of undercover agents' names to use as bait other than allowing the director to stage a Topkapi-inspired high-wire heist - but it just about serves to fill in the gaps between setpieces, including a neat sequence that's pure De Palma where one character's explanation of events is accompanied by visuals gradually piecing together what really happened and a doozey of an action sequence involving a helicopter in the Channel Tunnel that caused the Bond producers to drop their original storyboarded-but-unshot Channel Tunnel pre-title sequence from the script of GoldenEye as well as boasting a neat line in spectacularly breaking windows.
No classic but an above-average Summer movie that holds up surprisingly well. Although an improvement over the bare-bones original DVD release (though the transfer of the film itself is identical and hasn't been upgraded), there's a distinct feeling that the reverential special features in this special edition are there merely to reassure Cruise and his fans that he is indeed the most special and wonderful person in the world.