Once an acclaimed CBS TV series, a quarter of a century would have to pass for Mission: Impossible to have its first feature film adaptation. It did so under the guidance of Brian DePalma and with a script that gathered top-notch names in screenwriting: Steven Zaillan, Robert Towne and David Koepp.
The film was criticized for focusing on ‘stylish’ action sequences in a way the original series didn’t, but the script still had a clever treatment of intrigue and mind games that resembled more the spirit of the show. Coupled with great performances by Tom Cruise and Jon Voigt, M:I was successful enough as to make Paramount consider the possibility of a sequel.
Despite an evident drop of quality in its second installment, young director and producer JJ Abrams managed to convince audiences and reviewers alike with the notable Mission:Impossible III. Brad Bird delivered a very entertaining flick with Ghost Protocol and then Christopher McQuarrie, perhaps one of the best American screenwriters of our time, returned a bit to the convoluted schemes of the first installment with Rogue Nation and, very recently, Fallout.
Tom Cruise has remained loyal to the saga all throughout, providing a very effective and charismatic driving force that has been paired with popular names in both the direction and writing departments. M:I is arguably the most successful espionage movie franchise altogether with James Bond, and a phenomenal proof that story quality can be retained through a long running commercial series.
(1996) Mission: Impossible
(2000) Mission: Impossible 2
(2006) Mission: Impossible 3
(2011) Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
(2015) Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation
(2018) Mission: Impossible Fallout