|Mission: Impossible (also known in the new Blu-ray release as M:I) is a 1996 action thriller directed by Brian De Palma and starring Tom Cruise. Following on from the television series of the same name, the plot follows a new agent, Ethan Hunt and his mission to uncover the mole within the CIA who has framed him for the murders of his entire IMF team. Work on the script had begun early with filmmaker Sydney Pollack on board, before De Palma, Steven Zaillian, David Koepp, and Robert Towne were brought in. In fact, the film went into pre-production without a shooting script. De Palma came up with some action sequences, but neither Koepp nor Towne were satisfied with the story that leads up to these events. The film is part of the Mission: Impossible (film series).
U2 band members Larry Mullen, Jr. and Adam Clayton produced their own version of the original theme song. The song went into top ten charts around the world and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The movie was the third highest grossing of the year and was followed by three sequels, Mission: Impossible II (2000), Mission: Impossible III (2006), and, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which was released on December 16th, 2011. A fifth film, Mission: Impossible V, is fast tracked with Tom Cruise reprising his role.
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is a member of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), an unofficial branch of the CIA, and part of a small team of agents. Led by Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), the team assembles for a mission in Prague to prevent an American diplomat from stealing the Non-Official Cover (NOC) list, a comprehensive list of all covert agents in Eastern Europe, from the US Embassy. The mission goes hopelessly wrong, apparently resulting in the deaths of the entire team except for Hunt. Technician Jack Harmon (Emilio Estevez) is impaled in an elevator shaft, Phelps is shot on a bridge by an unknown assailant, Hannah Williams (Ingeborga Dapkunaite) and Phelps’ wife Claire (Emmanuelle Beart) are killed by a car bomb and Sarah Davies (Kristin Scott Thomas) is stabbed by an unknown assailant.
After fleeing the scene, Hunt meets with IMF Director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) at a café where they discuss the events of that night. Eventually, Hunt realizes that a second IMF team was watching his team during the failed operation. Kittridge then discloses that the operation was a setup meant to draw out a mole in the IMF. The mole has made a deal to sell the list to an arms dealer known as “Max” as part of an operation called “Job 314”. As a result, the NOC list taken in the mission was a fake and the computer disk is rigged with a tracking device. After Kittridge informs Hunt of his suspicion that Hunt is the mole, Hunt blows up the floor-to-ceiling aquarium with a stick of explosive chewing gum in the café and flees.
Hunt returns to the IMF safe house where, realizing that “Job 314” refers to a Bible verse in the book of Job (and presumably the mole’s codename as well), Hunt begins email correspondence with Max (Vanessa Redgrave) over a Biblical correspondence web site and warns Max about the fake NOC list. Hunt then encounters Claire and discovers that she has survived the mission, having gotten out of the car in which she was waiting before it exploded.
Max arranges a meeting with Hunt where he offers to deliver the real NOC list in exchange for $10 million and a face-to-face meeting with the real Job. Max agrees and she and Hunt then escape moments before a CIA team, alerted by the tracking device, arrives in search of the fake NOC list.
Hunt assembles a team of disavowed agents: computer expert Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and pilot Franz Krieger (Jean Reno). Hunt, Stickell, Krieger, and Claire infiltrate the heavily fortified CIA headquarters in Langley and successfully steal the full NOC list before escaping to a safe house in London.
While in London, Hunt discovers that his uncle and mother have been falsely arrested for drug trafficking in an attempt by Kittridge to lure him out of hiding. This infuriates Hunt, and he contacts Kittridge who offers to drop the charges if Hunt surrenders. Hunt stays on the line long enough for Kittridge to trace him to London and then hangs up, only to find Phelps standing next to him.
Phelps, presumed dead in the Prague operation and following Ethan ever since, tells Hunt that Kittridge is the mole and is trying to tie up loose ends. Hunt listens, mentally piecing together the operation and realizes that Phelps, having become disillusioned with his work, is actually Job and that Krieger – who uses the same distinctive make of knife that was used to kill Davies – has assisted Phelps. However, Hunt is still doubtful about Claire’s place in the conspiracy.
The next day, Max and Hunt arrange to meet aboard the TGV en route to Paris, with Claire and Stickell aboard to provide backup. Kittridge is also aboard, having received tickets and a watch from Hunt. Aboard the train, Hunt delivers the NOC list to Max, who directs him to the baggage car to find his money and Job. Claire arrives in the baggage car to meet with Phelps, revealing her complicity as she suggests that they leave with the money and let Ethan take the blame. Phelps suddenly peels his face away, revealing himself to be Hunt in disguise. They are interrupted by the arrival of the real Jim Phelps: unhinged, armed and demanding that Hunt hand over the money. Hunt does so, but then slowly puts on a pair of glasses from the original operation in Prague, with a camera built into the bridge. The image of Phelps, alive, is transmitted to a video watch sent to Kittridge by Hunt, exposing Job’s true identity.
Claire tries to intervene, but Phelps kills her and climbs up to the roof of the train, while Krieger approaches in a helicopter to extract him. Hunt follows him onto the roof, impeding him and tethering Krieger’s helicopter to the train, dragging it into the Channel Tunnel. In the tunnel, Phelps leaps to the helicopter. Hunt follows, climbing the helicopter’s landing skids and attaching another piece explosive chewing gum, a final relic of Prague, to the windshield. He leaps back to the train just as the ensuing explosion kills Phelps and Krieger.
Now with custody of the NOC list, Max, and Job’s true identity, Kittridge reinstates Stickell and drops his investigation against Hunt, who resigns from the IMF. As he flies home, a flight attendant approaches him and asks, through a coded phrase, if he is ready to take on a new mission.