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Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

‘Mission Impossible’ from best to worst

Storm Goodman

Spoiler warning: This article discusses spoilers for the “Mission: Impossible” franchise.

Inspired by a TV show from the 1970s, the “Mission: Impossible” (M:I) film franchise follows the adventures of Ethan Hunt — played by Tom Cruise — a super spy who operates under the IMF, the Impossible Missions Force. More than just an American agent, Hunt is a rebel who fights to keep the world safe alongside his ever-changing gang of friends and allies. Apart from Cruise, Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell is the only actor to appear in all M:I films.

To be a good M:I movie, the installment needs: daredevil sequences, good stunts, including Tom Cruise running at some point, a car scene either as a chase or another display, a chase scene of any kind, at least one emotionally impactful side character death, funny sidekicks, a hard-core female character and Ving Rhames. 

1: “Mission: Impossible III” (2006)



Directed by J.J. Abrams, the third installment in the franchise is the best of the bunch. It meets all the aforementioned requirements to be a good M:I film and goes beyond to be a truly thrilling blockbuster. It demonstrates excellence in acting, cinematography and writing. It features, without question, Tom Cruise’s best performance as Ethan Hunt in the entire film series, beautifully accompanied by Phillip Seymore Hoffman as his adversary. 

2: “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” (2015)



Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Rogue Nation is the film in a multi-film storyline that pits Hunt against Solomon Lane, an English terrorist. The movie is filled with heart-stopping stunts and features the franchise’s best car chase and motorcycle chase scenes so far. It introduces the character of Ilsa Faust, played by Rebecca Ferguson, and solidifies the role of Benji, played by Simon Pegg and first introduced in M:I III as one of Hunt’s closest friends. The film’s highlight is its extended action sequence set during an opera performance, demonstrating excellent fight choreography and sound design.

3: “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” (2018)




The direct sequel to Rogue Nation and also directed by McQuarrie, Fallout introduces Henry Cavill as Hunt’s newest nemesis and brings back his most impactful love interest, Julia, after being gone for two movies to bring fans closure to their story. The film has the best final act of the entire franchise, filled with amazing stunts, including a helicopter fight sequence and a well-choreographed hand-to-hand fight sequence that nearly sees the hero defeated. 

4: “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (2011)




Directed by Brad Bird, Ghost Protocol has a different feel to the rest of the franchise and stands out due to its great use of spy gadgets and elaborate stunt sequences, most notably a Russian prison escape and Hunt free-climbing the side of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The film has the best Cruise running scene of the franchise, with Hunt trying to outrun a sandstorm to catch a bad guy. However, the movie runs a bit slow at times and features Ving Rhames only as a cameo at the end, making fans feel his absence from the main cast throughout the movie. 

5: “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1” (2023)




The latest of the franchise to come out and also directed by McQuarrie, Dead Reckoning is the first of a two-movie storyline that pits Hunt and his friends against artificial intelligence, throwing them in the middle of an international plot of corruption, with the American government right in the middle. Apart from its outstanding stunts, most notably Cruise jumping off a cliff on a motorcycle, the film also shines due to its high number of well-written female characters, its humor and its cinematography. The film’s biggest problem is the death of Ferguson’s character, Ilsa, killing her off and almost immediately moving on.  

6: “Mission: Impossible” (1996)




Directed by Brian De Palma, the movie that started it all, Mission: Impossible introduces the character of Hunt as a young, naive agent who soon gets thrown into a series of traumatic events, beginning the transformation into the character we see over two decades later. Its female lead is poorly written and killed off at the end, but apart from that it is a memorable film. It features the franchise’s best and most iconic heist scene, with Hunt breaking into the CIA and introducing Rhames’ character, Luther, who would become Hunt’s best sidekick. 

7: “Mission: Impossible 2” (2000)




Directed by John Woo, a legend of Hong Kong action cinema, M:I 2 is like no other film in the franchise. The character of Hunt is written very differently, much more rugged and aggressive, and the cinematography also stands out due to Woo’s unique filmmaking. The film features the best hand-to-hand combat sequences in the entire franchise and a rock-heavy soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, but it is slow at times and features a poorly written female lead who is constantly objectified. On top of that, Luther is absent for the entire film and only makes a cameo at the end. 

The franchise’s next installment, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 2” is scheduled to release on May 23, 2025.

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About the Contributors
Marcela Montufar Soria
Marcela Montufar Soria, Multimedia Editor
Marcela (She/Her/Ella) is an Honors College History and Classical Studies and Humanities major with a concentration in Religious Studies and a minor in East Asian Studies. She is an international student from Mexico and is the fourth member of her family to be a student at UTSA. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate education in Chinese history. Outside of school, Marcela volunteers at the Witte Museum as a gallery attendant during the weekends. Her hobbies include violin playing, amateur stargazing, video editing, writing, reading non-fiction, and painting. She joined the Paisano in Fall 2021, became Assistant Multimedia Editor in Spring 2022, and became Multimedia Editor in Spring 2023.
Storm Goodman
Storm Goodman, Graphic Artist
Storm (he/him) is a freshman at UTSA and is currently majoring in multimedia production. Born and raised in San Antonio, Storm has always loved the city and is always excited to check out new places being opened. He has only recently joined the Paisano team and is excited to keep working and learning more about the graphic design field. Whenever he has free time, Storm enjoys playing tabletop games with his friends and making models out of clay.

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