Paramount // 1989 // 772 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 28th, 2012
A few months ago, I was introduced to this Mission: Impossible '80s reboot, thanks to the prompting of my wife, who allegedly adored the series during its limited broadcast run. During my first go-round with the show, I just couldn't understand why she was such an avid supporter of what was obviously a corny, overwrought, action TV relic.
But here we have the 1989 season, and, you know...I think I know where she's coming from.
Make no mistake: This member's only-fueled misadventures of Peter Graves and company is still a hot cornball mess, hilariously antiquated and over-dependent on some of the very worst proto-blue-screen work ever committed to video. And yet I cannot look away.
Perhaps sensing the creep of the network Grim Reaper -- these 16 episodes would comprise the show's final season -- the powers-that-be opted to go all out with the outrageous plots. (I suspect a steady diet of prescription meds was made available to the writers' room.) The result: some of the most gleefully insane plots you'll come across in your Earthly travels.
A few of my favorites:
* "The Golden Serpent: Parts 1 and 2"
The show was probably on death watch from the get-go, which explains this two-parter full of a secret Triad gang with automatic cobras-etched doors in their hideout; a man deflecting a ninja star with a sniper rifle; and a cliffhanger where M:I Team Tough Guy Max Harte (Antony Hamilton) gets hit in the face with a helicopter.
* "Target Earth"
Uh oh. The ratings are dipping perilously low. Any ideas? Let go to outer space!
* "The Fuhrer's Children"
Um, that space episode didn't lift the ratings at all. In fact, they're down again. So what do the writers propose? Redneck Nazis and their Nazi kid army!
The IRA takes center stage in an episode that would have been completely unremarkable, except for the fact that Peter Graves dresses up as a ghost carriage driver and makes constipation noises while whipping horses.
* "Cargo Cult"
Typical Old White Man Cabal shenanigans. A pitiful, backwards tribe is preyed upon by Caucasian gold miners. Luckily, more white people are on the way to help!
* "The Sands of Seth"
Only one more episode in the season? Hell yes, you produce that Egyptian human sacrifice cult script you've been dreaming of!
And so it ends, the final run of a proud TV franchise. For some, this season of Mission: Impossible will be a snort-worthy mélange of prehistoric special effects and bigass hair. For others, it's a reminder of network TV's promise to deliver unrivaled high adventure and intrigue. For me, it's four new outstanding beverage coasters.
The DVDs: standard def full frame, Dolby 2.0 stereo, and a heartwarming Christmas promo from the cast!
Not Guilty, but only because I love my wife.
Review content copyright © 2012 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 772 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Holiday Promo