This ranking will self-destruct in five seconds. Just kidding. Probably.
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One is officially in theaters! This ranking has been a long time coming. Often times, when a new film is released, I have to watch a bunch of the movies in the franchise to be able to publish a ranking, but I watched all of the Mission: Impossible movies in my first year of Sweet N' Sour (there are reviews of 2-6). I was very excited to write this ranking. And it was very fun. That said, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is reading it!
7. Mission: Impossible 2
Mission: Impossible 2 is a weird one, because it feels like it should be awesome. John Woo is the grandfather of action cinema. He is probably the most influential director when it comes to action movies. Letting him direct the sequel to Mission: Impossible is a guaranteed recipe for success, right? Wrong. This movie overdoes the slow-mo in a boring, lifeless continuation of the Ethan Hunt saga. The thrills and intensity of the first one are gone in this film, which just feels like a dumb action movie without any of the weight of the rest of the franchise.
6. Mission: Impossible
I like the rest of the movies on this list. The original Mission: Impossible is weird, because it feels like a self-contained espionage thriller. It isn't as much an action movie as the rest, despite still having thrilling stunts and a good amount of fight scenes. This movie has the most James Bond feel to it, and I think that works in its favor. Where it falters is the plot. This movie has an incredibly confusing narrative that is very difficult to follow for the average viewer, especially when the twists and turns come near the end. They aren't well executed and they leave you more confused than satisfied. Still a fun movie. But not great like some others on this list.
5. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
I've always thought Ghost Protocol was good, but I think it's a bit overrated sometimes. People often lump it in with the next four films on this list as being one of the great Mission films, but I don't think it is. I think the Burj Khalifa sequence is the best scene in the franchise. But I also think that this story can get convoluted and doesn't have the urgency that it feels like it should. Cool action. Cool set pieces. But not a great story.
4. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Rogue Nation felt like when Mission: Impossible took a second step up. The first step up takes place in the third film, and this is the next one. Here, Christopher McQuarrie took over the franchise and just gave it this new, exciting life that has carried into today with Dead Reckoning. This movie gives us one of the best characters in the franchise in Ilsa Faust. Solomon Lane is one of the best villains in the franchise. The plane sequence is jaw-dropping. It's so fun. And it feels like another checkpoint for this series.
3. Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One
Dead Reckoning was a nice return to the franchise post-COVID. Tom Cruise once again proves that his insanity is good for the sake of the film industry. This film is a bigger, bolder mission with tons of practical stuntwork and craziness that will just have your jaw on the floor. AI being the villain makes for a thrilling, intense ride that feels eerily similar to the current track we are on. The human villains are a bit clunky. I don't love the repetition of some elements that have been present in the franchise for nearly thirty years. But this is still a very fun action film that I had a great time with.
2. Mission: Impossible III
I think Mission: Impossible III is criminally underrated. This movie does not nearly get the love it deserves. The most personal story in the franchise deals with Ethan Hunt trying to escape the IMF life only to have his wife be threatened by Owen frickin' Davian, the best Mission: Impossible villain. Philip Seymour Hoffman gives this psychopath life in one of the most threatening and overlooked bad guys out there. I think this is the most intense mission. I think it's one of the most exciting. It was my favorite for a while, but then I rewatched Fallout, and my feelings on that movie changed. I still love Mission: Impossible III. I think it's fantastic.
1. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Fallout is the beginning of the Tom Cruise renaissance. This movie is pushing the action genre forward. It is taking what we once knew and making it better. Not only does this have some of the greatest action sequences of all time, it has some of the coolest story beats and twists in an action movie. They use the technology available in the IMF world to outsmart the audience and do things that you don't see coming. They build to a thrilling climax where we reunite with Julia Meade and try to save the world. It gets you hooked from the beginning and does not let up until the credits roll. It is fantastic. It is a mission I am always willing to accept.