A superior summer blockbuster in nearly every respect, this Brian De Palma-helmed adaptation of the '60s TV series provoked a lot of unnecessary head-scratching at the time for having a plot that actually required attention to follow (a criticism its inferior 2000 sequel apparently took to heart). But even those put off by David Koepp, Steve Zaillian, and Robert Towne's twisty screenplay still had plenty to enjoy: a charismatic lead performance from Tom Cruise, a well-chosen supporting cast, and some unforgettable set pieces to rank with the best of De Palma's career. Not that the film itself does. Clever without really being about more than its action sequences, nifty gadgets, and memorable locations (although it might be argued that all those surveillance devices tap into some familiar themes), this is clearly De Palma working as a director-for-hire. But like the best hired help, he gets the job done and then some.
by Keith Phipps review