Is Mission Impossible just any other stylish action movie? Or is it any other Tom Cruise movie? The answer to both those questions is No. The reason is, that Mission Impossible revolutionized cinema in ways more than one. Before MI came into being, you either had generic action films or action as part of other genres like sci-fi or historical dramas. Mission Impossible actually made action cool again. But what about James Bond movies? Yes, they existed — they still do — but their action wasn’t on the same level. Recently, films like Casino Royale or Skyfall had better action but still the kind of style and realism Mission Impossible have, James Bond films don’t. What comes closest is actually the Bourne series of films.
In any case, here is the list of films similar to Mission Impossible that are our recommendations. You can stream some of these movies like Mission Impossible on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
10. Casino Royale
Yes, ‘Casino Royale’ deserves this spot. It was a time when Jason Bourne had taken the spy landscape by storm, and of course the Bond Franchise needed a reboot. After the massively disappointing ‘Die Another Day’, people were yearning for a reboot and a different Bond. Amidst much controversy, Daniel Craig got the role; no one expected a short, blonde actor to deliver. The rest is history. Casino Royale remains a classic example of origin stories well told. It digs into Bond’s roots, when he has just been given the OO status, and is over-confident, reckless and inexperienced. Craig captures these traits perfectly, and gels with Judi Dench as Pierce Brosnan never could. It also features Eva Greene as Vesper Lynd, the best Bond girl in the entire franchise, matching wits with James Bond, and bringing him to his knees. Wonderfully crafted, the movie grows as Bond grows, eventually transforming him to the mean, ruthless killing machine he actually is.
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9. Die Hard
Die Hard is an unique action film of its time. It has a brilliant script and a very good direction. Die Hard is a story of John McClane (Bruce Wills). He is at Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angelis where his wife works. Then 12 people take control of the building and take people as hostages. Gruber’s (Alan Rickman) plan is to rob 640 million but John starts to create a problem for him. Die Hard has great action, great characters, and great villain — it has everything you want in an action movie.
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8. Red (2010)
Based on a comic book series, the film’s name is actually an acronym which stands for Retired, Extremely Dangerous. The movie stars Bruce Willis as Frank Moses a retired CIA Black Ops agent. The plot follows the ennui that grips his life until an assassination squad is sent to kill him. This gets the old legend back in the game and he uncovers a plot that is characteristic of the portrayal of the CIA – a massive conspiracy and a cover-up that involves the Vice President himself. Frank teams up with an oddball bunch of old mates and even a KGB contemporary and survives the conspiracy but the movie goes to show the far reach and ruthlessness of the CIA despite the director’s attempts to keep the movie strictly within an action-comedy genre of films.
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7. The November Man (2014)
Pierce Brosnan plays the role of Paul Devereaux or the November Man, a skilled CIA operative. He is pulled back in from retirement for one last mission. The last mission turns out to be the most twisted mission that will push the skilled operative to the edge. It involves a Cechnian war criminal who is running for the Russian presidency. Devereaux runs up against his old protege Mason and another assassin named Alexa. Keeping himself safe, he cannot, however, save the asset he was sent to protect. However, this drives him to reach the bottom of the matter and he uncovers a CIA plot to influence global politics by strongarming Russia to join the NATO against the middle-East. A thrilling movie, this speaks to CIA’s interference in global politics now and again.
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‘Skyfall’ was the first Bond movie to be directed by an Academy Award winning Director. Sam Mendes brought some amazing depth to the Bond franchise, elevating ‘Skyfall’ from being just a Bond movie to a work of art. Roger Deakins’s breathtaking cinematography, Adele’s haunting and memorable score and stellar performances from the cast make ‘Skyfall’ one of the best entries of the franchise.
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5. Body of Lies (2008)
Directed by Ridley Scott, this film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, and Mark Strong. The film follows a joint operation between the CIA and the Jordanian intelligence to capture a terrorist called Al-Saleem. Ferris (DiCaprio) is the agent on the ground and Hoffman (Crowe) is his supervisor. The film shows CIA interference in the middle east but also brings out the necessity of said intervention in certain parts because the apprehension of these terrorists affect global events as the film shows a parallel plot of a bombing in London being planned at the same time. A fine film with stellar cast and acting this is one of the best movies about the agency’s presence in countries where they have no business being.
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4. Spy Game (2001)
Not everyone in the CIA is out to get the other’s blood. The agency has good people who will stick up for their friends. This is brought out best in this film starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. Redford plays Muir an aging officer who recruited Bishop (Pitt). Bishop manages to get himself captured trying to rescue a Briton while the US and China are on verge of a trade agreement. The US government would rather see the deal go through than jeopardize it by acceding to the Chinese government’s demands that they claim Bishop as their own to save his life. When Muir is brought in as a pretext to give them enough reason to disavow Bishop, he stands up for his old friend and ultimately rescues him putting his own safety on the line. A fine film about genuinely good people in the agency this movie proves that not all CIA movies are conspiracy theories.
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This is the most stylish and realistic heist movie ever created. Heat’s story is based on the exploits of former Chicago police Chuk Adams. Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) robs 1.6 million in bearer bond from an armored car but during the heist, Waingro kills the guards. LAPD lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) starts to investigate the heist and tries to catch the crew but McCauley is a mastermind and Hanna is a guy assigned to guess his next move. It is an intense phonemically well-acted and almost perfect on every level.
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2. North By Northwest (1959)
A classic take on a man on the run because of a mistaken identity, this is one of the most sharpest thrillers directed by Alfred Hitchcock. A man being pursued by many, decides to take matter in his own hands and starts investigating the man who is his lookalike. It’s an extremely well crafted suspense thriller with a great cast and an equally engaging story about a spy who does not exist ! Hitchcock cleverly used the concept of a “Macguffin” in this slick spy thriller to weave a story around it.
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1. The Bourne Identity (2002)
Based on Robert Ludlum’s eponymous novel, it’s about a man without his memory, found drifting in the middle of the Mediterranean. As he gains consciousness, he finds himself to be a man of many capabilities and many identities. Choosing the name Jason Bourne, he sets for the mission to find the man who put those bullets in his back. Spawning two more sequels, ‘The Bourne Identity’ became the trendsetter for modern spy movies, which are based on the fact that covert operations occur inside the CIA, with or without the knowledge of the Government. And how can one forget Moby’s ‘Extreme Ways’ which became synonymous with Jason Bourne?
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