Granted. I've never watched the original TV series. Just like how I've never watched the original Bond films or read the books before watching Goldeneye. But sometimes, a movie just grow onto you without pandering to the 'true fans' of the original work. While this 'modern' take on the campy series definitely shed its old skin and took on a different tone (until Ghost Protocol anyway), I absolutely loved it as a kid. I loved the intrigue, the confusing plot, the twists, turns, and double-dealings and double-agent-ing. It was so much more fun. And that helicopter destruction made Ethan more badass for me than Bond during my childhood because Daniel Craig didn't come along yet. I still roleplayed that scene in my bedroom, including the part where the helicopter blade nearly sliced his throat.
Of course, this movie fell into obscurity over the years as far as I know. And I never understood that. Tom Cruise was charming and charismatic enough to pass off as Bond. Unlike the later films (particularly the third one), I could really feel that this was a young spy with nothing to lose in a spy movie that comes with all the excitement, danger and suspense such a movie would have, especially the 'danger' part. Think of the noir detective fictions back in the day with the betrayals, femme fatale, close encounters and suave heroes. Bond and Hunt brought that kind of enjoyment in me those fictions did back then. "Thriller" is a good word to describe these stories.
But after that, the producers decided to take the franchise in a different direction, and I never liked it as much as the first one. Having said that, M:I:II had its badass moments (the scene with the 'mumbling' Stamp, for example, was my favorite M:I scene), and M:I:III was terrific with the way it played with Hunt not being able to have a proper relationship, and Philip Seymour Hoffman made for a formidable and imposing villain that I was able to take seriously (unlike a certain baldy stroking a white cat). But as quality as those sequels can be, I just never felt like I took to them the way I did to the first one. I know this is because the filmmakers were changed over the course of four movies (and also in the fifth one), but there's just a kind of melancholy felt by me when I can't see more of this kind of Impossible again because the creators felt it was 'the wrong direction'. Such a shame.
Regardless of the newer Impossible movies, this Mission will remain my favorite in the franchise, and I wouldn't mind paying it a visit or more in the future.