Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Mission: Impossible III is not about plot, so I will not bother detailing it—mainly because I couldn’t really tell you what the heck was going on most of the time. All you really need to know is that there is a bad guy, Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and there is a good guy, Tom Cruise (Tom Cruise). At any given time, they are playing a cat-and-mouse game, but who’s chasing who is often interchangeable. Said cat-and-mouse games involve many explosions and car chases and peeled-off rubber faces and such, and take place in glorious international locations that are merely a movie-edit away (rather than a 13-hour flight, which would ruin momentum, now, wouldn’t it?).
Our Rating

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Thriller

Director: J. J. Abrams

Actors: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Laurence Fishburne

Year: 2006

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Country: USA

So, now that you know the “plot”, here are my comments:

I’d like to thank director J.J. Abrams. Not for this movie. Not for Lost or Alias. But for one of the greatest shows ever, Felicity. Thank you. Thank you for that excellent TV show.

Now, along those lines… J.J, or can I call you “J”?… you are a Rock Star for casting Felicity herself (I mean Keri Russell, whatever) in M:I:3 in the small role as a super-secret, kick-ass agent. I especially enjoyed the moment where Felicity, despite being unconscious from being sadistically tortured moments before, catches a gun in mid-air thrown by Tom, and immediately starts shooting bad guys… BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! RRRrrraaahhhhrrrrRRRR! Hands down, my favorite part of the movie.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, lovely Oscar-winner that he is, totally stole scenes from Tom, simply by reading all of his Evil Villain lines completely deadpan and bored. He barely broke a sweat when hanging facedown out of the bomber doors of an airplane, his jowls flapping in the wind. Talk about cool and collected.

You’ve got Mr. Tight Pants Tom running across Shanghai (or was it Singapore?) with all of his muscles rippling and his posture so bizarrely straight that it looks like he has a stick up his… er… back. He has electronic spy tools and high-kicking ninja skills. Then you have doughy, non-sweating Philip Seymour Hoffman. Who’d win in a brawl? I raise my hand for Phil, and it is great how the film acknowledges that I’m not the only one who expects as much.

Tom’s girlfriend/wife looks suspiciously like… oh, I don’t know… a young brunette actress who may not scream during childbirth and bats her lashes and smiles bashfully at Tom whenever he is in the room. But maybe that’s just me. Hmmm.

Things, as is to be expected, explode a lot. The “plot” is propelled by action scenes, each more tireless and exhausting than the previous. Tom and his team come up with schemes of how to do things like break into the Vatican during a fancy party, or swing like a monkey between skyscrapers, all figured out like in two seconds. This speedy scheming is lucky for us, as M:I:3 plays already overly long by at least a bloated extra half an hour.

Overall, will you get your money’s worth by seeing M:I:3? I have to admit, the film was pretty entertaining, in an in-one-ear-and-out-the-other way. The spy stuff IS cool, and the supporting cast seem to be having a good time playing James (and Jane) Bond. Tom Cruise as a celebrity may certainly have tainted his own image in the last year or so since he started handling his own couch-jumping publicity, but he does know how to play a movie star on the big screen. If popcorn movie entertainment is what you seek, M:I:3 will fit the bill.


Basically the two-disc DVD of Mission: Impossible III should be simply called Making Out With Tom Cruise: Collector’s Edition. M:I:3 is certainly an entertaining enough popcorn flick in its own right despite (or because of?) the Tom Cruise Factor. If you are kind of iffy about Tom these days, as many of us are, you simply won’t be able to stomach too much of the extra material on this disc. He is in every featurette earnestly trumpeting the director, actors, behind-the-camera peeps, etc. It’s all Tom, all the time. There is even (I kid you not) a Tom Cruise montage included, that was created for the “We Love You, Tom… Always and Forever!” Award by MTV in 2005.

If you can mentally filter some of the overload, you can pick out a few gems in the mix, like “Mission: Metamorphosis,” about how a clearly excited sci-fi artist named Syd Mead got to see one of his sketch ideas make it to the big screen. His idea? The cool rubber-mask-making machine that whips up a likeness of Philip Seymour Hoffman in a crucial scene. You can see Mr. Mead wriggling with excitement to see his idea become “real” on the big screen. And we have to admit, that’s really cool.


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