Mission: Impossible III Reviews
J.J. Abrams, creator of Lost, takes on the third instalment of the action franchise, which sees human yo-yo Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) in rare human mode as he plans on making an early retirement to be with his nurse wife (Michelle Monaghan), only to be go on another impossible mission as he plans catching sadistic arms dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman). To aid him are Ving Rhames, Jonathon Rhys-Meyers and Maggie Q, and, this being a third, there are gadgets, explosions, sets and plot twists like now other.
You've got to hand it to Abrams - he certainly knows how to keep an audience on their toes. Drawing on a few of his popular plot devices from Lost (flashbacks, a crescendo to the turning point), he sets us up neatly into his little world, where Ethan Hunt is now a man trying to live a normal life. Whilst that scenario may be a hard to buy, this is redeemed by the many action scenes in the film which are each exhilarating. To go into detail would be spoiling it, but let's just say there is an extremely breathtaking sequence involving a fulcrum, an amusing one involving Tom Cruise disguising himself as someone, and lastly, but by no means least a helicopter chase which is utterly awe-inspiring and barely lets the audience pause for breath. All this, and you get a Michael Giacchino score that perfectly blends action, anxiety, fear and anger.
The cast in themselves are a treat. Tom Cruise, though not given the most trying of tasks in playing an action hero, does a good job with his usual intensity. In the action scenes, his facial expressions are concentrated and focused and utterly convincing. However, Cruise fails in having any genuine chemistry with Michelle Monaghan, for and the romance comes across as rather bland. This is not aided with the poor writing in these scenes. Ving Rhames, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Maggie Q merely look cool as his helpers, and Laurence Fisburne and Billy Crudup successfully bring that edge of moral ambiguity to their characters. And Philip Seymour Hoffman is excellently malicious as the elusive and extremely dangerous Davian, shining in his lizard-eyed role and bringing some genuine terror to the villain. His scenes aside Tom Cruise are superb, as they practically tremble in tension and quiet hatred on both characters parts.
You will go to see Mission Impossible III expecting some grand-scale set pieces, and you will not be disappointed here. Each one of the four is masterfully executed, with a breezy slickness that is both cool and exciting. We're talking non-stop action, occasionally interspersed with those corny Hollywood love formulae, cruising as "emotion." Its big, its bombastic, and it could be the Summer blockbuster of the year.When you walk into a movie expecting to be blown away by death defying stunts and tremendous special effects, it's easy to be disappointed. What a monumental task directors had in making MI3 even more over-the-top and more spectacular than the first two. Mission Accomplished. (Sorry.) Tom Cruise takes Ethan Hunt to new heights. Fishbourne is great as the ambiguously dirty IMF leader. But the best actor in the movie is Philip Seymour Hoffman. Not many actors can take a role that's more one-dimensional than Doctor Evil and turn it into a deeply layered performance. From an acting standpoint, there was almost a feeling that he was too good for this movie and the actors around him. He doesn't breathe the same air as this cast, not even Tom Cruise. The women in the movie are a dichotomy. On the one hand you have Bahar Soomekh, an unknown actress who kicks ass and takes names on par with the bad boys, Cruise, and Ving Rhames. On the other you have Keri Russell in a part we've seen too many times in this kind of movie. The wide-eyed innocent who becomes the villain's prize and the hero's salvation. Keri Russell and Michelle Monaghan spend most of this movie tied to a chair. I hope they're not method actresses. They would have to spend the last year of filming at home, bound and gagged in the kitchen. At least they made Monaghan a doctor, so we know she's smart, even if she's so naïve she thinks her husband works for the department of transportation. Forget the love story, forget the corruption at IMF, forget the plot entirely. None of it matters. All that matters is "how are we going to get in" and "how are we going to get out" and the magnificent twists and turns that follow. Some action movies spend way too much time milking the set up of a weak script before the explosions and the stunts finally kick in. Others dull your senses with one mindless montage of violence and car chases, without a point to be found. MI3 walks the line perfectly...the story is simple enough to understand but well-thought out enough to not poke gaping holes in it. Now let's get to the action. MI3 manages the action sequences smartly, expertly getting your heart rate (and hopes) up and then bring you crashing back down to earth. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, followed by a 10 minutes of blah blah blah. "You shouldn't get married," Ving says to Tom in the middle of a dangerous operation. "You know guys who do what we do can't be married." By the way, this is another well-worn action film technique. Inject casual talk between principals during the most intense and dangerous scenes. It shows that they're so highly-skilled and confident, they can chat nonchalantly about relationships while in the middle of an elaborate Vatican City break-in. Thank you Quentin. Thank you Bruce Willis. But the breaks in the action work. They give you a chance to buy into the suspense each time, from your feet up. Acknowledging that you're drained from the previous sequence, they give you time to catch your breath and then come at you all over again. The air-to-ground assault on the Washington Bridge is astounding. Cruise attempting to catapult between two skyscrapers in Shanghais is beyond belief. Watching him descend way too fast from said skyscraper in a flimsy parachute, knowing he's going to crash down onto the busy freeway and immediately be run over by a gas tanker? Priceless. Remarkable stunts, solid acting, and a villain that may be the best ever in this genre (Hoffman) makes MI3 the best of the series and maybe the best action movie ever made. Until 4, that is.