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May 2006

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: III

By Wilson Morales

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: III

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Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: J.J Abrams
Producers: Tom Cruise & Paula Wagner
Screenwriters: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci & J.J Abrams
Cinematographer: Dan Mindel
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Cast: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Simon Pegg, & Laurence Fishburne



   

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No matter what goes on in his off-screen life, but when Tom Cruise is on the big screen, he takes full command of his films, and in his latest film, “Mission: Impossible: 3”, he does so emphatically, but with better results. In you have seen the first two films, then you know that Cruise IS the movie, so why should this film be any different? It’s like watching a basketball game, where your teammates set up the plays and scores a few points, but in the end, all you care about is watching the best player go off and do his thing, like Kobe or Jordan. Here, Cruise is the attraction and in this film, he comes with more agility and more emotion. Though the plot is a bit convoluted and Hoffman doesn’t do much as the villain, there’s plenty of action and suspense that will satisfy all those that want to see Cruise in high gear and run like crazy.

Beginning with a flashback scene, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is tied to a chair as he watches Owen Davian (Hoffman) threatening to put a bullet in his wife’s (Monaghan) head unless Hunt reveals where the “Rabbit’s foot” is located. Within seconds, Hunt’s response triggers the start of the film with the famous matchlight going off with Lalo Schifrin’s score. Going back in time, Hunt is celebrating his engagement party with doctor fiancé Julia and family when he gets a call from IMF friend Musgrave (Crudup) who informs him that one of his trainees, Lindsey Farras (Russell) has been captured and needs to be rescued. It seems that Hunt had retired from active field duty sometime back and only trains rookies, but his conscience gets the better of him, and he reluctantly goes back in the field, where he meets up with his new team, including former partner Luther Strickell (Rhames). A Brit named Declan (Meyers) and an Asian named Zhen (Q) are also assigned to the team. Once the team is assembled, there’s more at hand than rescuing another agent. When there appears to a traitor within the IMF, the team has to figure who and they also have to stop Davian from carrying out his evil deeds and at the same time keep themselves from getting killed.

Director Abrams has incorporated the same feel that he has in his TV series, “Alias” into this third film of the franchise and it works for his debut. It’s engaging, kinetic, and at times emotional. Hoffman, in his first BIG role since winning the Oscar for Best Actor, is interesting to watch, but is given little to do. Unlike in “M:I:2”, where Dougray Scott as the villain was given more character development, Hoffman is resorted to making evil looks and shouting what he’s going to do. Not enough “yada, yada” for this new crowned winner. Fishburne is effective as the new boss of Cruise and he makes the camera stay on him long enough for us to forget that Cruise is the star. As for the team, outside of Rhames and a few key scenes with him and Cruise, Meyers and Q are almost non-existent. Anyone could have played their roles. They’re just “teammates” helping out. Whenever there are three writers to a film (Kurtzman, Orci & Abrams), something gets lost in the writing, and here, it’s the plot. Davian’s motive for being the villain is never clear. He’s just a figurehead we need to know is the bad guy. For comedic relief, Pegg is quite the scene stealer. It’s very clever of casting Russell in a role totally opposite of her “Felicity” role. She seemed comfortable and believable handling the action scene with Cruise. What drives the film is the action and from the moment the team goes looking for Farras to when they are in a gunfight on a bridge, it’s non-stop all the way through. For as much as Cruise runs throughout the film, it could have been called “Run Cruise Run”. From Berlin, Rome, and Shanghai, the action never ceases. As in “True Lies”, Monaghan is the girlfriend/ wife who’s clueless to her husband’s job yet gets caught in the middle of it. She displays a naïve appearance but also the girl who will stand by her man. In the end, as in the TV series, the film is about the gadgets and the action and that’s what we want to see. It’s explosive, thrilling, and totally eye-popping. This is a mission worth seeing.