January 29th: Mission: Impossible III


Release Date: 2006
Director: J.J. Abrams
Why I picked this: My love of “Ghost Protocol,” and to see J.J. Abrams’ first feature film

Yeah, yeah, so what if Tom Cruise has a weird and prolific personal life? He’s a more than decent action star. The first film by soon-to-be Star Wars director J.J. Abrams, the third “Mission: Impossible” movie (and the second that I personally have seen) is intensely directed and features a great hero/villain dynamic between Tom Cruise and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The plot is typical of an action movie: Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is called back to active duty for Impossible Missions Force to save one of his trainees from capture from Hoffman’s character, arms dealer Owen Davian. The mission mostly fails, and Hunt later leads his team to capture Davian. There is a mysterious plot device called the “Rabbit’s Foot,” I never cared about what it actually is. The personal aspect of the plot comes from Hunt’s engagement to Michelle Monaghan’s character, Jules. There are also suspicions about Hunt’s superior, played by Lawrence Fishburne. There is a lot of talk between characters about the risk Hunt is taking to marry a civilian and the potential of putting Jules in danger, but that talk dissipates later when Jules is, you know, in danger. Having never seen the first two films, I still could understand the strong friendship that Hunt and Ving Rhames’ character Luther Stickwell had. Stickwell and Cruise share on-screen chemistry, but I can’t say the same about the rest of his team, including Hunt’s superior Musgrave, played by Billy Crudup. But obviously the action is the main focus of the movie, and there is some good action. Featuring rapid editing, camera shaking, the occasional lens flare, and a whole lot of noise, this is a chaotic movie. And yet for the most part, the action is coherent. There is a sense of geography and you can actually tell what is happening. There are one or two exceptions where it is difficult to tell what was happening, but the action was solid. The opening scene itself is gripping. Hoffman is a great villain, but his role seems a little too small, especially as revelations about certain characters come to fruition, and his ultimate defeat was unsatisfying.

Fast and chaotic, there is good action, good direction, and good acting. But there are better movies (including Brad Bird’s fourth “Mission: Impossible”).


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