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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
...and I loved it for it.
The plot of the film is Ethan Hawk is recruited back in IMF after going into semi-retirement. An agent he had trained had been captured by Owen Davian, a major weapons trader, and Hawk has to go and save her. She gets killed during the rescue and this leads to Hawk having a vendetta against Davian and his team captures him in the Vatican City. At the same time IMF are looking for a secret weapon called the Rabbit's Foot. Subplots of the film are Hawk's relationship and marriage and his guilt about the death of his former agent. (I don't want to give too much away).
Mission Impossible III was directed by J.J. Abrams, creator of Alias and Lost. He wrote the script with two other Alias writers and the film has many features that were in Alias. The action was non-stop, the acting was good, especially Philip Seymour Hoffman as Owen Davian, who seemed to really enjoy playing a villain. The film has many qualities of Alias. They are international locations, including Berlin, Rome and Shanghai. The use of martial arts and the characters being resourceful. They were also good dialogue in the film and some humorous moments, especially with Simon Pegg who was playing a Marshall type character from Alias. If you are an Alias or Bond fan (especially if you liked Pierce Bronsan) then this film would interest you. It may not have the gritty realism of Casino Royale or the Bourne Trilogy (which are both excellent, especially Casino Royale), but it still has the felt that it set down to Earth, unlike Moonraker or Die Another Day. Many people have said that the film was more like the show because of the use of teamwork. I cannot judge because I never watched the show, but it's better then the previous two films because of the use of a team.
My only complain is really a complain of the series. It is basically Schizophrenic because in the first film Hawk was with the CIA, second IMF was a part of an Interpol type organisation and the third its an independent US agency. I would have preferred it if they dropped the IMF title and made it a CIA dark-op division or something on those lines.
The film did not do as well as expected in the box office, but it was not because of the film itself, but because of Tom Cruise's off-camera antics.
Mission: Impossible 3 (2006)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt and this time he's battling a sadistic arms dealer (Philip Seymour Hoffman). This is without question the best in the series and this is coming from someone who enjoyed the previous two films. I thought the first film was way too confusing for its own good while the second one was way too much action and not enough brains. This third film hits on all the right notes and delivers some terrific action scenes mixed with a pretty smart script that doesn't go over the top on brains. The real key to the film is the terrific performance by Hoffman. He's been known for years as a great character actor but when I heard he was playing the villain I honestly didn't think he could pull it off but he comes off quite menacing in the role. He doesn't have any funny lines, which is a great thing because it makes him all the more threatening. Then there's Cruise who delivers another all-star performance. I think, in real life, Cruise is a jackass but he still manages to be the greatest movie star out there. The supporting cast including Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup and Laurence Fishburne all do fine work as well. The action scenes are also some of the best I've seen including the wonderful attack on the bridge.
Whether or not the Mission Impossible series needed a second sequel is
debatable, but Tom Cruise and his ego obviously thought it did; and
while this film doesn't exactly stink of brilliance, it has to be said
that Mission Impossible 3 succeeds in providing a good old fashioned
action romp, and I thoroughly enjoyed the two hours I spent watching
it. Director J.J. Abrams seems keen to take more influence from Brian
De Palma's original than John Woo's somewhat silly follow-up, and
rather than all out action; this film features more on build-up and
suspense before the over the top set-pieces kick in. It has to be said
that a lot of the movie is as difficult to take seriously as its lead
star, but then again; it is mission 'impossible', so you've got to
expect that. The plot once again focuses on Ethan Hunt; the daring
agent who has decided to hang up his rubber masks and various technical
gadgets to settle down with his new wife. Of course, it's not long
before he's back in the field and on the case of something called 'The
Rabbit's Foot', a secret object being sold by a callous weapons dealer
to an unknown buyer.
Of course, the main point of this movie is to give an excuse for Tom Cruise to flex his ego, and the fact that every single sequence in the film is obviously designed to make him look awesome shows that quite clearly. This could be annoying, but even though I don't like Tom Cruise much; the film benefits from the same idea that made the first sequel fun to watch; that being getting to watch Cruise making himself look a little bit silly. Cruise is joined by series co-star Ving Rhames, who once again isn't given a lot to do. Phillip Seymour Hoffman effortlessly steps into the role of the bad guy, and given what we all know he's capable of; it's safe to say he sleepwalks through it. Of course, the performers aren't the real star of the show; as that accolade goes to the generous special effects budget, which is put to use well in a series of stunts, which are well shot and great to watch. A sequence on a bridge is of particular note, and the locations used offer a varied platform for the stunts to take place. The fact that a major plot point is left open at the end to create mystery feels lazy; but considering that this is a third entry in a series that I'm not a massive fan of, and that it entertained me throughout means that I have to give it a thumbs up overall.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have to hand it to MI3: It delivers nonstop action and the kind of
over-hyped "intense" moments of which Hollywood builds prefab popcorn
movies with sleep-walking regularity. I find no plot holes to carp
about. In fact, the film is to be commended for not letting anything so
burdensome as a plot get in its way. Almost every second of screen time
is given to explosions and athletic stunts and sweaty last second
cliffhanging saves that tax physics and credulity to the tensile
This sort of film is the logical conclusion of a development in film-making begun with Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1980. If you recall that film from the time of its release, you know exactly what I mean. It was next generation Hitchcock that built a celluloid shrine to one single object, the all stops pulled set piece. That single object had but one purpose, for these fan boy plunderers of the Hitchcock legacy: To stagger you under the one-two gut-punch of crazy plot revelation AND slick bit of film-making, the FX or and the way a scene was shot and assembled. Raiders and its legion of imitators took the Statue of Liberty scene from Saboteur, the Mt Rushmore scene from North by Northwest and the Merry Go Round scene from Strangers on a Train as their inspiration and rolled one of these magical film instants out every 7 minutes of screen time.
Inflation being what it is, the time between big moments has narrowed to more like every 2 minutes. And the actions which seemed far fetched in Raiders -- Indi being dragged top- speed under a truck down a gravel road, the face off in the pit of a thousand million snakes, the final blowout confrontation between supernatural forces and the bad guys -- are tamed by comparison with the downright giddy visual hyperbole by the time we get to the MI franchise. I don't exactly regret that Raiders ever happened; it was a rousing, loving, and perhaps above all, a history-savvy homage to a certain type of film moment. But what has happened to Hollywood since then is hard not to view with regret. Still, it's not Spielberg's fault that his palatable take on Hitchcock's deft touches has evolved from slightly overwrought parody to witless and ham-handed overkill.
The story is-- let's be generous -- strikingly simple: The bad guy who wants the Mcguffin back gets to Cruise's squeeze and, holding her captive, is able to make him dance -- which in this case means make him deliver the Mcguffin back home. How all this happens, in terms of filmed language and gestalt, makes the cartoon caffeine cinema of Michael Bay look like the glacial floe of Robert Bresson's oeuvre. If I have seen more shaking camera, strobing light and one second edits, I'm not sure where.
Maybe because I searched for something as old school as the faint must of "literary quality" to the script (silly me), my favorite MI3 bit is what you could call a storytelling conceit. It isn't original. It's the Citizen Kane gambit of beginning with the end, flashing back, and progressing to the same point by film's end. They put a surprise twist to this gambit, but that isn't really very original either (sort of like the old TV series or Wild Wild West). So, um, forget the search for literary quality here.
I give the film 5 stars of 10.
In an attempt to get closer to a "normal" life, IMF Agent Ethan Hunt
has stepped back from field work and into a training role. His fiancé
is none-the-wiser and believes that he works with the local traffic
commission, studying patterns and planning improvements. When he learns
that one of his top pupils has gone silent in the field and is believed
kidnapped, Hunt accepts the offer to lead a rescue team to extract her.
The mission sees him coming directly into conflict with the elusive
arms dealer Owen Davian.
I didn't expect a great deal from the man that had given me Lost and Alias both series that rely on forward motion to keep them going rather than doing anything in terms of depth or foundation. And so it was with MI3, because despite a few failed efforts to flesh out Hunt's life with a dog and a wife, the action is the all and we never go long without something going bang. Opening with a tense and engaging scene, the step back in time to Hunt's training role was a bit of a blow but it moved past quickly enough. The actual plot is then rolled out and despite being total nonsense from start to finish, is probably enough for those looking for summer thrills. Those looking for more (which, as a fan of the first MI film, I was) will probably not get it because generally the film eschews any detail or sense of intrigue and heads right for the action and spectacle. This has its merits of course but I must admit I wanted more than just that. As it was I let the noisy and shaky cameras bully me into submission and I found myself enjoying the film even I never doubted that it was quite an unremarkable film that attempts little of interest outside of the visual aspect.
As director Abrams shows that he has an eye for movement and excitement but he mostly does it by artificial means as the material is not there to help him. It is not a great turn from him but he has certainly improved on the disappointing second film in the series. The cast are a strange mix but surprisingly nobody really makes much of an impression and they almost all come over like mere plastic models in one big special effects shot. Cruise does charming, driven, angry or determined as the story requires but other than that he lacks depth and in this film his charisma only got him so far for me. Hoffman is miscast although I can see why he accepted the role; he has good presence but the material he is given is below him and aside from one or two genuinely menacing scenes, he mostly just shouts. Rhames is so-so but the film doesn't do much with new crew members Maggie Q (who admittedly looked great) and Rhys-Meyers (who has a knack of grating on me in most of his performances, not sure why). Fishburne is an obvious red-herring; Monaghan is a non-person, unconvincing in the extreme and only there as a pretty narrative device. Simon Pegg was a very strange discovery and his version of Alias' Marshall didn't really work for me and didn't fit with the flow of the film.
Overall then a noisy film that has plenty of running, shooting, shouting and bangs to make it fit the "mindless summer blockbuster" gap at this time of the year. Those looking for more will probably have worked out that Abrams was not the man to give it to them, since hollow but engaging movement without substance is what he does best. The story just about hangs together and I did enjoy the noise but by the end I was longing for some actual, quiet tension and build-up, the like of which the film opened with promisingly but then never managed to deliver again.
This movie wasn't bad, but it was completely unremarkable. For a more
thorough review, check out my blog where I review this and other movies
Otherwise, here are a few thoughts: 1. Why have Hoffman in this movie if he's only going to be in a few short scenes and one of them is a fight scene?
2. With all that budget, you're telling me you couldn't come up with one single distinctive visual in this whole movie? 3. Tom Cruise becoming a wack-job in real life has hurt his movie appeal. I just kept thinking about Oprah's couch.
4. The guy who dreamt up Lost could have given us a couple interesting twists or layers to spice up this very ordinary flick, and the fact that he didn't left me pretty disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mission: Impossible III is an action packed adventure that will have
you on the edge of your seat virtually the whole time, with plenty of
taut tense moments where you honestly won't know what happens next.
Though the storyline itself is a little bit predictable, it is a a few
steps up from the second Mission: Impossible. It also gives us a new
side of Ethan Hunt's character, one of the high points of the movies,
and one of the main reasons I am giving it such a high rating.
The first half hour focuses on Ethan Hunt and how he is engaged to be married to a woman he is completely in love with. We learn how he is no longer doing field work, but has instead chosen a quieter life where he just trains new recruits into IMF. Not surprisingly, something goes horribly wrong on what was supposed to be a routine IMF mission, and Ethan decides to take part in a rescue mission to attempt to retrieve an IMF agent that may have valuable information in relation to a mastermind criminal known as Owen Davian. From the moment the mission begins till the end of the movie, there is virtually no break in the action, except for maybe the occasional three to five minute interval, but even those are filled with tension so thick you could cut it with a knife.
The movie is directed by J.J. Abrams, and he had a hand in the script as well. You can expect great things from the creator of two of TV's biggest smash hits, Lost and Alias. Abrams proves he is not just good for extending tension through forty minutes of TV, but two hours of film as well. His talent translates well onto the big screen, something which I was slightly apprehensive about. He also breathes new life into the Mission: Impossible series by showing us Ethan Hunt's personal life, what goes on outside his mind-blowing missions. He is not just a mindless, perfect agent automaton anymore. He has a heart. He has a life. He has love, and it is this love that drives the movie, helped along of course by Tom Cruise's incredible acting.
The action is relentless, creative, but when compared to the first movie, with the unbelievable scene where Ethan Hunt steals the NOC list, it falls just a little bit short, so I must deduct points for that. In M:i:III there are plenty of amazing and grandiose stunts, but they seem a little extreme sometimes, trying to outdo the first one by making all the stunts huge and big, with massive explosions and jumping from buildings hundreds of stories high. All the stunts are beautifully pulled off, but may be a tad bit too much, from a critic's standpoint.
The villain of the film is another high point - though we've all seen the calm villain that proves he is evil by talking calmly about horrible things, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Academy Award winner for Capote, if you'll recall, makes it just interesting enough to hold our attention without dismissing him as just another typical calm/evil movie villain.
The storyline of M:i:III is the worst part about it. And when I say worst, I mean it works really well for a spy thriller, but it's just a tad bit too generic. It is predictable, where they are going in the movie and how they are getting there, but only on a grand scale - the many twists and turns within the movie are enough to overshadow this by a large amount, and there are plenty of gasp moments in the movie and "oh my gosh!" Of course I cannot review M:i:III without mentioning Tom Cruise's making a fool of himself over the past year, whether it be raving about how much he loves Katie Holmes, or spouting how everyone should follow Scientology. This is a man who has done something that no Hollywood star has ever done before: created a perfect track record. His movies have not made less than $100 million in years. Even those that have not have earned critical acclaim or created a massive following, such as his debut, the incomparable Risky Business. He is a genius when it comes to picking movie projects, and everything he touches can pretty much be guaranteed to turn to box-office gold. He has an unbelievably charismatic personality. And he went away and threatened to destroy all that by making a fool of himself. M:i:III will be the deciding factor on whether or not his off screen antics affect his box-office potential. I have no doubt M:i:III will make a lot of money, probably between $150 million and $200 million, maybe even a little bit higher. But it won't be enough. If makes anything less than the second movie, it will prove that the age of Cruise is drawing to a close.
On the whole, M:i:III is a beautifully directed, beautifully written, beautifully choreographed, and beautifully acted movie. I recommend it without any reservations. It functions very well as its own action packed movie, with plenty of character development and creative, mind-blowing action. Well worth the price of admission.
What a way to start the summer season of blockbusters! The opening sequence, Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt tied to a chair struggling to fight the bonds on his hands, sets the pace for the next 125 minutes of pure adrenaline. We are transported to the world of beautiful locations - Vatican City, Rome and Shanghai; drones firing missiles into the Chesapeake Bay Bridge; leaps onto and off of skyscrapers; and; of course, a dangling Ethan Hunt. Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a standout performance. His performance oozes evil. One complaint I have is that I wish there were more scenes showing off Hoffman's nastiness. Besides Hoffman, the movie has a cast of great actors; including Laurence Fishburne, Billy Crudup and Ving Rhames, but because of the story were only given a limited time to show their skills. I shouldn't complain, though, too much time spent on characters would have meant too little time spent on blowing something up. One thing J.J. Abrams made sure of was that there were a lot of explosions. A good blockbuster should allow fun, action, and escapism. M:i:III delivers.
Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is lured back from semi-retirement and sent on a
mission to rescue a captured agent from a sadistic arms dealer Owen
Davian (Hoffman). Reunited with Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) they set
off to Germany. Lots of explosions and gunfire later, mission seemingly
achieved they find out exactly how bad Davian really is. Bent on
capturing Davian the team break protocol and head for The Vatican to
kidnap the arms dealer. What happens next is the riskiest mission
they'll ever do, all to protect Hunt's love Julia (Michelle Monaghan).
I have two main problems with M:I III. The first is the 'monkey's typing on a type writer' script. Seeing that J. J. Abrams was one of the main writers it looks and feels like a feature length episode of 'Alias'. A revenge theme, a loved one in danger, a possible traitor in the Impossible Mission Force ranks. Any hack could write this stuff. Any hack could write better. You also see traces of Alias in the tech guy (Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn).
The second problem is Cruise. Over the last few years his already thin acting ability has been stretched thin and here he has to do emotions. Running around and getting blown up, Cruise is fine, but the intimate scenes with his on-screen girlfriend Julia don't feel right. There's no passion or spark that I could see.
So, what are the good points? Rhames, although very much a background character here, is great and plays opposite Cruise fantastically. Maggie Q as Zhen is stunning and tough. Hoffman is brilliant, just scenery chewing enough to make a great bad guy, controlled enough so you hate him. The action licks along with great pace. Especially brilliant is the break-in at the Vatican. Also try and spot the homages to Cruise movies of old, including the original M:I film and Top Gun.
If you want a really good spy thriller find copies of The Bourne films (either). If you want a popcorn summer action film, but don't want super hero's then this is okay.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the directorial debut of J.J. Abrams, a hot TV commodity
(Felicity, Alias, Lost) making his transition to the big screen. From a
purely technical standpoint, Abrams does a competent job. The chase
scenes and other action sequences are presented with the proper level
of spectacle. The globe-trotting locations are given their due - we see
plenty of Berlin, Rome, and Shanghai. But there's an intangible
missing. Things explode, characters take death-defying plunges, guns
fire round after round after round, helicopters move in for the kill,
and none of it is all that exciting. Maybe it's because we've seen it
before. Maybe it's because a TV show like 24 does this kind of thing on
a weekly basis, and does it better (although not as spectacularly). And
maybe it's because we're not as invested in Ethan Hunt as we need to be
to care. Even Mission: Impossible III's single shocking moment turns
out to be a cheat.
While watching this film, I kept thinking of a cheap James Bond rip-off. There are the gadgets, the stunts, and the world locations. Laurence Fishburne does a credible M and Simon Pegg is Q. Michelle Monaghan is pretty enough to be a Bond girl, although she's dressed up more like the girl next door. And, like the last successful of the 007 features, it doesn't gel.
What do you think about it, is MI-3 an easy remake of James Bond?
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