Reviewed by: Evan D. Baltz
|Featuring:||Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Luther Stickell, Billy Crudup, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Simon Pegg, Eddie Marsan Brownway, Laurence Fishburne, Bahar Soomekh, Jeff Chase, Michael Berry Jr.|
|Producer:||Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner, Stratton Leopold|
About the best thing I could say about the previous installment of the “Mission Impossible” franchise was that the theme song was still good. So I was hopeful this third version of the franchise would be more like MI:1 and less like MI:2. It was. But still not quite enough.
Tom Cruise’s portrayal of IMF agent, Ethan Hunt, featured the requisite amount of blood, sweat, tears, muscle and full sprint running scenes one would expect. This time, the enemy was the ubiquitous Philip Seymour Hoffman as super-bad arms dealer and all-around evil villain Owen Davian. The movie opens with Hoffman threatening to kill a women Cruise shows a great deal of interest in. Flash backward and we find Ethan Hunt at his engagement party with his fiancé Julia (Michelle Monaghan). It becomes apparent that she is not aware of his line of work and believes him to be a traffic technician.
Hunt’s first mission, as he chose to accept it, was to retrieve one of his recent trainees from the IMF program, held captive in Berlin, Germany. The events of this mission interrelate to the remainder of the plot, and once again Hunt is left wondering whom he can trust, and we are wondering right along with him.
Ving Rhames revises his role as Luther Strickell, but the rest of the MI:3 cast is new to the series. Laurence Fishburne plays IMF’s top man, and Billy Crudup plays Ethan’s immediate supervisor. These players all give strong and believable performances for a movie of this genre.
The plot takes us to the Vatican in Rome, and Shanghai, China. There are some super location scenes and stunts, as well as some good special effects, but sometimes the frenetic camera work becomes a little overwhelming. However, tension is built a number of times that did have me grabbing a little harder on the arms of my seat. Hunt is trying to retrieve a mysterious “White Rabbit” which is a device of unknown power. But one character suggests it could be something akin to an anti-Godthat which destroys everything.
There was the level of violence you would expect in a movie of this sort. There was also about 2 dozen swear words, a half a dozen of which were the Lord’s name in vain. There was no nudity and no real sexuality beyond a brief passionate kiss between Hunt and his new bride.
The movie is entertaining and suspenseful, but it doesn’t quite rise to the level of a super blockbuster. I found myself not caring enough about the individual characters for it to rate higher than an above average summer action film. If you enjoy seeing a sweaty Tom Cruise running at full speed, or are a fan of the series, no doubt you will enjoy this movie. If you could care less about either, look elsewhere for your weekend entertainment.
My guess is that there will most likely be a MI:4 and beyond if MI:3 does well at the box-office. Hollywood is reluctant to ever give up on a franchise until they have beaten that horse to death. I’d say the series still has enough life for one or two more installments. Oh, and the theme song is still as great as ever!
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor