Mission: Impossible III (2006)

DVD Cover (Paramount Special Collector's Edition)
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Overall Rating 60%
Overall Rating
Ranked #477
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Connections: Mission: Impossible

Retired from active duty to train new IMF agents, Ethan Hunt is called back into action to confront sadistic arms dealer, Owen Davian. Hunt must try to protect his girlfriend while working with his new team to complete the mission. --TMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 17, 2006
Let me begin this review by stating that I was never a huge "Mission: Impossible" fan. I loathed the television series and thought it was completely hopeless. The first film, directed by Brian De Palma, was entertaining enough, but nowhere close to the level of watchability needed for me to give a feel a strong endorsement. The sequel, directed by John Woo, was an utter waste of time - pointless, lifeless, and totally unwatchable. Now, bringeth the third installment in the franchise, with the marquee player Tom Cruise reprising his role as IMF Agent Ethan Hunt. This third film is directed by J.J. Abrams, who shows "Alias" and "Lost" have been serious television powerhouses. Abrams knows what makes an entertaining action film. He knows what makes audiences gasp and what makes them cringe and what makes them cheer. "Mission: Impossible III" is the best installment yet for the franchise, and a firm testament to the integrity of the forthcoming Summer movie season. I enjoyed the hell out of this flick.

As for plot, it is pretty much what you would expect. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is wooed out of semi-retirement by his friend and former co-worker John Musgrave (Billy Crudup) to join teammates Ving Rhames, Maggie Q, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers to rescue kidnapped agent Lindsey (Keri Russell), who also used to be one of Ethan's prized students. What they discover is a secret plot by uber-villain Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to take possession of something known as the Rabbit's Foot, which techie Benji (Simon Pegg) thinks is the anti-God. Throw into the mix a pissed off IMF director (Laurence Fishburne) and a recently inserted fiance (Michelle Monaghan) and you have all the ingredients needed for just another mindless action flick. However, "Mission: Impossible III" is not just another mindless action flick. It has a little depth. It has a little credibility in its story. We find this Ethan Hunt far more compelling than the Ethan Hunt of past films, primarily because we actually like him here. He is just an extraordinary person trying to live an ordinary life, until they 'pull him back in'. Cruise plays this well - far better than this kind of role should ever be played.

Some of the action sequences here are just mind-boggling. The film is two hours plus of non-stop action sequences and the kind of money getting tossed around that would make James Cameron take a long and hard gulp. The first action sequence occurs when Ethan & Co. attempt the rescue, where we get everything from magnetic bombs to machine guns controlled by toggles to "Felicity" going medieval on some German militia ass. The highlight of the film, however, is the scene that will be forever known as 'the bridge sequence', something finally topping the bridge sequence from "True Lies". This scene is just absolutely amazing to watch unfold, as unbelievable as it really is. We have helicopters and planes and missiles and machine guns and tractor trailers and wrecking mini-vans and everything else under the sun. There is also a pretty spectacular scene where Ethan decides to jump from one building to the next with nothing but the assistance of some baseballs. You will have to see the film to understand that.

Another aspect of the film that makes it better than the previous installments is the cast. Normally I would have a serious problems with these kind of amazing actors in great roles, but each one is given something to do, and at least one 'kick ass' scene to make their presence worthwhile. Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the film as super-villain Owen Davian. He is on the streak of a lifetime right now, and I don't think the guy can do wrong. Who would have pictured him as one of the best screen villains in years? Not this critic. That opening sequence in the film is electric, thanks largely to his handling of the character. You really feel this particular countdown. Laurence Fishburne also has fun with his role, of the IMF director, who gets the standout line from the film, "I will bleed on the flag just to make sure the stripes stay red." Yes, that is one of those quotable quotations that takes on a life of its own, and he delivers it with all the intensity and sincerity possible. And, who doesn't enjoy watching the gorgeous Jonathan Rhys-Meyers on screen? He was the real eye candy of the piece.

You can't imagine how shocked I was to actually enjoy this motion picture. Tom Cruise was on my 'eh' list, but has not moved himself off that list and onto my 'ah' list. We'll see what he does next before I make up my mind completely. Director J.J. Abrams really took this franchise in the direction it should have originally aimed towards. He has a knack for adventure and a flair for execution, and he nails both to perfection. This was the finest action film of the year and one hell of an entertaining way to kick off the 2006 Summer movie season. Tom Cruise might be jumping on couches and condemning former "Blue Lagoon" actresses and purchasing Sonogram machines and waiting on the aliens to come and take him away - but in between those, he took the time to turn in a fine performance in a role that he would have normally played by the book.

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