Mission Impossible III
Finally 50% as interesting as the TV series

Directed by J.J. Abrams

Tom Cruise ... Ethan Hunt
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Owen Davian
Ving Rhames ... Luther Stickell
Michelle Monaghan ... Julia Meade
Keri Russell ...  Lindsey Farris
Laurence Fishburne ... Theodore Brassel

For early baby boomers Mission Impossible was about agents working for a Free World government—ours—against fascist and communist dictators… sometimes seemingly against the Soviets or the Chinese themselves.  Every week, James Phelps and his suave, multifaceted crew executed a meticulous plot of deception.

The TV Mission pace was glacial compared to today’s Mission movies is glacial, but then the actions of the TV characters were actually believable.

With all due accolades to the director and effects specialists, I just don’t think even the best real agent EVER swings between 60-story-tall skyscrapers tethered to a 200-ft. cable, shoots six or seven guards presumably through the heart with a pistol as he is sliding at full speed down a 45-degree glass building roof, penetrates the roof and lands next to the canister he’s seeking, picks it up, blows a hole in the wall, jumps out and parachutes to the street below… at night, in FIVE MINUTES.

Well, okay, maybe it was 10-15 minutes in the movie.

My point is in the headlong surge to make their super agents super, writers and directors of action movies are creating characters nobody relates to.  By comparison, the Sean Connery James Bond in From Russia with Love or in Dr. No—back in the early 1960s—had superior abilities that stayed within the bounds of reason.  Thus, Bond was someone you could emulate.

How are you going to look up to Spider Man or Batman… or Ethan Hunt? 

I still like this move better than the first two because it does do some character building.  Ethan has just married a beautiful young bride (Michelle Monaghan) and wants to get out of the business.  The Agency contacts him with “one last job because he’s so good” to rescue a beautiful agent (Keri Russell) from the evil Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman).  Etc., etc.

Right, the base plot has been done a million times.  But J.J. Abrams, celebrated director/producer of Alias and Lost, makes all things fresh again. 

Watching this movie is pure adrenalin.  Learning that Cruise does most of his own stunts—including a particularly scary one where a gasoline truck locks its brakes and jack-knives with the trailer tires passing on either side of him—adds to the excitement.

Hoffman is a thoroughly menacing bad guy.  Cruise’s two women are as capable as they are beautiful.  Another woman on Cruise’s team (Maggie Q playing Zhen Lei) has a scene-stealer climbing out of a bright candy-apple orange Lamborghini with a red dress that knocked the wind out of me.

So, go for it.  This is a very good movie, especially for action freaks, and they worked with consummate skill and effort to bring it to us.  Most entertaining.


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