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Mission Impossible: 3
2006 - PG-13 - 126 Mins.
Director: J.J. Abrams
Producer: Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner
Written By: J. J. Abrams, Roberto Orci
Starring: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Maggie Q, Jonathan Rhys-Meyes, Keri Russell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Crudup, Laurence Fishburne
Review by: Harrison Cheung
Official Site: www.missionimpossible.com
   
‘Mission Impossible III’ is a good summer blockbuster for sitting in an air-conditioned movie theater, eating popcorn, gossiping about Tom Cruise, and watching the latest in stunts and special effects. Expect no more or no less.

Tom Cruise stars as secret agent, Ethan Hunt, in the third installment of his hit franchise. Directed by J.J. Abrams (of the hit TV series, ‘Lost’), the movie feels more as if it were directed and produced by Cruise himself. This time, it’s back to action basics without the stylized martial arts choreography that was so fashionable a couple years ago when John Woo ruled the screens. ‘MI:3’ is more of a ‘Die Hard’ meets James Bond, with fabulous locations, breath stopping stunts and chases, and lots of close-ups of Tom Cruise looking worried, pained, or angry.

Since Tom Cruise was probably the most expensive element of the movie, the rest of the cast are first class indie film actors who happen to be ethnically diverse. Philip Seymour Hoffman (‘Capote’) steals the scene as the ruthless villain. He’s disappointingly underutilized here. Hong Kong star, Maggie Q, is the token Asian babe. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Ving Rhames are Cruise’s teammates. Billy Crudup plays Cruise’s boss. And Laurence Fishburne plays Cruise's boss' boss. TV’s ‘Felicity’ star, Keri Russell’ also has a memorable role.

Occasionally, ‘MI:3’ feels as if it was created by the greatest marketing company in the world, determined to pack in every winning element to maximize a worldwide audience. China is the 2nd largest movie audience in the world? Let’s shoot scenes in Shanghai. ‘DaVinci Code’ is coming out this summer? Let’s shoot some scenes in the Vatican. Ironically, the breakneck speed at which the movie moves sometimes makes its exotic locales feel like movie sets.

Since the original TV series ‘Mission Impossible’ was created to capitalize on the popularity of James Bond movies, it’s interesting to see how the MI movies don’t mess with a tried and true formula: Beautiful women, amazing cars, and big explosions. The American James Bond, Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is a lot more worn around the edges. Cruise is in his 40s aging as carefully as possible, but there are a number of scenes in ‘MI:3’ when Cruise looks remarkably like Dustin Hoffman! Good casting in ‘Rainman,’ I suppose.

Image-conscious Cruise wants his Ethan Hunt to be more Sean Connery Bond, but sometimes he’s more like a WWF wrestler, with too many grunts and groans during fights to be believable. I remember seeing the end credits of a Roger Moore Bond where there was a body double for Moore’s skinny dipping scene. With ‘MI3,’ Cruise goes to great pains to make sure the audience sees that it’s his face doing most of the stunts.

Overall, ‘MI:3’ is summer entertainment enough. Don’t expect too much logic when you can pull out secret agent spy gadgets to save the day.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

 
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