I went to see Mission Impossible III today. I hadn't been to the cinema in ages but there are a few summer blockbuster movies coming up that I have been looking forward to and this was the first of them.
First of all I have to say I wasn't very happy with the first two movies. Mission Impossible was just a dull spy thriller with some gymnastics thrown in to make things look difficult. Mission Impossible II seemed to be some religious homage to the Church of Tom with choirs singing and doves flying around every time Mr Cruise walked onto screen.
This is different. It is more of a Mission Impossible, yes there was a franchise there before Tom and co got their roles. The original TV series had a team of agents working together and depending on intelligence and technology to pull off what amounted to cons and tricks to complete their impossible missions.
This time Tom has a real team and they do more than drive him around and use computers. Ving Rhames is back as Luther, Toms computer wizard sidekick who starts the movie with a van the A-Team would kill for. Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays Declan, not too many Declans in Hollywood movies, the only other one I can think of is Richard Gere in The Jackal. Declan provides the transportation for the team but also gets involved in the cons. Maggie Q plays Zhen, a more special forces type agent along the lines of a female Ethan Hunt, blasting bad guys and blowing up rooms, but she still looks lovely and wears a dress into the Vatican that would make the Pope turn his back on the celibacy vows.
Tom Cruise of course reprises his role as Ethan Hunt and while the choirs and doves are gone, the movie still centers a little too much on him. The one time we start to get some background on the other characters and see some interaction between them while Tom isn't around he interrupts by shouting on the radio and jumping through a window. Talk about attention seeking. His character is more interesting than in previous installments though when you see him with his finance, played by Michelle Monaghan, you cannot help but think about him and Katie Holmes. Especially weird is the way he can read the lips of her and her friends. Shudder.
The movie is broken into several set piece missions in cities around the world. By far the best is the sequence in the Vatican where the team try to track down the villain played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman is excellent as a villain, a man you don't want to piss off, and one you hope never learns your name. He is a big improvement over the villains in the first two movies. A man almost worthy of having James Bond chase him instead of Ethan Hunt.
The end of the movie is a little weak, the last scene in particular, and the last frame before the credits was truely bizare, but that aside J.J. Abrams has salvaged something for the future of the franchise from the ashes of the previous two movies. His next mission, which he has chosen to accept, will be a little more impossible, saving Star Trek, but this movie proves he has the ability.
I think I would give this 3.5 out of 5. Its not a great movie, but it's fun and it's a huge improvement over the previous two.