Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mission Impossible III

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.


-Ann said...

A well-written review. You don't do this for a living, do you?

I enjoyed the movie as well, but it's one of those movie's that I've changed my mind about. When we walked out of the cinema, I was still kind of freaked out by the Tom Cruise (Scientologist. Couch Jumper. Cradle Robber.) Distance from the film has allowed that to recede into the distance and I've found myself liking the film a lot more.

Although I never watched many of the Alias episodes, it seems like MI:3 does have an Alias-ish feel to it. In fact, one review I heard described it as "Alias, the movie." He meant it as an insult but I'd consider it a compliment.

Declan said...

nope, computer programmer, wish I could review movies for a living though :-)

It was the very last scene that freaked me out on the whole Tom Cruise thing. It was just weird.

Paul S said...

Declan, didn't you think there was an awful lot of Tom Crying in this movie? I enjoyed the movie too but thinking of that gobshite crying his eyes out every given chance just makes me wonder if i could stand watching it again.

Declan said...

Oh yeah, I forgot about that. During the opening scene I was wondering if they had to rub something into Toms eyes to get them to water like that.

Paul S said...

The opening scene? he cries at least five times during the movie! It's really weird for a action charcter to do that. That's roughly one every 20 mins! That is just weird in an action movie. That's weird in any movie that isn't specifically about crying.
Sure there's nothing wrong with him having a sensitive side, but seeing the supposed tough guy looking weak so often just ruins the illusion of the movie.
Right...I'll say no more. I think i'm going on a bit now! But I can't beleive I'm the only one who's noticed this.

Declan said...

Hmm, I can think of 3 scenes when he cried but there probably were more more. I dont mind an action hero showing emotion, it would have made his character more interesting. In his defense he was probably trying to act and it hurt :-)