Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Movie Review: "Mission: Impossible III" (2006)

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Movie"Mission: Impossible III"
Director: J.J. Abrams
Year: 2006
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has given up field work and has become an IMF trainer so he can have a more steady personal life. When one of his former trainees, Lindsey Ferris (Keri Russell), is captured by international arms dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Ethan is asked to return to action to retrieve her. Though his mission is unsuccessful, Lindsey sends Ethan some information which shows Davian's connections go deep into the IMF. Now, his identity may be compromised and his new fiancee could be in danger. 

"Mission: Impossible III" has quite an intense opening sequence with Ethan Hunt, again played by Tom Cruise, tied up looking like he's been on the receiving end of a beating or two. Across from where he is tied up is the villain of this film, Owen Davian, played by the incomparable Philip Seymour Hoffman, holding a gun to a woman's head and threatening to kill her if Hunt doesn't hand over the Rabbit's Foot. Before Owen pulls the trigger, we flashback to a dinner party Ethan is attending, and we quickly learn the woman tied up across from him with her life in his hands is Ethan's girlfriend Julia, played by Michelle Monaghan. This initial scene sets the tone for the film and we know we are moving faaaar away from the slow motion, over-the-top action of "Mission: Impossible II" to a much darker, more intense movie. From here, we watch Ethan and his team hunt for the Rabbit's Foot, as well as Davian, in a game of cat and mouse, face changing masks, big, loud explosions, impressive and massive sets, and a much more grim tone. The difference between this movie and the previous two "Mission: Impossible" films is obviously the love aspect. Here, Hunt actually has a steady relationship and begins the film out of the field and in the kitchen making drinks for a party. Some avid fans of the franchise may have disliked this added romantic element, but we didn't mind it all that much.

J.J. Abrams brings not only his signature style of flashy visuals and a quick, frenetic pace to the franchise, but he also brought the just-mentioned love aspect to the table in what might be seen by some as a mixed bag. We really enjoyed his vision for "Mission Impossible III" and think Abrams wound up fitting well when nestled after other directors Brian De Palma and John Woo. He was able to bring something new and personal to the series, as well as a lot of kick-ass, non-stop thrills and action. Alongside a new director, there are also a few new additions in the acting game, too. Joining Tom Cruise on the Impossible Mission Force are Maggie Q as Zhen Lei, the Femme Fatale of the team; Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who plays Declan Gormley, the obligatory guy with an accent and the IMF's pilot; and finally, Simon Pegg, who plays Benji Dunn. Benji is another computer and tech guy who provides some much needed sarcastic, quippy comedic relief for such a serious, action-packed film. Returning to the series with Tom Cruise is Ving Rhames, reprising his roles as Luther Stickell, one of the few characters besides Ethan Hunt to make it all the way through the series. Together, this group, as well as a brief few scenes featuring Keri Russell, has to find not only the Rabbit's Foot, but sinister, hard-nosed baddie Owen Davian as well. As we mentioned above, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a bitchin' bad guy. His demeanor is one that can go from calm and stoic to absolutely insane and screaming mad at the drop of a hat. It's about intimidation and fear for Davian, and Hoffman channels these traits amazingly as this movie's antagonist.

At the end of the day, after a rather miserable attempt by John Woo, J.J. Abrams was able to resurrect the "Mission: Impossible" movie series into the juggernaut it has become over time. We applaud him for his attempts, and everyone, especially Tom Cruise, does an excellent job in this film. This is a solid thriller chock-full of action!

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "The Gunman"

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