Tom Cruise returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt in Mission:Impossible III. Billed as this year’s adrenalin-filled action of the summer, the movie doesn’t disappoint either on action, stunts or story-line.
Directed by JJ Abrams, whose many credits include “Alias” and “Lost”, the film follows Hunts pending marriage to his wife and trying to move on, away from IMF when he is drawn back into the merky world of espionage by bad guy Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
The movie starts dark and moody and utilises a non-linear storyline and steals (or copies) ideas from other movies such as not revealing what the object that Hunt is trying to retrieve, or using a opening which is much like Pulp Fiction (ie: starting at the end).
During the movie, MI:III makes light reference of the “langley” mission. Earlier, a lady proclaims that Hunt has no dad or mom – but I remember them! They were in the first movie and were set up as drug dealers or something.. what happened to them? Who knows, it’s never answered! There are a lot of holes in this movie, but not enough to ruin the whole movie. Other things do that…
The movie then moves to being all about Hunt being the great married man, who is so in love with his wife. The fawning is well done, but was a bit heavy handed. Was this really about Hunt, or was it a call from Cruise directly to his audience (and critics) saying “Hey, I love my wife”, “See how much I love my wife”…
There was a scene in the movie where vicious bad guy Hoffman asks who Cruise is dating and for a moment, albeit a brief one, I was expecting an exchange such as;
Cruise: But how do you know I’m not gay?
Hoffman: Are you?
Cruise: (Long pause) No
This didn’t happen — but I was expecting it to, I kinda got the feeling that the producers suddenly brainstormed (probably with himself) “that, hey, you know – Cruise — well, he’s married! Let’s show a movie where he’s constantly fawning over his new wife, overplay the sentimentality and overempthaise just how much Cruise, I mean Hunt, is really in love with his wife!”
I mean, com’on — we get it! He loves his wife! The movie isn’t about Hoffman, his plot, or the villians, or the team, or (unlike the first part of this trilogy, Hunt) — it’s about his god-damn wife!
Apart from this “fourth wall” factor, MI:III is impressive. It is a resounding and definite improvement over John Woo’s collection of tired action clichs that made up Mission:Impossible II and is on a par with the first one, with much a much better arsneal of action, stunts and impressively used CGI.
Hoffman just isn’t in this movie enough for me. What were his motives? Money, power, glory? The main bad guy of the movie is introduced as a “turncoat”, but you can spot him within minutes of seeing him on screen.
There’s a crucial scene where Hoffman “kills” Hunt’s wife and makes Hunt think he’s won — but what REALLY ruins this whole part is that the turncoat comes into the room and starts blabbing about everything. BUT Hunt never suspected him, Hoffman made Hunt believe he had won — THERE IS NO REASON for the turncoat to be even in the same room, let alone talk to him about how the death of his wife was staged!
The thing is the whole thing was built up, and built up and then they wrap everything up within 20 minutes. It was really frustrating for me as a viewer because this whole film felt like Cruise was just on cruise control and nothing really happened in the movie, except “Cruise loses wife, Cruise rescues wife. The end”.
JJ Abrams may be an accomplished director, but the movies are a totally different medium. The movie felt like it was the first part of a trilogy, or maybe Abrams thought he could slap on a “to be continued” and continue it in the next episode… except there can’t be a next episode Abrams!
Hoffman’s demise was very “slapped-on” for me, and I just didn’t connect with the movie.
In my opinion the storyline seems to be very thin, coupled with that is a cast of surplus characters with no background or history. This all gives the feeling that you are watching a selection of clips from other plots that really don’t seem to flow.
Take out all the stunts that we’ve already seen hundreds of times over in the trailers and TV spots and you essentially have a 2 hour episode of Alias.
My problem with MI:III isn’t that it’s a summer blockbuster, but that it seems so … we’ll unforfilling. Sure, the stunts are great, the action is brilliant and some of the intimate scenes between Hunt and his wife are well done. The thing is they all just didn’t connect.
Another problem I had with MI:III is that it reeks of a Hollywood-type ending, and you can smell it a mile away. Why can’t Hollywood have the guts to say “let his wife die, this will give him reason to find Hoffman and kill him. Moreso, we’ll make it so that the whole mission is actually impossible because even if he wins, he actually loses”… but instead, we just get the same old Hollywoood action adventure yarn that although good, lacks the sparkle, the edge, the wow factor to make it great.
Overall: Leave brain at door.
My Rating: 6/10.