Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Mission: Impossible III
May 5, 2006
125 min
United States (English)

Directed by J.J. Abrams
Written by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

J.J. Abrams has slammed the defibrillators on the "Mission: Impossible" series and given us one of the best action films of the new millennium. Series' semantics feel fresh in this visceral extravaganza.

Not unlike a Tarantino film, "Mission: Impossible III" starts in the middle of the story. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tied to a chair. Owen Davian (played by Phillip Seymore Hoffman - who is far and away the best villain in the entire series) holds a gun to the head of Hunt's wife, inquiring about something called the "rabbit foot." I vividly remember first seeing this opening in theaters. The handheld camera, the sheer desperation on Hunt's face, the grit, the sweat... It's "Mission: Impossible" like we've never seen it before. Davion pulls the trigg- BANG! That thrilling theme from Lalo Schifrin gets us ready for an adrenalin call... or does it?

"Mission: Impossible" mixes frenetic action and quiet drama with its strong lead characters, something writer/director J.J. Abrams previously did with "LOST," a series that captured the interest of millions for over half a decade. The relationship between Ethan and Julia (Michelle Monaghan) stands in the forefront as an IMF agent struggles to keep his work secret from his wife. Trust. After Ethan messes with Davian, a dangerous black market dealer, she gets dragged into his world wether he wanted it or not.

The film boasts one elaborate stage after another. Besides attempting to make Palm Springs pass as Berlin, the film shows off sequences in the Vatican and Shanghai.  One is an elaborate infiltration scene bringing back the series' mask and some new toys. The other remains largely unseen by us, which I like in 2006 and still like in 2012. Even as the film ends and the "rabbit foot" remains a McGuffin (with winking from the filmmakers) I was not in the least bit dissatified because it was a pitch-perfect ride.


CONTENT: intense action and violence, some sensuality

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