"Mission: Impossible III"
Directed by J.J. Abrams.
Written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and J.J. Abrams.
VAGUELY based on the television show "Mission: Impossible."
Starring Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan and Philip
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 4/27/06
I got a freebie to catch "Mission:
Impossible III" tonight at a full-house multiplex downtown...let's
take a look at the tale of the tape:
Good: Written and directed by the team
that gave us the ABC show "Alias", "M:I-III" is in good hands as a
return to the team of spies route that this franchise is supposedly
founded upon. As such, the team of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise),
Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), and new agents Declan (Jonathan
Rhys-Meyers, most recently of "Match Point") and Zhen (Maggie Q)
make for a good time in this newest sequel, because they actually
operate as if their lives depend on each other. After killing
off the team in the opening sequence of the first movie in '95, Hunt
has worked solo and it has been fucking ridiculous. The TV
show never attempted to have the lead agent work like James Bond, so
at least they are trying to get back to the root of this thing.
Bad: The theme song written by Kanye
West that plays during the end credits. Seriously, you need to
stick around and listen to this song before leaving the theater;
it's maybe the only major misstep of West's recent three-year run at
the top of the game. Wow, that was dogshit. I think it
was called "Impossible", and it was trash.
Good: Getting a true character actor
to play the bad guy. Sure, in some ways this kind of work is
like a day off for recent Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, but
as arms dealer Owen Davian, Hoffman is comical because he seems like
he is channeling don't-give-a-shit nonchalance into his low-key bad
Bad: The romantic subplot featuring
Hunt and his fiancée, Julia (Michelle Monaghan, from last year's
Kiss Bang Bang"). Sorry, but after having his last
girlfriend get in trouble and captured by the bad guy in
can't BELIEVE Cruise signed off on a script that features literally
the exact same subplot in this sequel. Why do we feel the need
to follow Agent Hunt's personal life? I don't give a shit!
We don't watch these movies for character development...we watch
them to see good guys take down bad guys in bigger-than-life
situations. I don't care what kind of rings they want for
their fucking wedding!!!!!!!!!!
Good: The luck of the director's draw
by having J.J. Abrams (not only "Alias", but now "Lost") fall into
the production's lap. The first director that was officially
on-board with this project was David Fincher ("Se7en", "Fight
Club"); this would have been very cool to see what Fincher would
have done with this material, but ultimately this is summer movie
fare. Then, Joe Carnahan (the gritty cop drama
"Narc") was on-board;
that would have made the film darker and probably more violent, and
while I was intrigued with that too, it wouldn't have worked in the
long run. In the end, having Abrams doing a big-budget "Alias"
with better actors and real location sets in Italy, China and
Germany makes this a cinch for him. If you've even seen two
episodes of "Alias" and then you watch "M:I-III", you'll almost feel
like they are ripping "Alias" off.
Bad: Bad Script Move, Deux--having
ANOTHER IMF agent go bad for the good guys. Again, this is the
third film in the franchise, but why Abrams and his other writers
decided to once again have things go bad at the hands of someone
internally at the spy agency is beyond me. Aren't there enough
real bad guys in the world to not keep assuming that someone on the
inside must be guilty of something?
Good: Quality performers all around.
In bit parts, we get Keri Russell, from "Felicity"; Laurence
Fishburne as the new director at IMF; Simon Pegg from
of the Dead" playing the Marshall part from "Alias" with more
laughs and more gusto; and Billy Crudup, whose best work probably
came in "Almost Famous." I guess getting all of these players
is what happens when Tom Cruise calls you with a big budget and a
Bad: Probably a little too much
action. If these spies went in and didn't fire a single gun, I
still think I would enjoy the movie; if they went the route of a
film like "Sneakers", I think that people would still be happy if
the story was interesting. But, as it is, it's hard to come
down from the ridiculous gunplay from "M:I-2", so Hunt & Co. end up
killing a lot of bad guys to get their job done. Are these
guys Navy SEALs or buttoned-up CIA-ish agents? Even the
Fishburne character asks at one point, "There were twelve hostiles
in there, and you couldn't capture anybody??" So much for
taking the quiet approach!
Overall, I liked "M:I-III" because of the
acting, a stronger script and a return to teamwork. (I'll
admit--Maggie Q is a big factor here; STUNNING.) Given how
packed our freebie was tonight, there's a good chance that "M:I-III"
makes about $300 billion in its first week of release.
Maverick does it again...
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard