Review by Mark Walters


The biggest criticism the first two MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies got was the lack of a "team" aspect to the story.  Those films seemed like little more than single character driven action stories spotlighting Tom Cruise.  Granted, Cruise is the big name in all three outings, and it's expected he would receive a majority of the screen time.  But fans of the classic television series remember everyone working together as a team, and there is no I in team.  MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3 had been talked about for the past few years, and changed hands with different directors and a multitude of scripts.  Now it's out, under the guidance of director J.J. Abrams, who proved himself capable of handling spy action with the hit TV series ALIAS.  Who better to bring a classic TV show to the big screen the right way than a proven creator of a current spy series?  The question is whether or not Abrams can revive the potential in this film series, which many have come close to giving up on.

The film begins by showing us an event that takes place much later in the story.  Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is tied to a chair, obviously incapacitated, while the villainous Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) holds a gun to his girlfriend Julia's (Michelle Monaghan) head.  Davian asks for something called the Rabbit's Foot, which Hunt seems confused over.  This scene culminates to a shocking end, and we're thrown right into opening credits.  Then we go back to a point before any of this took place.  Hunt and Julia are living a somewhat normal suburban lifestyle, enjoying a party with the neighborhood friends.  It isn't long before Ethan is called into action by a co-worker named Musgrave (Billy Crudup), and must assemble his team in order to rescue a captured agent he once trained.  When things go bad during the operation, Hunt becomes fixated on catching the man responsible for it all.  This leads him to Davian.  Ethan's boss Brassel (Laurence Fishburne) doesn't like his cavalier methods, and wants him and his team to be stopped from doing anything unauthorized.  Once Hunt and his crew nab Davian, things start looking up.  But there's a mole inside the agency, and very soon everyone finds themselves in danger that may be impossible to get out of.  Get it, impossible???

I'm happy to say that the spirit of the classic TV series is back with this outing.  No longer does Tom Cruise save the day on his own.  His entire team plays an important role in just about every action scene, and it's exactly the way these movies should be done.  J.J. Abrams has injected his own flare to the ALIAS-like storyline, complete with company traitors and numerous twists and turns.  The action is first rate too.  We're treated to one scene after another filled with adrenaline and suspense.  The exotic locales are in there too, like Hunt and his team infiltrating The Vatican, or hopping across the roofs of downtown Tokyo.  This one has got it all, and does a fine job of putting it together.  The supporting cast is great for the most part.  Ving Rhames is back again as Luther, the only team member to survive from the first two outings.  He gets a meatier role this time as well, assisting Ethan during all the important moments.  The other members of Hunt's team consist of the alluring Zhen (Maggie Q), and the tech-savvy Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who each get some nice moments in the script.  Keri Russell, who most will remember from FELICITY, shows up as one of Hunt's former IMF students that they try to rescue.  It's a different type of role for her, and she's pretty good in it.  Laurence Fishburne does well as the authoritative boss character, and Billy Crudup is effective as the company ally who constantly helps Ethan out.  Michelle Monaghan is also good as the unsuspecting Julia, even if the character seems like an unexpected addition to the storyline.  SHAUN OF THE DEAD's Simon Pegg has an extended cameo as an IMF computer nerd that assists Hunt's team on more than one occasion, and his appearances are funny and memorable without ever being too distracting.

Perhaps the only actor I wasn't blown away by was Hoffman, who looks menacing enough, but doesn't seem to get enough meat to his character.  He's just the token baddie here, and falls more into the background, which I found a little disappointing.  While the action scenes are great throughout, the film's finale is fairly simplistic, which isn't too bad of a thing, just a little surprising considering everything that comes before it.  Cruise is also good, playing his character a bit more vulnerable than in previous outings.  It's that depiction that makes Ethan Hunt a little more likable this time around.  He's not as cocky, and on more than one occasion shows genuine fear and emotion.  All in all this is a great action flick.  It's got everything you could want from a big summer movie, and all the qualities we're fond of from weekly television dramas.

In many ways it's a perfect blend for American audiences, and I for one was pleased with the end result.  Abrams most likely is the one we should applaud here.  He's shown us what he can do with spy stories on TV, and now he's proven that his formulas translate nicely on the big screen.  I sincerely hope he continues to direct movies, as I'm sure he has plenty of ideas left.  If you like ALIAS, you'll love this film.  If you like the MISSION IMPOSSIBLE television series, you'll enjoy this take.  Even if you're not crazy about Tom Cruise, I'd say it's possible you'll still like what's presented here.  It took them three times, but they finally got it right.

BIGFANBOY.com score - On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being best, I give MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3 a 9.

Visit the official Paramount Pictures MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3 movie website by clicking here.

Mission Impossible 3
Mission Impossible 3
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