Mission Impossible III – Movie Review

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Since I’m getting to this review so late, probably those of you who intended to see M:I:III have already seen it, so I’m writing this more for us. Spoilers aplenty! So look out if you haven’t yet had the M:I:III experience. I definitely enjoyed this installment in the series, arguably the best of the three. However, being the dedicated Alias-watcher that I am, nothing was that fresh for me. As most probably know, M:I:III was directed and co-written by J.J. Abrams (creator of Alias). From the spectacular reality-defying stunts, high-tech super-gadgetry, undercover party-crashing, heat-of-the-moment banter and globe-spanning locales, to the “home life of a spy” when Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt hopes to enjoy his engagement party without being called out for a secret back-to-back conversation with his handler in the convenience store—it’s all textbook Alias. (They even had Simon Pegg as the techy nerd—your basic British equivalent to Alias’s Marshall.)

The movie was a good, solid action flick overall, but a number of smaller things really distracted me. One of my big pet peeves is bad Cantonese. Maggie Q’s delivery at the Vatican reception was not as bad as Tia Carrere in Wayne’s World, but if a secret agent is using bad Cantonese to pass herself off as a foreigner, the bad guys should see right through it—maybe Davian’s translator really was that sloppy.

Did anyone else feel like Michelle Monaghan as Julia was just a Katie Holmes stand-in? Let’s see: much younger, cute, dark-brown hair…was it Holmes’s pregnancy that got in the way of her taking that role? I found the coincidence extremely distracting and felt like Cruise was validating his own relationship by producing a facsimile of it on-screen.

Next, I have 3 words for you: “the eye thing”. The skewed eyeball effect that happened when Keri Russell’s character was killed was so off-putting, that when Ethan Hunt’s brain bomb was activated, I didn’t care if he lived or died as long as I didn’t have to see his eyes screw up—eww!

Lastly, the whole movie was already beyond unbelievable, so why would they have Ethan Hunt die and be revived? It’s one of those plot resolutions that aren’t very believable. (Plus, it’s not even the first Cruise resurrection. He already did it at the end of Far and Away!)

Despite all that griping, I thought that Philip Seymour Hoffman was an excellent villain. He kept the moustache-twirling to a minimum, but he was still scary in his willingness to kill. The supporting team was good and the stunt sequences were very well choreographed. Even that cheesy Mission Impossible standard—the latex mask—was done pretty well. I’m really excited about cool producer types like J.J. Abrams bringing new life to old franchises. Next he sets out to dust off those phasers for the new Star Trek movie—I cannot wait! (4 out or 5)

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