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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.14%
Worth A Look41.73%
Average: 17.27%
Pretty Bad: 15.83%
Total Crap: 5.04%

12 reviews, 67 user ratings

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Mission: Impossible III
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by brianorndorf

"Summer entertainment done perfectly."
5 stars

“Mission: Impossible 3” furthers the Tom Cruise edict that no film in the franchise will look and feel like the others. Writer/director J.J. Abrams steps up to the plate in a big way with this sublime summer action movie, instilling the film with a larger sense of emotion and a grittier feeling of mayhem. If this is how summer 2006 is going to start, it’s going to be a sweet four-month ride.

Former IMF superspy, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), now only trains new agents and enjoys a tender relationship with a doctor (Michelle Monaghan) who is blissfully unaware of his day job. When one of his trainees (Keri Russell) falls into danger engineered by slithery weapons dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Ethan assembles a team (Ving Rhames, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Maggie Q) to retrieve her. What should’ve been an effortless rescue mission goes horribly wrong, putting Ethan and his private life in the middle of a war to gain control of a deadly biological weapon.

Full disclosure: I treasure John Woo’s “Mission: Impossible II.” That’s an opinion bound to kick sand in the face of a lot of readers, but I just can’t help myself. “Mission II” is such a charmingly berserk, completely unreasonable motion picture that it gleefully crosses the invisible line into pure lunacy; free of restraints, yet respectful of avoiding all out anarchy.

Tom Cruise had the right idea to give each “Mission” a singular directorial flavor, and Woo took this dare with his typical baroque flair, directly counteracting the slick, static Euro thrills of Brian De Palma’s original film with his own brand of glorious, screwball stupefaction. It was a night at the opera, and I ate up every single note, leaving the theater with a dopey grin I’m still unable to wipe away six years later.

At least appreciating what “Mission II” was trying to achieve gooses the experience of watching “Mission III.” Marking the feature film directing debut of television mastermind J.J. Abrams (“Alias,” “Lost,” “Felicity”), the small screen vet spins another new secret agent flavor with this latest installment, funneling all those hard fought years of spy and suspense stories into this wildly entertaining gorilla of a film.

Right from the opening frames (a heart-stopping flash forward to the final confrontation), Abrams declares that the primitive hero worship of Woo’s “Mission” has been completely abandoned. “Mission III” is a brutal, resourceful, edgy thriller, reminiscent of De Palma’s original espionage game of double-dutch, but taking the franchise deeper into character development and pure, bountiful spy thrills. While a respected television director, it’s still hard to believe this is Abrams’s first big screen film; there’s an awe-inspiring confidence and trust in the audience here that many established filmmakers still haven’t a clue how to achieve.

Abrams wants the audience to get in cozy with Ethan; to feel the man’s satisfaction with a romantic partner and family life that he’s never had before. Abrams strives early in the film to convey a sense of stability that Ethan’s globetrotting IMF situation would never allow, and how much it kills him inside to leave his woman. Through tremendous, beautifully internalized work from Cruise (his best “Mission” performance to date), the character is given a peaceful mind and a worrisome soul to go along with his expected “Lil’ Terminator” violent side. Abrams pays careful attention to Cruise’s silences to help give the actor an opportunity to express Ethan’s conflicted heart, as well as give the role something the other films always fumbled: a realistic love life.

Once emotional attachment has been established, Abrams wastes no time getting to the gritty action bonanzas. “Mission III” has its fair share of exploding cars, gun fights, and shattered glass, but the action is much more abrasive this time out, and you feel every punch and kick along with the characters. With a villain who looks like he might actually eat a baby if provoked, and stunt set pieces that put Ethan and the team into heightened, but still believable situations of danger (a mid-movie bridge attack is a personal favorite), “Mission” achieves a rare verisimilitude that Woo’s film’s deliberately ignored and De Palma wasn’t interested in. Of course, this is still a big, juicy Hollywood fat cat production; but good heavens, the feeling that Ethan might not make it becomes a real, honest-to-God concern as the tension mounts with unsettling speed.

Cruise doesn’t carry the weight alone, surrounding himself with talent than ranges from reliably firm (Laurence Fishburne as Ethan’s boss) to a little baffling (Billy Crudup as a colleague and Keri Russell as a bad mofo agent), to Hoffman’s steamrolling villain work, which doesn’t really factor into the film as much as it appears to in the marketing. Abrams is less sure what to do with Davian, but Hoffman makes his moments sizzle by using a cocksure attitude of sleepy, irritated menace to demonstrate Davian’s wrath, instead of going the usual screamy route.

Also interesting is to see a “Mission: Impossible” story that enjoys actual teamwork to complete the assignments. Sure, this is still the Tom Cruise show, but Abrams allows the team to play a bigger role in the action, which takes the gang to Berlin, Shanghai, and includes an amusing body switcheroo (with those incredible masks) interlude at the Vatican.

To see an enormous studio franchise like this consciously change shape and focus with each installment is nothing short of a cinematic miracle. Abrams and Cruise have taken some tonal gambles with “Mission: Impossible III,” and they’ve managed to find an even richer side of Ethan Hunt’s story to tell, avoiding a sense of droopy finality that typically accompanies trilogy closers.

This is a divine, rollicking, fingernail-chewing action thriller, and kicks off the abnormally diverse summer 2006 moviegoing season with a deafening roar.

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originally posted: 05/05/06 02:00:04
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User Comments

12/17/18 Ajp wales 1st is still the best. 2nd is about toms hair and its condition at various times in the mov 3 stars
9/14/17 morris campbell action movie goodness 4 stars
7/23/12 cr not good as part 2 was, tom cruise performance keeps movie from sucking. 2 stars
3/15/09 R.W. Welch Best of the so-so series. A little too gimmicky but moves right along. B- 4 stars
2/05/09 Faraz J Atlast a name worthy of the title. Fun ride. As i say thats what a GOOD movie is. 4 stars
12/16/08 Random M:I3 = a Cruise at breakneck speed. Best of the trilogy. 5 stars
5/23/08 Charles Tatum Sleepy actioner, with a ridiculously bad finale 2 stars
5/17/07 Matt All 3 are shit. I haven't been able to watch one to the end. 1 stars
3/20/07 man best of the three 4 stars
2/04/07 AJ Muller Surprisingly entertaining mix of 1 and 2; superb popcorn flick. 4 stars
1/20/07 Monday Morning Hey...rabbit's foot. Ooooo...scary, kids! All action, minimal plot. 3 stars
1/10/07 Mike I was pleasantly surprised. GREAT movie!!! Non-stop action!!! 5 stars
1/10/07 Logan Bray Awsome movie definitly buy it 5 stars
12/19/06 Indrid Cold Not a waste of time, but nothing memorable. 3 stars
12/04/06 JeromeBosch Ostentatious pétard mouillé…no more fizz left in this franchise 3 stars
11/22/06 burp A damn slick and enjoyable action flick 4 stars
11/21/06 Austin Wertman WHAT DO YOU MEAN "WORTH A LOOK"? AWESOME MOVIE! 4 stars
11/21/06 mr.mike accept this "mission" - by far the best 5 stars
11/19/06 Jim Not bad, but ending is lame. Nice to see Shaun of the Dead has a new job. 4 stars
11/09/06 Anthony Feor I had a feeling I had saw this in the other two movies 3 stars
11/02/06 action movie fan good action in james bondish story--bridge scene is the best 4 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant Glad it's over. Bye, Cruisy-boy. Abrahms' directing is worth the cash to see this. 4 stars
7/16/06 scott watterman this movie sucked so much ass 1 stars
7/13/06 Gayblade Another ego vehicle for the man who likes shots showing him running. 2 stars
7/07/06 malcolm it's that easy to teach a doctor to use a handgun? 4 stars
6/25/06 Zed Absurd love story ruins the movie 2 stars
6/18/06 MP Bartley Clever script, good action and team-work for once. Hoffman steals the film predictably. 4 stars
5/29/06 Charlene Javier Loved it loved it loved it! 4 stars
5/28/06 Koitus "How" does being dead stop a nitroglycerine bomb? Also, improbable ending-mtg the IMF team. 3 stars
5/19/06 Staci This Mission features Tom at his sexy best! I give it 2 thumbs up! 5 stars
5/18/06 Quigley amazingly, tom didn't ruin it. hoffman was awesome, and so were the stunts and action 4 stars
5/18/06 michael average and wait for the DVD 3 stars
5/18/06 Gavin Bamber Will keep this series going ala Bond 4 stars
5/18/06 Alfred Guy Tom Cruise = not believable in any action role. 2 stars
5/17/06 Paddy Big bold, brash & beautiful! Dont agree with the review. Look for the padding he straps on! 5 stars
5/17/06 John Terrible acting except for Hoffmann - a real waste of time - 2 stars
5/16/06 Ole Man Bourbon TOM CRUISE OMG! I CAN'T GET ENOUGH!!! 3 stars
5/16/06 katinka poo 1 stars
5/15/06 Ethan Hunt Sucks Don't waste your money 1 stars
5/14/06 K. Pearlman Could not pay me enough to have to see this one.... 2 stars
5/12/06 ES I went and saw it; even though I hated the first two. It was terrific. 4 stars
5/11/06 Adrian A two hour Tom Cruise ad. Screw this shit. 1 stars
5/10/06 NoRefill I hated the last one, but his one was pretty exciting. A few stupid things, but forgivable. 4 stars
5/10/06 Paul action, acting, plot, fun, entertaining, great, money's worth, fun, funny, fine, frollick 5 stars
5/09/06 Aldo personally i didn't like 1 & 2 but this was way better - good cinema movie go & watch it 5 stars
5/09/06 Mase The "mission" series is getting seriously stale. Watchable but completly forgettable 3 stars
5/09/06 cpbjr much better than anticipated. 4 stars
5/09/06 y2mckay Great action and supporting cast, but too predictable and dead-set on a happy ending. 4 stars
5/09/06 zaw I mean, good guy need to loose sometime like a wife or g/f something. It was so perdicitbl 1 stars
5/08/06 jmelrose Awesome. Best of the 3. Great story, Internal corruption angle IS old, but minor issue. 5 stars
5/08/06 Nobody Way better than the first 2 5 stars
5/08/06 Blutarsky Matrix trilogy?? Feh. MI3 rocked the audience like a hurricane. 5 stars
5/08/06 Paul " Diddy" Sutherland Deep Plot miraculous action scenes and just a enough comedy to keep you engaged. 5 stars
5/08/06 sg72 Great action sequences but plot was nearly non-existent. 2 stars
5/07/06 Carol smart flick, exciting, fine acitng, colorful, for the discerning, passionate, big screen 5 stars
5/07/06 GoGo THIS was why sequels were invented. Best one so far! 5 stars
5/06/06 Philip Buckley-Mellor Borderline-perfect 5 stars
5/06/06 KingNeutron 2nd half was better than the 1st, but whole int.corruption thing has been done 2 death... 3 stars
5/06/06 al too much hype. worth a rental not a full movie price..... 3 stars
5/06/06 Eevil Wolfie Makes up for the wreck that was Mission Impossible 2. 4 stars
5/06/06 Dan This is a dumb movie for dumb people. 1 stars
5/06/06 k oh please.. this was NOT a good movie... 2 stars
5/06/06 Heather Runyan this movie was ok 3 stars
5/05/06 jcjs no brainer wonderful, fast, impossible delightful, wonderful acting, lost the plot, 2am 5 stars
5/05/06 Doc Hollywood An entertaining flick. Rather predictable ending. 4 stars
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  05-May-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 30-Oct-2006



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