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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 Rob Gonsalves

"Undistinguished, incomprehensible; Hoffman sells out."
2 stars

Those who've seen 1999's 'Magnolia,' where angelic Philip Seymour Hoffman pleaded with demonic Tom Cruise to reconnect with his dying father, might watch the two of them in 'Mission: Impossible III' with a trace of amusement.

Here, Cruise is the angel -- secret agent Ethan Hunt -- and Hoffman, fresh from his Oscar win for Capote, is the blandly contemptuous weapons dealer Owen Davian (sounds like Damien -- anti-Christ?). As the movie kicks off, Ethan is in shackles and Davian, his gun pointed at the head of Ethan's wife (Michelle Monaghan), demands to know where "the Rabbit Foot" is. We don't, at first, have any idea what the Rabbit Foot is. We don't, when the film is over, have any idea either.

Despite the presence of Hoffman (who more or less phones in Davian's flaccid megalomania) and the usual slick cast -- returning M:I vet Ving Rhames, plus Laurence Fishburne for Matrix cred, Jonathan Rhys Myers for indie cred, and Simon Pegg for Shaun of the Dead fans -- this is easily the weakest of the missions impossible. Which is saying a lot, since I didn't care for the previous two, either. But at least the first one (1996, Brian De Palma) and the second (2000, John Woo) seemed to be following an interesting template: hire a flamboyant action/suspense master and let him loose on a big-budget spy flick. Here, Cruise and his coproducer Paula Wagner have hired J.J. Abrams, creator of such appointment TV as Lost and Alias (and Felicity, whose star Keri Russell dutifully puts in ten minutes here as one of Ethan's rookie agents).

Abrams can assemble sleek entertainment and tell a story cleanly, but I found myself oddly nostalgic for the previous entries, which were proudly incomprehensible but at least had style -- De Palma's split-screen paranoia, Woo's doves fluttering above fiery explosions. Mission: Impossible III hustles well and, to use a David Denby trope, "moves the metal" -- but without an outsize directorial vision it looks even more like sub-007 than the others did. Ethan's mission is to secure the Rabbit Foot to save his wife, but we don't believe in their love any more than we bought Cruise and Emmanuelle Béart or Cruise and Thandie Newton. Abrams attempts to ground their relationship in the convivial reality of an engagement party, but that only underscores the absurdity that she thinks he "studies traffic patterns" instead of covertly looking for Rabbit Feet.

There's a nice, quick little fight scene in an elevator that makes dynamic use of the tiny space. It's the only moment we sense any real physical engagement with the thrills. Elsewhere, it's all kaboom and CGI. Once again, Cruise dons a cutting-edge mask to pose as his nemesis, though Hoffman can scarcely be bothered to act like Tom Cruise acting like Hoffman. Give Cruise credit -- he works hard in these movies, like an extremely conscientious quarterback making sure all his teammates get a good piece of the play. But this is still a star-quarterback movie, though it makes a little more of an effort to abide by the original TV show's ensemble format. In the end, Ethan's mission is the only one. There's never a moment where we feel the movie could easily branch off and follow, say, Ving Rhames' character arc -- poor, thrice-underused Ving Rhames -- and the film's halfhearted nod to equal-opportunity mayhem, in the form of an agent played by Irish-Vietnamese actress Maggie Q, ends up as equal-opportunity uselessness.

At one point, Simon Pegg (also wasted as the standard-issue dithering Brit) speculates that the Rabbit Foot might be some deadly bit of tech known as "the Anti-God Compound." Whoa! A MacGuffin that can actually take down God. No, it's really just something that can lay waste to everything -- "buildings, children, ice-cream parlors," as Pegg explains. It rides around in a glass tube marked by a nuclear symbol. It's implied that Davian wants to sell it to Middle Eastern terrorists, but then he visits the Vatican -- to meet with contacts, we're told. So ... the Pope wants the bomb? As before, Mission: Impossible III is geopolitically loopy, but it's also the first to come out post-9/11, and its apolitical blitheness -- some terror must be stopped, y'know, somewhere -- doesn't play as well as it did in 1996 or 2000.

Maybe it's time for spy movies to go the way of westerns and musicals. I for one wouldn't miss them much.

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originally posted: 01/11/07 09:59:08
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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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