01/06/2006. Contributed by Frank Ochieng
In the exhilarating and explosive action-packed flick Mission: Impossible III, our Frank sees Cruise takes another roller-coaster ride as IMF agent Ethan Hunt for the third time around. The verdict is swift and crafty: the adrenaline rush that is M:I:3 is convincingly enjoyable-MISSION accomplished.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
As the summer of 2006 approaches, moviegoers will be begging for bigger-than-life escapist entertainment to conquer the box office doldrums. Although screen star Tom Cruise has been the considerable subject matter of entertaining water cooler talk lately with his real life tabloid exploits it's refreshing to see that one half of "TomKat" can still deliver the knockout punch on the big screen. In the exhilarating and explosive action-packed flick Mission: Impossible III, Cruise takes another roller-coaster ride as IMF agent Ethan Hunt for the third time around. The verdict is swift and crafty: the adrenaline rush that is M:I:3 is convincingly enjoyable-MISSION accomplished.
Director/co-writer J.J. Abrams (co-creator and executive producer of ABC-TV's "Alias" and "Lost") pours on the heavy-handed charm with this frenetic fable that is shameless in its hedonistic overindulgence. Stylish, flashy and brashly kinetic, M:I:3 will sure give a jolt to the imagination of action-oriented enthusiasts. Obviously, M:I:3 is based on the classic 60's CBS-TV espionage series.
Abrams does a considerable job helming his surging entry by beefing up the proceedings with his own carousing touch. With glamorous locales, exaggerated stunts, transportation-induced chase scenes and gadget-friendly intrigue, M:I:3 delivers the big guns. As for Abrams, he certainly doesn't take a backseat to the likes of previous Mission: Impossible overseers Brian De Palma and John Woo.
Granted M:I:3 has its implausible and far-fetched moments. Nevertheless, Abrams and his fellow screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman instil the "fun" in the fundamentals of an overactive actioner-exhaustive thrills, slick production values, impish personalities and posh settings. More important, Abrams and company never underestimates their audience and realizes how essential his pulsating popcorn pleaser is when involving Cruise's Hunt and his resilient IMF comrades through the excitable escapades.
Agent Ethan Hunt is at a crossroads in the spying game. In fact he's about to become domesticated. Hunt considers exchanging vows with his personal Florence Nightingale girlfriend/nurse Julia (Michelle Monaghan). Julia has no idea about Hunt's professional obligations. Even though Hunt wants to throw in the towel regarding his covert commitments, he's encouraged to undertake one more mission by his inquiring superiors. The mission: to rescue a periled agent (Kerri Russell from WB-TV's "Felicity").
It doesn't take long for Hunt and his IMF cohorts (Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Declan and Hong Kong action superstar Maggie Q as Zhen) to wreak havoc in Berlin while the drama unfolds. This whole episode doesn't sit well with Hunt's supervising boss (Laurence Fishburne). Still, Hunt has more fish to fry and engages in an operation in the Vatican concerning roguish arms dealer Owen Davian (played with menacing panache by "Capote" Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman). Instantly, Davian and Hunt are sworn enemies and thrown into the mix are chaotic subplots involving an ominous weapon known as "the rabbit's foot" (a.k.a. The MacGuffin) and the kidnapping of Hunt's beloved Julia at the hands of the psychotic Davian.
There's so much stuffing in the appetizing turkey that is the stimulating Mission: Impossible III. Everything that is colourful in Abrams's frothy enterprise is magnified by the array of shootouts, rooftop leaps and bounds, automobile aerobics and expansive items that go BOOM! Also, the outlandish antics of watching the IMF personnel partake in the "suspending belief" of making these incredible masks and altering voice patterns is downright silly but strangely transfixing. While M:I:3 runs the risk of becoming maddening due to its nonsensical technological trickery, one cannot help but feel lost in the magical moments of its structured mayhem.
No doubt that M:I:3 is the prototypical blueprint for the action spy genre. Enthusiastically, Abrams revs up the proceedings and looks to top other standard actioners thus fortifying M:I:3 with its own distinctive robust verve. There are, however, a few minor considerations worth mulling over. First, we're short-changed by the contributions of the IMF team as their roles are usurped by the high stakes callisthenics of Cruise's Ethan Hunt.
Surprisingly, we hardly can sink our teeth into the vibes of Hoffman's naughty-minded Davian or Fishburne's exasperated supervisor. Their screen time is so limited despite the inviting promise of their animated characterizations. Although gleefully villainous as the movie's first-rate heel, Hoffman should have been front and centre more often than not.
Overall, Mission: Impossible 3 strikes the right chord as Cruise and company skate so skilfully in the cinematic 3-D spy business: daring, dangerous and dollar-hungry.
© 2006 Frank Ochieng