Mission: Impossible III aka M:i:III
Director: JJ Abrams
Starring: Tom Cruise, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Simon Pegg, Maggie Q, Billy Crudup, Keri Russell, Laurence Fishburne,
That look in your eyes is pain in my ass, you know that, right?
While Mission: Impossible II was a big success financially, time didn't do it favors and distance made people think much less of it. It wasn't for another 6 long years that we would see Ethan Hunt take on another impossible mission. When he did so, it brought with them JJ Abrams, who had been making his take in the world of television for better part of the 00s decade at the time. With Mission: Impossible having its roots in television, why not bring on Abrams to lead this ship and correct the journey.
With JJ Abrams we get yet another director playing in his sandbox, even if this was his feature film debut. He had recently been doing a serial spy show on television called Alias. If you've seen the show before, its not hard to see that Mission: Impossible III is one big giant "Season in 2 hours" of that show. Not only from the spy action and the like, but this film actually opens up Ethan Hunt's life and lets us see who he is outside of his missions. The previous films have had us on his side, but we knew nothing more about him than we did the impossible tasks with which he was partaking. There are also JJ Abrams regulars (Keri Russell, Greg Grunberg) to add to the auteur flare.
Having not seen Rogue Nation, one place where Mission: Impossible is king over the other films in the series is that this one has the strongest and best villain of the entire series. It helps a little when you have a master thespian in the role such as Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Plus, stuff gets a little personal in this one. I had never imagined PSH as such a menace (though he was good in Punch Drunk Love), but this one took it to new levels of being vile and ruthless. I also love him and Tom Cruise going mano-y-mano in the finale.
We get a new team assembled in this film, which proves a lot more colorful and spitting with genuine personality than the previous films. Well, Jonathan Rhys-Myers is about as vanilla as they come, but the others are great. Maggie Q is stunning and is able to handle the espionage spy stuff as well as action. Simon Pegg is Simon Pegg. He's got a presence you're expecting and he delivers. Once again Ving Rhames "Luther" returns, but this time you get a much more fun long time feeling budding friendship feeling with him and Ethan Hunt.
This is a terrific spy-espionage-action film. It was seen as some sort of disappointment for a myriad of reasons that didn't quite have anything to do with the film. Sure, it did not make its budget back domestically but made just a hair shy of $400 million worldwide. The film was a definite step up and improvement over the second one and got it back to what the series was supposed to be from the outset of the first one. But, Tom Cruise's couch antics, Scientology, Katie Holmes relationship and a bunch of garbage clouded what a terrific film this was. Its also the last film that wasn't a comic book superhero movie to kick off the summer movie-going season. I'm a big fan of this movie and I hope many have come around on it over the last 9 years.
NEXT TIME: More colons in the title!