Mission: Impossible III Review

May 08, 2006 | 9:46am EDT

Just when he thought he was out they pull him back in. Recently retired Agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) now trains new IMF agents while maintaining a fairly normal life with his adorable--and very young--fiancé Julia (Michelle Monaghan). She has no idea what he really does or did for a living but she’s about to find out--the hard way. Ethan is called back to duty on a rescue mission when one of his trainees (Keri Russell) gets trapped in the field forcing him to cross paths with a nasty arms dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Things then turn personal when Davian swears vengeance against everything Ethan holds dear. So now on top of everything else Ethan--along with his crack team (Ving Rhames Jonathan Rhys Meyers Maggie Q)--has to go rogue to rescue his lady love. Geez the guy just can’t catch a break. No matter how overexposed Cruise is these days there really is no denying his onscreen charisma. He is perhaps one of the last true-blue movie screen idols. But it’s also nice to see Cruise handle the emotional side of being a secret agent. He shows Ethan’s internal strife in M:i III--the constant struggle of being damn good at his job and desperately wanting a normal happy life devoid of daredevil stunts masks and guns. Hoffman on the other hand--who usually plays weirdos and wimps--must have been tickled pink to get a chance to play this sort of villain. Although he is a tad more bark than bite in M:i III he definitely gives great face. And he gets to beat the crap outta Tom Cruise. What could be more fun than that? The rest of the cast fills in nicely: M:I veteran Rhames as Ethan’s stalwart right-hand man; Billy Crudup and Laurence Fishburne as IMF’s corporate honchos; and for a little comic relief Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg as an IMF tech-head. He gets all the best lines. J.J. baby you are definitely on a roll. In his first attempt at feature film director and co-writer J.J. Abrams the same young buck who brought us TV’s Alias and Lost pretty much hits the nail on the head with his M:I vision. He’s obviously had practice working within the whole spy milieu with Alias so taking it big screen probably wasn’t as difficult for him. Of course M:i III isn’t without faults. Abrams’ intent is to bring a human quality to secret agent Ethan Hunt but in doing so the story lapses a bit into the over sentimental. Thankfully there is plenty of action which comes at us fast and furious--from the dark and jumbled such as a helicopter chase through windmills to the death-defying such as freefalling from a skyscraper to land on another and slide down its glassy exterior performed by the leading man. Personally I think Cruise is just an adrenaline junkie but hey it makes for great cinema.

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