So I watched Mission Impossible III…
Whoa! I forgot how entertaining and fun this movie is. I think Mission Impossible II was an unsuccessful gamble and I’m glad that new director – J.J. Abrams – brought this movie back to its action roots and made it into a cool, fun action-spy movie.
Okay, basic plot: Ethan Hunt is back! Actually he isn’t really, he’s retired from the field and now spends his time training agents and picking out centre pieces with his fiancee, Julia Meade (Michelle Monaghan). But obviously this can’t last and Ethan has to return to the field to stop Owen Davian – a black market dealer who’s intent on finding and selling The Rabbit’s Foot. OH nooooo!!! Not the Rabbit’s Foot! Um…does anyone know what The Rabbit’s Foot actually is? Because they never explain it…um, let’s just assume it’s SUPER BAD! *cue theme music*
This movie is high octane from the very first scene. Owen Davian (played to absolute perfection by Phillip Seymour Hoffman) has Ethan and Julia captive and is torturing Julia in an attempt to make Ethan tell him where The Rabbit’s Foot is. I really enjoy it when movies start like this, that is, at the end. They plunge you deep into the action and then explain things as the film goes on. It immediately raises the stakes and pulls you into the story. Owen Davian is such an engaging and menacing villain and showing us what he’s capable of in the very first scene is utter brilliance.
Davian’s intensity is only possible due to a truly exceptional performance from Phillip Seymour Hoffman. There were times when I was watching him and I was reminded of Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. Owen Davian isn’t as well written as The Joker was but there’s this intentional intensity and quiet furiousity that Hoffman brings to the role that mirrored the spirit Ledger brought to The Joker. Both characters are masterminds and have this nonchalant, cavalier composure, even in the face of certain doom, that I found amazing to watch. I’m not saying Hoffman deserved an Oscar for this role or that his performance is equal to that of Ledger’s but I think in terms of commitment and purposefulness, the two are comparable.
I also need to give Tom Cruise a tip of the hat. You know what I like about Tom Cruise? He isn’t an actor who’s going to win an Oscar anytime soon but he brings a spirit and authenticity to every character he plays. Watching Cruise, not only in his movies but also in interviews, you get the sense that he’s a man of great focus and determination and he brings these qualities to every role. This movie probably has the best acting he’s done as Ethan Hunt. He perfectly portrays the desperation and recklessness that the character experiences in this movie and it’s great to see.
Speaking of things that are great to see – the action in this movie is top class. This movie regains one of the qualities I felt it lost, and desperately needed, from the original – the heist element. There’s a part in this movie where Ethan and his team have to kidnap Davian from The Vatican and it’s honestly one of my favourite heist sequences from any movie. The planning and execution are amazing to behold. There are also big action sequences in this movie that are amazing to watch. Things go boom, bullets get fired, Ethan kicks ass – it feels like a return to the true spirit of The Mission Impossible franchise.
Overall, this movie is a home-run. Abrams brings the film back to what it’s supposed to be – an entertaining action thriller with espionage thrown in, unfortunately the movie seems to run out of steam by its third act but it’s still an exhilarating ride. Definitely worth a watch. 8/10