Mission Impossible 3 - Review
Review by Jack Foley
LOST creator JJ Abrams has turned what seemed like a Mission: Improbable two years ago into a barnstorming action thriller that easily surpasses the first two films in the series.
Mission Impossible 3 is a summer blockbuster that positively crackles with energy. It boasts some spectacular carnage, a leading man (Tom Cruise) at the top of his game, a super-villain (Philip Seymour Hoffman) that’s every bit his equal, and a director who has clearly relished the opportunity to step into the big league.
Abrams is hitherto best known as the co-creator of TV hits Alias and Lost but having been given his own mission impossible to rescue a directorless franchise (after both David Fincher and Joe Carnahan had bailed), he duly serves notice of his exceptional talents.
The film opens with a thunderbolt as elusive arms dealer Owen Davian (Hoffman) has IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) strapped to a chair, battered and bruised, with a gun aiming at his new wife, Julia’s head (Michelle Monaghan). In the five skillfully executed minutes that follow before the world renowned Mission Impossible theme tune kicks in Abrams establishes just why he is becoming such a sought-after talent. His audience is hooked immediately.
Having opened on such a high, Abrams seldom allows the pace to flag. We next see Hunt at his engagement party, seemingly smitten and retired from active duty, before being lured back into the field as part of a rescue operation to retrieve a female IMF agent he helped to train.
The rescue doesn’t go as planned so Hunt resolves to go after the elusive arms dealer responsible for the agent’s capture (Davian), launching an audacious kidnap attempt at The Vatican in Rome.
Though successful, the operation merely serves to set a bigger plan into play that eventually places Hunt at the mercy of Davian’s vengeful villain and faced with finding a traitor in his midst.
Joining him in this quest is returning agent Ving Rhames, as well as newcomers Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Maggie Q and, er, Simon Pegg, as well as IMF bosses Billy Crudup and Laurence Fishburne.
As complicated as proceedings become, however, Abrams consistently breaks up the intrigue with some downright amazing set pieces. The Vatican kidnap is supremely well executed, fun to watch and exciting, while Davian’s escape from IMF captivity on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge offers one of the most exhilarating sequences in recent memory.
Yet Abrams still manages to find time for his actors and provides audiences with a set of characters worth caring about. As such, new IMF members Rhys Meyers and Pegg register strongly, while Hoffman’s scene-stealing villain offers a role model of ruthless efficiency. Indeed, one of the film’s biggest criticisms is that there’s not more of him.
Abrams also has fun tossing in film references, with the likes of True Lies, James Bond and Jason Bourne regularly sampled and occasionally trumped.
Come the inevitable race against time conclusion, however, Abrams loses his grip slightly and succumbs to an overly sappy finale that feels a little out of keeping with what’s come before. But that’s a small price to pay for such a rip-roaring experience that offers viewers a near-perfect way to get lost for a couple of hours.
Running time: 2hrs 5mins