By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Two Beers) –
Retired field agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is lured back into action for one last mission, to rescue Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell), an agent who was captured while was investigating arms dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The rescue doesn’t go as planned, and Ethan sets out to discover the truth about Davian. Hunt finds Davian in Italy, attempting to acquire an object known as the “Rabbit’s Foot”, and sets out on a mission to take Davian down, and take the Rabbit’s Foot.
Not this kind of rabbit…
Director J.J. Abrams created a rare third series film which eclipses its predecessors in nearly every way. The storyline isn’t as brainy and twisted as the original; however, is also far easier to follow. The film ignores straightforward action approach of the second Mission Impossible, but without sacrificing its faster pacing. In essence, Abrams took the most effective elements from Brian DePalma’s movie, and mixed them with the crowd-pleasing aspects of John Woo’s film. Perhaps the film’s biggest asset is that the action scenes are shot without the heavy use of the shaky-cam that has come to dominate modern action movies. There is never any doubt where the action is taking place, who is shooting/hitting who, and why.
In addition to the advance in film-craft, MI:3 utilizes an excellent supporting cast, some returning from prior films (Ving Rhames) and some brand new (Simon Pegg and Laurence Fishburne), all who are given chances to elevate the film beyond mere spy dreck. Tom Cruise is at his workmanlike best, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a truly menacing character. Hoffman’s turn as the arms dealer Davian is one of the best characters of his career, at times calm and collected, at others vicious and sadistic. Davian is a villain in love with himself, and at ease with violence to the point of sexual arousal…
While there is no doubt that J.J. Abrams knows how to shoot an effective action scene, some of the plot points in the movie reach a degree of silliness which the gritty photography throws into sharp contrast. There is also a degree of over-familiarity to the plot, in which Ethan is betrayed by a superior and has to go Rogue to clear his name. This is essentially the same plot as the first Mission Impossible film, and the trend would be continued in Brad Bird’s sequel Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. This complaint is far-outpaced by the excellent craft and clever writing of both films, hopefully in the series’s future installments they’ll see fit to recycle something other than plot-lines…
People, for instance…
A well-paced and suspenseful spy flick, criminally underrated due to Tom Cruise’s unfortunate public image of the time.
Take a Drink: for J.J. Abrams’s trademarked “Lens Flares”
Take a Drink: each time someone mentions the “Rabbit’s Foot”
Do a Shot: for shots of Tom Cruise running and/or climbing something