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Movie Review: Mission: Impossible III
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Mission: Impossible IIIMission: Impossible III
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Starring Tom Cruise, Michelle Monaghan, Ving Rhames, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Crudup
Paramount Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 126 minutes
Release Date: May 5, 2006

In Mission: Impossible III, Tom Cruise returns as IMF Secret Agent Ethan Hunt to face his deadliest foe yet Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an international weapons and information dealer — and as second sequel law dictates, if it’s not in 3-D, then this time it’s personal.

The opening sequence shows Ethan and his love, Julia (Michelle Monaghan), captured and bound by the villainous Davian, who’s threatening to kill the couple unless Hunt hands over the “Rabbit’s Foot.” It doesn’t look good for our hero, but hold on, you’ll have to wait an hour to find out what happens while the movie flashes back a few days to the “good” stuff: Ethan and Julia’s engagement party!

The once-super-spy Ethan Hunt — now retired from active duty, living a quiet life while working as a trainer for new recruits at IMF (though Julia believes he’s a geeky traffic patterns anaylist!) — is coerced out of retirement to save his former trainee (Keri Russell) who’s been captured by Davian. Along for the rescue are team members Declan (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), Luther Strickell (Ving Rhames), and Zhen (Maggie Q); while back at HQ are IMF Operations Director Musgrave (Billy Crudup) and IMF Director Brassell (Laurence Fishburne). But one of these players may or may not be a traitor. Too bad by the time you find out, you just don’t give a shit.

As an action-adventure big-budget spy flick, M:I:III has it all: helicopter chases, massive explosions, rapid-fire machine gunning, death-defying feats, and, of course, espionage. The team travels far and wide in a matter of days without jet leg or lost luggage; equipment never fails, ammo never runs out. All of that I can swallow, but ask me to believe that Hoffman is a major badass? I don’t think so. Looking back at all the obstacles Agent Hunt has faced, it’s hard to believe the chubby, monotone Davian would be much of a challenge to him.

And so what if major action moments are completely glossed over? Show me the math! For instance, Hunt must make a dangerous rooftop jump to access the building where the elusive “Rabbit’s Foot” is contained. We get to see Hunt literally working out the equations to figure out how to execute the jump, yet we’re not shown how he obtained the “Rabbit’s Foot”! And what is the “Rabbit’s Foot” again and why is it so sought after? Don’t worry about that, maybe Laurence Fishburne will tell you some time. But for now, roll that beautiful opening sequence again!

But honestly, Tom Cruise really does make it all worth it. He’s a believable action hero. When he runs a mile across town in minutes to save someone, you know he can. When he traverses car hoods and rooftops with ease, you know he can. And when he does super heroic jumps and maneuvers, you absolutely know he can.

So, here’s my suggestion for “Mission: Impossible: IV” — Mission: Space (because Part IV is always in space). Dispense with the unnecessaries by simply having Cruise navigate through a 90-minute pyro-laden obstacle course while dodging enemy fire…in space. No plot, no dialogue, no supporting cast — just a fully equipped Tom Cruise kickin ass on a horde of expendable enemy hunchmen. Now that’s believable.

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