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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mission: Impossible III

-- Mission: Impossible Week --
Please note that all Mission: Impossible Week film reviews may contain spoilers related to both the film that is being reviewed and other films in the series.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Starring Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Simon Pegg, Eddie Marsan, and Laurence Fishburne
Directed by J.J. Abrams

After the absolute debacle that was Mission: Impossible II, anything -- and I mean absolutely anything -- would've been an improvement.  Fortunately, this third installment in the M:I series leaves behind John Woo's white doves and fiery orange color palette for an admittedly much more cookie-cutter action picture.  Still, director J.J. Abrams' debut feature film rounded up a great cast (which as mentioned before is a bit of a staple for the M:I pics) and showed Hollywood that he had potential as a feature film helmer.

The film begins with Ethan Hunt (Cruise) setting out on a mission (impossible) to rescue fellow IMF agent Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell) whom Hunt himself trained from an undercover assignment that has gone horribly wrong.  Unfortunately, the rescue is a failure and Lindsey ends up dead (much to the chagrin of this blogger and longtime fan of Ms. Russell).  Determined to find the person who killed her, Hunt and his team (this time made up of newcomers Maggie Q, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and returnee Ving Rhames) begin to hunt down arms dealer Declan Gormley (Philip Seymour Hoffman) whose "business" Lindsey was attempting to infiltrate.

While the action sequences are certainly solid, what makes Mission: Impossible III stand out is Philip Seymour Hoffman's villain.  Hoffman relishes the maniacal nature of his character and from his opening scene to his last, he brings a vibrancy to the flick that we hadn't quite seen yet in the pictures in the franchise.  To balance Hoffman out, Cruise's Hunt is given a serious love interest in this film in Michelle Monaghan's Julia and the relationship gives us a more well-rounded picture of the series' main protagonist.

The negative to this film -- and admittedly it's a bit of a problem -- is that it's oddly forgettable.  As I sit here typing up this review a week after watching the flick, I found myself finding it difficult to remember key action pieces.  Even in the dismal M:I II, I recalled moments.  With Mission: Impossible III, however, it feels a bit too generic for its own good.  Without a particularly unique stylization from an auteur, Abrams has crafted a well-made action movie, but one that feels like it could've been a part of any other franchise.  Still, the film works and it works pretty well.  However, as you'll see soon, improvements could still be made on the franchise to really make it shine.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-

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