Mission: Impossible III
A brainwavez.org Film Review

South AfricaBy Mandy J Watson
South AfricaCape Town, South Africa
Posted: 3 August 2006

Mission: Impossible III: Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is in dangerThere has been a running joke about the number of closeups that Tom Cruise has in this movie, so I thought I'd put it to the test and count. By the time the opening credits had begun to roll, however, I had already counted 30 closeups and was beginning to suffer from nausea due to the extensive use of hosepiping camerawork. In fact, if films such as The Blair Witch Project and Dancer In The Dark made you nauseous - due to the camerawork, not the acting - consider yourself forewarned for this movie.

Mission: Impossible III is a Tom Cruise movie (with a hint of JJ Abrams' influence here and there), so Tom Cruise plays, well, Tom Cruise because that's the only character he ever plays anymore.

The most impressive performance instead comes - surprisingly - from Keri Russell who plays against the role she has been typecast as - that of the vacillating haze of Felicity - and does an extremely good job with the screen time she's given. In sharp contrast, Lawrence Fishburne, as John Brassel, seems to be channelling his portrayal of Morpheus from The Matrix in most of his scenes. Billy Crudup, too, is wasted in his role as John Musgrave. (I say this having seen his wonderful performance in Stage Beauty, for which he should have received an Oscar nomination. I cannot look at his acting ability the same way anymore, and he really can do better than his work in this movie.)

Mission: Impossible III: Explosion! Fire!With regards to the plot - as if that's ever really a consideration with these movies - here's the short version: Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is trying to lead a normal life, having left secret agent life behind him, to some degree, as he now trains the next generation rather than going on missions himself. John Musgrave manages to rope Ethan into one more "we need you Ethan!" adventure to rescue a talented agent he had previously trained, Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell), who has been captured and is in grave danger. Action, drama, and supposedly gut-wrenching sequences in exotic places (The Vatican, Shanghai) ensue.

The bad guy is played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who does the best he can with the one-dimensional role he is given (but, to be honest, I'd rather watch him in something like State And Main), and Ving Rhames returns as Luther Stickell. The prerequisite "Tom Cruise is not gay" love interest, Julia, is played by Michelle Monaghan, and the character, who knows nothing of Ethan's double life and mission-filled past, is drawn into the action and surprisingly well utilised later in the movie, especially considering the testosterone-filled subject matter.

The most interesting sequence, however, takes place near the beginning of the movie as a classy team, which includes Hunt, Strikell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Declan and the underutilised Maggie Q as Zhen, infiltrates The Vatican. If more of the movie had been like this I would have had far less to complain about. Instead, most of the rest of the movie comprises run-of-the-mill action sequences involving traffic, running, and gun fights. It becomes tedious very quickly, especially considering how frequently they occur throughout the film.

Mission: Impossible III: Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) protects Julia (Michelle Monaghan)The editing at the beginning of the movie just foreshadows what is to come. Throughout Mission: Impossible III it remains far too snappy and fast paced, giving your eyes barely enough time to focus on anything on the screen before the shot cuts to something else. It is exhausting, and not in a good way.

Thankfully the sound design is spectacular, so I have something to commend: in this case, both the surround sound separations and the attention paid to the ambient sounds in many scenes.

However the movie, overall, is not worth your time.

Between the overpowering scent of cologne (which, admittedly, was not the movie's fault) that either someone in the cinema audience was wearing or the management had perhaps decided to pump into the cinema in order to appease its increasingly pissed off customers in some sort of psychological experiment (a story for another time but, for any South African readers, two words: Ster-Kinekor); the camerawork; and the Tom Cruise closeups, it was all I could do to stop myself from barfing in the aisle. Please note that these factors may have clouded my experience of this movie and contributed to the uncharacteristically (for brainwavez.org) low rating, but I think not. This movie just isn't very good. It has no redeeming factors, unless you're a Tom Cruise fan, in which case his appearance on screen every 10 seconds is the only redeeming factor. It leaves no lasting impression in terms of plot or groundbreaking special effects or clever camera techniques or stunts or noteworthy acting.... I will probably never intentionally watch this movie again. People had a lot of negative remarks to make about the first film in the series but I would take that one over the rest of the franchise any day. That movie was superb. Sadly, Mission Impossible has never been the same since.


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brainwavez.org Opinion
Rating: 5/10
Rewatchability: 5/10
In One Word: Nauseating
Many Tom Cruise shots
Make for a sucky movie
Because you'll vomit
Key Facts
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Year: 2006
Format: Feature; widescreen; colour
Running Time: 126 minutes (approx)
Language: Cantonese, German, English, Italian, Mandarin
Country: USA

Tom Cruise ... Ethan Hunt
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Owen Davian
Ving Rhames ... Luther Stickell
Billy Crudup ... John Musgrave
Michelle Monaghan ... Julia
Jonathan Rhys Meyers ... Declan
Keri Russell ... Lindsey Farris
Maggie Q ... Zhen
Simon Pegg ... Benji
Eddie Marsan ... Brownway
Laurence Fishburne ... John Brassel
 [ full cast... ]

JJ Abrams
Alex Kurtzman (written by)
Roberto Orci (written by)
JJ Abrams (written by)
Bruce Geller (television series)
Daniel Mindel
Costume Design:
Colleen Atwood
Film Editing:
Maryann Brandon
Mary Jo Markey
Original Music:
Michael Giacchino
Non-Original Music:
Lalo Schifrin (theme)
 [ full crew... ]
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