Movie Reviews: Mission Impossible 3




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     Paramount (2 hr. 6 mins.)
     Retired super-spy Ethan Hunt is called back to active duty to confront the toughest villain he's ever faced.
     Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Michelle Monaghan
Bottom Line:

Laurence Washington

With hardcore James Bond fans feeling orphaned by the untimely dismissal of Pierce Bronsan as James Bond, "Mission Impossible III" seemed poised to take over the spy series genre. It also seemed to be the logical home for disenfranchised Bond fans.

Alas, disappointment is a bitter pill.

It would easier to swallow a cyanide capsule, than to swallow the plot of "M:I-3" – a chick flick that’s cleverly disguised as an action-adventure spy thriller.

Directed by J.J. Abrams (Alias/Lost), "M:I-3" repeats the same potboiler scenario as the first two films – an edge of your seat non-stop roller coaster ride with a few cool stunts, little tension and an audience sitting on the edge of their seats wondering if a film based on Tom Cruise’s much publicized romance with Katie Holmes might have more plot.

Abrams momentarily manages to capture the flavor of the original television series when Cruise (Ethan Hunt) breaches Vatican security while pursuing an elusive arms dealer named Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who’s selling a secret weapon called "The Rabbit’s Foot." Posing as a priest, Cruise dons a latex mask to impersonate Davian, and then, with clockwork precision, Hunt and the IMF team kidnap Davian and ship him back to the U.S.

Hunt spends the rest of the film scurrying across a freeway bridge that’s being blasted to smithereens by a missile firing drone jet, swinging from skyscrapers and running through the streets of Shanghai. All this action is aimed at getting his wife back after she’s kidnapped by Davian, who has escaped from the IMF.

Laurence Fishburne plays IMF director Brassel, and the Ving Rhames reprises his role as computer expert Luther Strickell, who has more screen time out of the van this time around. Rhames is the only other member of the IMF team in all three movies. Strickell offers Hunt a fountain full of marital advice when the pair aren’t blowing something up.

Even though "M:I-3’s" plot is uneven, the first half of the movie does build to a palpable spy thriller, but then the climax spirals down to a warmed over "Melrose" episode. "M:I-2" is the picture to see in this series. I suggest if you haven’t seen it, rent it and wait for "M:I-3" to come out on DVD. Maybe these filmmakers need to find something new to franchise.



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