Mission: Impossible III

Film

Thriller

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Time Out says

Tue May 2 2006

JJ Abrams, the director of ‘Mission: Impossible III’, is keen to persuade us that it’s a film to engage the head and heart as well as the adrenal glands. This is ‘not a movie about a spy’, he insists, but ‘about a man who is a spy’, struggling to reconcile his personal life and his work, ‘relatable’ to us all. And, as creator of TV’s ‘Alias’ and ‘Lost’, Abrams has a good track record of making audiences suspend disbelief about ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

Here, he faces two main problems: first, this man’s job involves swinging between Shanghai skyscrapers, pursuing helicopter dogfights through windmill farms and piloting speedboats that burst out of the Vatican in balls of flame; second, this man is Tom Cruise, who is to ordinary what Liberace was to plain. It’s hard enough to watch him doing a promotional walkabout without thinking of furniture-pouncing histrionics and unusual birthing techniques; a story about a man desperately trying to prove his love while simultaneously pursuing a ruthless global campaign hardly takes your mind off it.

That said, ‘M:I3’ does play out marginally more sensibly than its predecessors. Just as he gets engaged (to Michelle Monaghan), superagent-turned-trainer Ethan Hunt is drawn back into the field to tackle no-nonsense psycho-dealer Philip Seymour Hoffman, who manages to seem threatening even when being dangled from a bomber’s fuselage. There are plentiful perilous countdowns, most of the set-pieces are impressively mounted – notably the strafing of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge – and, in its own silly way, the pay-off offers a glancing blow at US foreign policy. Relatable? No. But quite fun.
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