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Knowing that this Mission: Impossible was set to be the last of the bunch, we walked into the preview surrounded by fanboy mutterings about how Tom Cruise's character would be polished off -- married, disabled, killed or even worse (you figure that last bit out. We can't.) -- leaving us to mutter back "you guys have really got to get some kind of life..." The summary of Mission: Impossible III is quite simple:
IN SHORT: Hands down the best action flick of the year. So far. [Rated PG-13 for Intense Sequences of Frenetic Violence & Menace, Disturbing Images & Some Sensuality. 126 minutes]
The few that complained on the way out, and we could count 'em on the fingers of one hand, did so about "too much action and not enough plot twists and surprises; (we've cleaned up the language)." Even if we were to accept the argument, the long time reader wouldn't see more than a half-a-buck deduction in the rating below. You don't see that deduction because screenwriter J. J. Abrams works enough extra character and story background into each action sequence that we won't quibble. Likewise, director J. J. Abrams has also delivered a film that is much too much fun to waste that ol'quibble energy. And, yes, the screenwriting Abrams and the directing Abrams is the same guy. We're filling space because this film is too much fun to explain it all to you in print as most critics do (to fill space). It also moves at such a rapid clip that if we had wasted our time trying to notate each scene, we woud have missed out on the entire picture, which would be a great mistake because M:i:III is a very entertaining, jammed to the gills with action, thrills and twists flick.
If nothing else, load up on the popcorn and drinks beforehand and be very sure that you can stay seated for the 126 minutes running time of the film. You will not want to duck out to the bathroom because Abrams' script is so good, there is something new introduced in nearly every scene.
At its root, M:i:III is your standard Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Moves Heaven and Earth to Get Girl Back (and, in the process, Saves the World from the Schemes of an uber-rich Psycho Killer). Said "boy" is government employee Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), celebrating his engagement to the very lovely Julia Anne Meade (Michelle Monaghan). Julia believes her man to be a long time employee of the Department of Transportation in charge of lining up those orange highway cones which make drivers miserable, or something. We moviegoers of course, know Hunt to be the (former) top dog of the CIA's "Impossible Mission Force," an elite,everchanging team of covert spies who make impossible assignments look like a walk in the park.
Arms dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) sells WMDs to every country we good guys love to have. North Korea. Iran. You name 'em, Davian has gotten rich selling to them. In an early flashback sequence, Davian is taken down by the IMF team and swears revenge on Lindsey Ferris (Keri Russell), the one IMF team member whose real name is accidentally spilled in his presence. Davian is such an utimate baddie, that that one piece of information is all he needs to break the security surrounding the usual IMF operation. We're treading far too close to the line here so we'll shut up now.
Abrams moves his story all over the world, and not a single step is gratuitous. The overall film begins with an engagement party for Ethan and Julia, interrupted by the news that Davian has surfaced and is apparently, inthe process of keeping his word about that revenge thing. Ethan, who still hasn't spilled the truth to Julia, tells her he has to make "an emergency speech" and heads for Europe where his team awaits. Luther Strickell (Ving Rhames) is, again, the only regular member of Hunt's team. They are joined by a bunch of rookies - all students being trained for duty as part of Hunt's current IMF assignment. Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a man of many voices and characters, complimented by the equally complex femme agent Zhen (Maggie Q). Old timers who must may think of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain and things will click. Youngsters can ignore the previous sentence, as Abrams has written a fabulous script which requires no explanation whatsoever. Rounding out the good guy side of the bill are Benji (Simon Pegg), and Brownway (Eddie Marsan) on the working team. Up top is a new IMF uber-boss, Theodore Brassel (Laurence Fishburne), who uses his number two Musgrave (Billy Crudup) to deliver hands on instruction or muck up the story, whichever is necessary.
and shifts to Vatican City via a flashback to Berlin and wraps in Shanghai
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Mission: Impossible 3, he would have paid . . .
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