Mission Impossible: III
The first one was pretty good. Mission: Impossible 2 sucked. The third one...was pretty good. Now, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has retired from the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) and is trying to start a life as a family man. But when a student is taken hostage, he is pulled out of retirement in an effort to save her. This is the first mission of several throughout the film. And each one is more intense or exciting than the last. The key difference of this film compared to the last two, is that this mission becomes much more personal for Hunt. Besides his key objective, loved ones become involved in the dangerous plot and if I've learned anything about movies, it's that you don't mess with the hero's family. But we see in the opening sequence, which is actually a fast forward glimpse to the end of the film, that that is exactly what happens, but we're left with a cliff-hanger and wanting to find out more as we're shot backwards in time to learn how this scenario came about.
From a summer popcorn flick point of view, this movie has it all: guns, crazy stunts, explosions, exotic locales and let's not forget all of the cool gadgets the good guys have at their disposal. There isn't really a good time to go to the bathroom at any point during the story. Not that it would be hard to follow the plot if you missed something, but just that there is always something intense or "important" happening, or is about to happen, at all times. Everytime I saw someone leave the theater (about 9 times) I noticed that when they had come back, they had missed a fairly important piece of information or a major action sequence. Something is constantly "comin' atcha," and I'm glad I bought just a small Coke.
What really attracted me to this movie was two fold: one, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He's always been one of my faves and to see him play the role of a bad guy was a real treat. The only thing is, I wish there was more of him. He needs more screen time to show the true depths of his evil. Still, the time we do get to spend with him is great. Although quiet and kind of nerdy looking, he is anything but. He talks extremely tough and has the resources and psychotic mentality to back it up. I don't think Cruise has ever had his ass handed to him so easily and so often in any other film he's made.
The second draw for me, was director JJ Abrams. My favorite show (maybe of all time) is "Lost." Abrams not only directs that show, but also was the creator and co-writer (along with several other hit shows). I assumed his transition to film was a natural one. For the most part, it was a correct assumption. He's more than competent. Abrams is great at filming action sequences and pulling the audience right into the story with the characters. But, I have a major problem with his style. It is very chaotic and mind reeling. The camera is ALWAYS moving. Whether it's a shoulder mounted, jiggling movement or a sweeping pan of a character as he looks at a keyboard, everything is constantly in motion. Even when two characters are just talking, the camera is swirling around them or moving on a track past them, with props in between us and the character at many times. It started to actually make my eyes and brain hurt. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see it cause motion sickness in some people.
There's really nothing ultra special here. It's been done before and I never found myself truly caring about any of the characters. That doesn't mean that it isn't a good time. Helicopter chases, hot cars, heat seeking missles, disguises and gun-fire all make for a semi-believable, fun couple of hours that seem to just fly by. Without any cheesy lines of dialogue or stupid, groan-inducing sequences, which can be typical of this type of fare (Stealth), Abrams/Cruise et al. have hit the nail on the head for what they were trying to accomplish. Seeing the trailer will give you all the information you need to know to decide whether or not you want to see this movie. Again, it's another over the top, popcorn flick and can be fun for anybody looking for just that. On that level, it is well done. Mission Accomplished.