I’ve complained many times in recent reviews about Hollywood’s inability to make action-thrillers that are better than network television. With a slew of lackluster films like “Firewall,” “16 Blocks,” and “The Sentinel,” people have got to be hesitant to go all the way to the theater for less than their Wednesday night lineup. Well. we finally got one. “Mission: Impossible 3” is fantastic. Oddly enough, it took someone from television to make a summer blockbuster that is worthy of the big screen.
“M:I.3’s” director J.J. Abrams is one of the creators of “Lost,” arguably the best show on T.V. Primarily a screenwriter, this is Abrams first go at directing a feature and his first time up he’s hit it directly out of the park. The screenplay, also co-written by Abrams, is far more interesting than the previous “Mission: Impossible” films, and Abrams understands better than most how to make all the parts work together for maximum entertainment.
Everyone’s favorite couch-hopping Scientologist Mr. Cruise is at it again as international bad ass Ethan Hunt. This time his gadget-filled double-life is threatening his recent engagement in spite of his retirement from field work. Hunt has taken to training secret agents and when his star pupil is lost in the field, he must decide between life at home and the job he’s attempting to leave behind.
Philip Seymour Hoffman turns in a brilliant performance as the film’s obvious villain Owen Davian. It’s unfortunate Hoffman didn’t have a bit more screen-time, but he rips it up with the little he’s given. The film’s opening sequence is absolutely riveting and Hoffman’s nasty side will staple you to the back of your seat.
The supporting cast lives up to the idea of an star studded ensemble. Billy Crudup, Lawrence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Ving Rhames all turn in shining performances. Wickedly funny “Shaun of the Dead” star Simon Pegg is a welcome surprise as the Hunt’s neurotic inside man at IMF headquarters.
“M:I.3” has all the bells and whistles we should be able to expect from a summertime heavy hitter. The sound is incredible, nothing shy of a full-on auditory assault. Special effects and spectacular stunt work further sets “M:I.3” apart from the recent rash of so-so thrillers.
If there are any limitations at this point to the medium of television, it is safe to suggest J.J. Abrams is keenly aware of them. He has thoroughly taken advantage of the pallet of feature film with “M:I.3.” Let’s hope, in the name of high-quality entertainment, he keeps the hits coming.