Mission Impossible III
I think it's fair to say that anyone who doesn't get excited watching Mission Impossible III (or M:I:III), isn't drawn into it and doesn't get thoroughly entertained by it, is dead to the idea of what cinema and summer blockbusters are.
Without a doubt Mission Impossible III is the biggest summer blockbuster we're likely to find. I'm sure Superman will come close, as will Pirates of the Caribbean, but this sets the bar incredibly high.
Not only does the latest Mission Impossible movie in the franchise offer us action and excitement consistently from start to finish, but it also has some depth to it and a couple of stunning performances.
Huge thanks to Edinburgh Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema for making my mission to see this film on the first showing not so impossible...oh dear. They now have their food counters back in action! So, onto the review.
I thought that this would be perhaps the best Mission Impossible movie as soon as I heard J.J. Abrams was onboard, being a fan of his work on Alias I was sure he was going to up the excitement, the stunts, the set-ups and add something more to it. Well he did all that, and more.
I've seen some comments in early reviews that have said he's made a big screen version of Alias, and you cannot deny there are similarities, but why not? After all Mission Impossible is about a top secret agent who hides his identity from everyone and everything, carrying out the most secret of missions there are, saving the world every few years, and going against impossible odds. Sounds like Alias? Wrong. Alias sounds like Mission Impossible, and it proved that the perfect choice for this franchise was Abrams. He's breathed new life into it, and rather than not wanting to see another one as the trilogy is completed, I want to see more.
From the opening moments you are grabbed and pulled into this film. Taken as you are out of the timeline of events. The opening scenes set you up for what to expect, strong, intense performances, excitement and edge of your seat moments. Then you're ripped to the far end of the spectrum where we begin to see some of what Hunt is really like and where he is in his life at the time of this third mission.
From here on I only counted about two or three rest stops from the action and excitement. The set piece stunts are amazing, the scenes on the bridge particularly impressive with the plane flying overhead as chaos falls about Hunt, or the mission at the Vatican where we see the set-up unfolding before the sting. Constantly through these set-ups the tension is built piece by piece along with the level of action, and some moments will simply take your breath away. I really did catch myself mouthing "wow" at the screen a few times. Abrams gives us the abject lesson in building tension in the audience and raising excitement levels.
That's not to say it's all action and excitement, there are some slower moments to build the backstory and give you some depth to the character of Hunt, and there's also a few laughs to be had. Some realism from a few of the characters. This is a welcome addition to the franchise as just being over the top with insane stunts was no longer enough.
Those action sequences are amazing though, there's no question of that. Hunt and his team are really put through their paces and we see that they aren't all perfect every time and that things do go wrong, and go wrong spectacularly. For out and out adrenaline the tower scene in Shanghai was superb, or the helicopter chase at the beginning or...it goes on. Abrams and his team have crafted the rising excitement level perfectly and kept the action pumping at you so there's almost no time to think, you're along for the ride.
The story is excellently written and weaves in some well placed twists and turns, yet that isn't what gets you and these are secondary to the overwhelming intensity and drive of the story that is shared with the character of Hunt and portrayed so well in Tom Cruise.
Cruise is utterly compelling and provides such a strong performance I couldn't believe how attached I became to the story through him. There are a few moments where he is showing such intense internal pain in his eyes and yet trying so hard to control it, and then there are a few moments where he totally loses it and lets it run free, and these moments show you that the character really is as dangerous as the people he hunts. I think Cruise gives an amazing performance here and does a superb job of standing alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Hoffman gives an equally strong performance, but you don't see much emotion from his character. His character is quite cold and chilling, and he plays it with a relaxed and quite controlled manner, making it even more imposing when his true side just peeks out.
There are some excellent effects, and one that combines some physical acting from Hoffman that is subtle and gives extra believability for the scene. At one point Hunt dawns the amazing mask disguise, which we see being applied in the most amazing way, and then Hunt becomes Davian (stay with me here) Hoffman has to leap around as though he were smaller, fitter and much more agile. Although the moment lasts but a few seconds the effect is cool and it's a nice attention to detail that passes throughout the film.
Simon Pegg makes a nice little appearance playing a cross between Pegg and Marshall from Alias. He provides for some of the lighter moments to ease a little of the pressure on the audience before leaping into the next action and tension packed scene.
The audio was superb, and during the moments of action you were as bombarded with sound as you were with the plot turns. The bridge sequence with the plane buzzing past was fantastic and had sound booming along our aisle and rumbling through the seats. Yet when there came a quiet moment the characters voices weren't lost.
I honestly find it hard to find anything wrong with this film, it filled me with excitement and intensity, entertained me way more than I thought it would, and had me gripped from beginning to end. Okay, there is one thing. The cheesy ending isn't a full bucket o' cheese, but I would say about tubs worth. However I can see the need for it after we've been treated so harshly and surprised so much along the way. I would have preferred they'd cut just a little bit earlier, but in the summer blockbuster realm, this is just what the doctor ordered, and more.
There's a quote from a reader on IMDB that says Best sequel ever, and I might well be inclined to agree. For the first time in a long time, I want to go straight back in that cinema and watch that film again. Superb performances from Cruise and Hoffman, great to see Ving Rhames back again and some strong backup supplied by Maggie Q and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Huge action scenes. Tense and exhilarating from the opening moments. A great film that does exactly what it says on the tin, and more.
IMDB Film Details
Edinburgh Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema