Commentary by Michael Lee (May 2006)|
In a recent interview for Akeelah and the Bee, Laurence Fishburne said of MI3 director J.J. Abrams, "...his script for Mission was really exciting, and it's going to surprise a lot of people how, I think, dark the movie is." Maybe I was simply in the mood for an espionage thriller boasting blockbuster pyrotechnics, but the lone comment truly psyched me up for the third feature film installment of Mission: Impossible, despite being unimpressed with the first two entries in the franchise. Now having seen it, I have to admit that I was not disappointed.
Mission: Impossible III starts the tension from the get-go, opening with uber-villain Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) explaining to Agent Hunt (Tom Cruise) that an explosive has been placed in his brain, while simultaneously counting down to 10 as he threatens to put a bullet in the head of his wife (Michelle Monaghan). The scene is surprisingly effective, establishing Hoffman as a credible menace and setting the tone for the rest of the film.
The storyline features all of the conspiracies, backstabbing, and international intrigue one would expect from the genre, but the main highlight is the constant flow of action. From a thrilling break-in at the Vatican to an insane base jumping sequence in Shanghai, Hunt spans the globe perpetrating hi-tech espionage, getting into a flurry of gunfights along the way. Keri Russell, who plays a fellow agent, holds her own amidst a barrage of bullets, Ving Rhames and Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg deliver comic relief, and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laurence Fishburne bring their typically strong performances.
With the likes of X-Men: The Last Stand, Superman Returns, Miami Vice, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on the slate, this summer promises to be loaded with blockbuster action, and Mission: Impossible III is a great way to kick-start the season.