Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mission: Impossible 3

By Reymundo Salao

IMF (Impossible Missions Force) Secret Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) more or less considers himself retired from active duty the day he committed to a serious relationship with Julia, the woman he truly loves. But he is drawn to a mission that involves the kidnapping of an operative which is not only a dear friend to him but is also Ethan's pupil. As this mission becomes too complicated that it becomes a personal vendetta for Ethan, he meets Owen Davian, a vicious blackmarket lord whose power and influence makes him impregnable to be caught by the many of the world's intelligence agencies. Davian eventually finds out Ethan Hunt's weak spot, which is the woman he loves. And uses her to make Ethan do his bidding.

The storyline dwells outside the typical "mission" storyline and gives us a spotlight on what happens if a secret agent's personal security is compromised when his enemies get to the agent's family or loved ones. Mission: Impossible 3 just has a storyline that may rival the finest Steven Seagal movie. With a storyline that has been overdone in Hollywood movies and executed without a shred of originality, this movie is just good if you’re in the mood for eye candy action. A dumbed-down spy movie with a silly plotline but entertaining action. This movie just looks like Cruise's own version of James Bond. On the other hand, MI2 and MI3 may not have been awful as James Bond movies.

Although that I'm sure that this movie will indeed satisfy those who crave for hot spy action, and will indeed draw up mass numbers in the box office, I really would not share the same excitement that favors this movie. But what many would find unusually startling is that there are a number of us who dislike these Mission: Impossible movies because these movies have been committing grave acts of sacrilege upon what is already considered a respected Espionage-thriller series. Let me give you a comparison. What if Harry Potter was filmed in "Bagets-style" teen flick format complete with a pa-tweetums lovestory not found in the books, but just improvised just to draw up numbers in the box-office? What if the Da Vinci Code was made into a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced action flick starring Ben Affleck with explosive action sequences not found in the book, but improvised to make it more explosive action appealing"? Wouldn’t that draw up a bad reaction from the fans of the source material? It is the same case with Mission: Impossible, a TV series about a secret agent team which goes into impossible espionage missions, yet they fulfill it unscathed by detection, so much so that by the end of the episode when the bad guys are defeated, they have no idea that they were duped by manipulative spies of the Impossible Missions Force. Whilst in the movie, the main character leaves a trail of explosions. This is a clear example of Hollywood ruining the classics; forever tarnishing the good name for which such stood for (same with Planet of the Apes and how Tim Burton's remake ruined it)

The script is written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and director JJ Abrams. JJ Abram's directing is well-executed. But I'm sure he can build up a better reputation with another project worth his talent. On the other hand, Abrams is already enjoying a phenomenal reputation having created the hit TV series' "Alias", "Lost" and "Felicity".

Just like MI2, there is an unusual sense of narcissistic spotlight that surrounds actor-producer Tom Cruise's character. It was as if the entire script was written around him. They should’ve entitled MI2 and this movie "The Ethan Hunt Adventures". He's the producer who pays for the entire movie anyway. The characters of Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, and the lusciously alluring Maggie Q all take a back seat as script wallflowers playing off the main character. There was even a one minute spotlight on Maggie Q's character which was awkwardly not followed-up by the progression of the storyline. Tom Cruise is not a bad actor. It was refreshing to see Cruise as a villain in Collateral. But for him to go back and do the same old protagonistic action hero role, in which he has done for almost 10 years has taken its toll. Not unless it is a movie with an exceptionally good storyline. But with a mediocre storyline and a role that we have already seen in many guises and in many Cruise interpretations, he really could not expect praise for his monotonous role in this movie. Philip Seymour Hoffman, is another story, though. Because Hoffman has delivered a truly-salute-deserving diabolical villain performance in this movie. Being the redeeming factor of the film, Hoffman has created this kind of fan-inducing villain, which may remind us of the charisma of Star War's Darth Vader.

Sure it's flashy, loud, and explosive. But aside from that, it is nothing special from your average mediocre big summer action flick. Sadly, the thrills, intrigue, and storyline are a pale comparison to one of the episodes of the Mission: Impossible TV series. The good news is that this movie is clearly a notch above amusing. And indeed it is a movie made for the mass crowds who like their popcorn action with a whole lot of explosions, gunfight, and cheesy stunts.

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