A return to form after a less than impressive prior film, and it may not deliver the intelligent plot, it does feature some of the best acting in the franchise.
When Agent Hunt agrees to step back into field work for a rescue mission he crosses paths with a deadly arms-dealer who will use those Hunt loves, to get what he wants.
Tom Cruise was fantastic in his delivery of Ethan Hunt once again. He brought more emotion to the role as the script required it for the plot dynamic. I felt I got to know the character of Hunt more in this film than the others, with a compelling screenplay that brought the most out of the rather simplistic plot. The lack of a strong espionage feel to the film was not severely missed given Cruise and Monaghan were intriguing in their love dynamic without over selling it like the love aspect to the script in part two.
Cruise was nothing short of phenomenal in the third-act, where although the action was present, there still seemed to be a clear emphasis on the dramatic character performances. His scenes in the make-shift hospital were examples of brilliant acting, and the moments have you on the edge of your seat even when there aren’t any bullets flying. Despite all the amazing stunts he did in this film, this closing-act for me was the most memorable part of the film overall.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, while not exactly looking the part, managed to be who I would select as the best villain in any of the films. With his intense, yet calm delivery you can feel he is a dangerous man and when he is working back and forth with Cruise you can sense the energy of the conversation between two men who will inevitably cross paths again. It was intriguing to sit back and take in the great performance from Hoffman as he filled the role with a persona suitable to take on the protagonist. He was able to do so without physical dominance, but intelligence, and being a step ahead, something that was well conceived in the writing.
The rest of the cast was also great. Once again Ving Rhames reprises his role and the additions of Simon Pegg, Maggie Q and especially Laurence Fishburne greatly added to the characters that filled this ambitious but espionage-less action movie. Pegg was fun as he got his feet wet in the series and even with minimal screen-time he was able to bring some laughter with a very likable portrayal of a usually forgettable character-type. Fishburne was also comical in this film with his enjoyable sarcastic delivery that was perfect for his dialogue. Monaghan brought a likable portrayal of her role as well. While she did not really get a massive amount of screen-time her character was very easy to connect with, for a character who was virtually written into the script as a plot device, with little development.
The weakest part of this one was the script. Don’t get me wrong this was a well detailed plot, however a rather simple one for being a “Mission Impossible” movie. The scripts plot lacked the intricacy of the story in the first film, but was much more of a step up from the sequels love story theme. The story-line was still plenty interesting enough to carry the enjoyment along however. There was a fast pace and enough sub-plots to keep you involved and with the great performances from the cast, what there actually was for substance in this story was elevated without question.
There were some extremely exciting segments of this story and with a boatload of action the result was many attention grabbing scenes that pull you in. There was a clever and subtle job of building the tension between the character of Hunt and Davian without over-selling it. The love-story in this script was much better delivered than the last film and rather then hindering the enjoyment, the dynamic allowed for some much deeper character performances that lure you into what is happening.
Director J.J. Abrams certainly shot a beautiful action film. Although it did lack some the true espionage feel it should have brought, it was still a wildly adventurous film with excellent camera work throughout. The sequence on the bridge was pule-pounding and the variety of wide, long shots and close up angles on the action was a perfect blend to create scenes that keep your eyes locked on the screen.
The missions in Shanghai and at the Vatican were also brilliantly orchestrated and skillfully shot. The segments have you on edge to see how it will all pan out, regardless if you can already assume the result. The camerawork was not overly jittery or edited, there were extended, drawn out takes that let you see the spectacle of the stunts they are actually doing. Cruise again doing his own stunt-work enabled many great shots that are as visually stunning as the settings they take place in.
This was not the best film in the franchise but it does provide more than enough energy and adventure to make it one of the better ones. Some of the most dramatic acting in the franchise was in this entry and Cruise used the love-angle of this film to add some rage-filled emotions the the character of Ethan Hunt that we have not seen in past films. The rest of the cast was excellent and all added to the enjoyment and with Hoffman as an unlikely choice, delivered one of the more inspiring villains in the series.
“Mission: Impossible III” was well crafted all around. It weaves a solid story-line that will have your attention captured throughout with all the over-the-top action you can ask for in a film the elevates your adrenaline. There was also some simple, yet cleverly written dialogue to rouse some laughs to break the tension from the adventure and dramatic love-story the script builds making this one a purely exciting and captivating night with a movie.