Mission: Impossible III
Abrams and co-writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have even given "M:I:III" an "Alias" plot structure. The film begins nearly three-fourths of the way in with nefarious baddie Owen Davian (
Following in the footsteps of the first two "M:I" films, this sequel wastes little time on plot plausibility or filling in narrative gaps. Like so many Rimbaldi artifact and clues, the Rabbit's Foot is a device of minimal import, but potentially infinite power. But the tension never really builds around the Macguffin plot catalyst, nor around Agent Farris. Like the early, effective, seasons of "Alias," it's about the difficulties inherent in living a double life when one of those lives is always in jeopardy. So the movie isn't about Ethan battling the bad guys -- Hoffman is fantastic, but only fleetingly involved. It's about a man who wants to be out of danger with the woman he loves and instead finds himself constantly putting everything at risk. It's a metaphor for all attempts to balance business and personal lives, but it's particularly germane giving Cruise's own status and battles with the media and the public.
Cruise gives the kind of performance he usually does in movies like this -- simple, unfailingly intense and physically committed. Even audiences who are bored or disgusted with Cruise's behavior over the past year should be able to just accept him as Hunt. With Monaghan, he has a pleasant romantic foil, as the rising young actress is so effortlessly sexy and natural that she takes the edge off of Cruise's vein-popping forcefulness. Cruise is also aided by the depth of his IMF teammates, as the filmmakers have committed to reinstating some of the group dynamic from the original "M:I" series that was lost in making the past two films into Cruise vehicles. For the first time, Hunt is surrounded by professionals with specific jobs and Rhames, Q and Meyers all get some good scenes, as does
Nothing in "M:I:III" reaches the level of DePalma's
"Mission: Impossible III" is an odd big summer popcorn film that feels small. Abrams may blow up bridges and expensive sports cars, but he values the emotional stakes even higher. As a result, viewers expecting a