reviewed by Tom-Tom
The Mission Impossible film series is unique in that each film has been shaped by a different director. J.J. Abrams is the third director to tackle the franchise. He brings with him his considerable talents for rapid fire dialogue and scenes with shocking non-sequiturs both in speech and action in a hit and sequel which is light on details and high on action and suspense. It begins suspensefully trumping any scene you’ve come to expect from the Mission Impossible Series. It seems to be borrowing more from TV’s 24 more than anything.
It backtracks to the beginning with Hunt at an engagement party for…him and his fiancee Julia played by Michelle Monaghan. Secret Agent getting married and guess what, he hasn’t told her about it. Hunt’s back to his short-haired, cool calculating self rather than the cowabunga jock of the unfortunate second film. Apparently, he no longer goes on field missions but rather sticks to training IMF personnel. Of course, this is the day all that ends as Hunt is called to a 7-11 to meet the rather boring John Musgrave (Billy Crudup), who want to recruit him to save an IMF Hunt himself trained. Lindsay (Keri Russell who kicks major ass here) demonstrates the skills she was purportedly taught in an excellently orchestrated sequence with newcomers Maggie Q as Zhen Lei, an all around badass and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Declan Gormley, the pilot without much more personality than the Aussie pilot of the second film. MI Veteran Luther Stickwell offers his usual charm and electronic expertise (not to mention a catastrophically bad mistake not even a newbie would make). Lawrence Fishburne as Theodore Brassell, current head of the IMF is the most compelling IMF higher up of perhaps the entire series. He’s not a main character enabler or yes-man nor is he the shouting, unreasonable boss whose comments all fall on deaf ears. I wish he had more of an extended role. One pleasant improvement from the previous film is the pace, which doesn’t move at wild abandon but at a much more exciting rhythm than the slow motion laden MI:2. The technology and gadgets, costumes, masks, mask printers are all super cool and sleek.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman is spot-on as the film’s villain Davian, a ruthless, laconic, murderous terrorist with a cool headed, absolute control even when he is the one tied up. It’s a remarkable performance. He’s not a movie villain. He’s a real world, dangerous guy and his organization is refreshingly relentless with enough “Oh shit!” scenes to satisfy even the most distractable of viewers. There’s nary a dull moment when the action gets started and the suspense is unbearable at times especially when we’ve seen what’s waiting for Ethan and Julia later. Tom Cruise is a busy guy in this movie, running, shooting, rolling, diving, rappelling, impersonating, fighting, interrogating, being interrogated, speaking several languages. He brings his trademark affability and star power to continue what could have been the sad end of a franchise but instead its rebirth. The frenetic pace, the audacious missions with their obligatory jaw-dropping stunts, and the rather satisfying finale are all grand scale blockbuster stuff, just as long as you don’t think too hard about them afterwards.