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Mission: Impossible-3 Movie Review

Welcome back to my series of posts on the M:I franchise. Having reviewed Mission: Impossible 1 & 2, it is now time to take a closer look at the third film directed by J.J. Abrams.
Mission: Impossible 3

Genre: Action / Adventure / Thriller

Director: J.J. Abrams

Cast: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michelle Monaghan, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Maggie Q & Laurence Fishburne.

Run Time: 126 min.

US Release: 05 May 2006

UK Release: 04 May 2006

German Release: 04 May 2006

If you read my previous reviews, you will have noticed that as anticipation to the upcoming Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation I am currently reviewing all the films of the series. Six years after the disaster that was M:I-2, Tom Cruise contracted TV show creator and director J.J. Abrams who brought the franchise back on track.


M:i:III obtained an overall positive critical response and was praised mainly for its fast pace and tense atmosphere, that reminded of the first movie. This is my second favourite Mission: Impossible film, but Ghost Protocol is very close behind.

Ethan Hunt did retire from active duty and is now training possible future agents. He is called back to action when black market weapons-dealer Owen Davian kidnaps and tortures one of his trainees. As Hunt faces of against the evil and sadistic villain, he unleashes a string of events that not only threaten his future at IMF, but also menace the life of his civilian wife Jules. Along his race around the globe to capture Davian, Hunt manages to unmask IMF double agents and clears his name once again.

This spy flick has one of my favourite structures in terms of storytelling. The fact that the first scene we get to see is a beaten and desperate Ethan Hunt, makes us want to know what got our hero in such a position. The screenplay contains the right amount of action and it manages to take us back to the tension filled times of the first Mission: Impossible. The tactical aspect of the missions, the way Cruise handled his weapon, felt very realistic.

The story of this film was fantastic. Six years have passed since the last M:I blockbuster and Hunt is tired of doing fieldwork. Now retired and training new agents, he found the love of his life, who manages to remind him what life was like before his days as an agent, and he will do anything to preserve his relationship. The movie has a strong message about family values, putting Ethan in the middle of an emotional struggle between both his families (The people at IMF and his wife).

I also loved the fact that we weren’t told what exactly the “rabbit’s foot” was, it gave the film some mystery. All we got to see is that it was a bio-hazardous object.

There were also aspects of the movie that annoyed me, such as the repetitive plot point of a traitor amidst the IMF. We have seen that exact twist twice now and it is the third time an IMF agent went rogue. I also didn’t like the last scene with the two lovebirds smiling into the camera, as they are ready to fly to their honeymoon. It was not a scene that belonged to a Mission: Impossible flick.

Going back to the positive aspects though; Ethan Hunt, is Ethan Hunt again! He might be an older and tired version of the agent we saw during his first solo assignment, but once he is out on a mission, he gives 110% to successfully fulfil it. Tom Cruise is once again fantastic as the iconic character that turned him into an action star.

Owen Davian is by far the best villain the Mission: Impossible series ever had! Philip Seymour Hoffman made a brilliant acting job and was so convincing as this pure evil and barbarous man. He actually started making me hate him.

Luther Stickel is that funny and smart mouthed man we learned to like in the first movie, but like in Mission: Impossible-2 he was given a lot of action. This film took the best parts of both films, without any of the negatives and Ving Rhames was on a roll.

Jules is Ethan’s emotional anchor. Michelle Monaghan did a fine job portraying her and while she is a little naive and too trusting, she ultimately is a sweet character. Still I thought that the persona of Jules could have been fleshed out a little bit better.

When it comes to Hunt’s team; I did like the character of Zhen but Declan was the weakest persona. The same goes for John Musgrave, the secondary villain of this blockbuster, he is a weak character and the acting by Crudup was not that good.

This is the first feature film directed by J.J. Abrams. Cruise offered him the job after having seen an episode of the TV show Alias, and he generally did a good job. What I found to be especially beautiful about the way this movie was shot, is that by moving the camera around the characters at specific scenes, he managed to give the moment and location some depth and realism. The action was another aspect this director really dominated.

There is one negative note though concerning the cinematography. Abrams used far too many close ups! This film is literally filled with zoom-ins of faces.

The stunt work is as with all M:I movies always top-notch! Ethan Hunt’s fall of the Vatican wall, stopping shortly before he hits the ground or the explosion at the bridge that launches him against a car, these are all stunts performed by Cruise himself.


Verdict: Mission: Impossible-3 is in my opinion the second-best film of the franchise. It offers a great story, great action scenes and has only minimal flaws. I, therefore, give it an 8.5 out of 10.

Next week I will be reviewing Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. If you are interested to read my other Mission: Impossible reviews, here are the links: M:I and M:I-2.

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