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A MAN ON A MISSION

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, May 6, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

A MAN ON A MISSION

By JOHN GRAFMAN

Getting the blood moving is what we like. A rapid and unrelenting pace is what makes life worth living. Risk taking and coming back from the brink of destruction is what separates the enthusiast from the sedate underachiever. Feeling the rush, in so many words, is why we do what we do.

One look at what a moving violation can do to auto insurance rates (even the die-hard boy racer) might just hang up his/her driving gloves. Can one have the same thrills without the pitfalls? Some would say impossible, I say mission impossible. Actually, that would be Mission Impossible III.

Sequels don't often live up to the precursor. M.I.3 is one of the exceptions to the rule. The film combines a deadly combo of compelling characters, talented acting, fantastic locations, amazing gadgets, exotic ladies, a really bad, bad guy, all forms of transportation including some extremely fast cars, and of course great theme music.

This movie develops a deeper relation between the characters personal lives and us. This time around we are treated to a deeper look at the life, friendships, and romances of Ethan Hunt. Tom Cruise in his first pictures and throughout his career continues to be an abnormally credible and gifted actor. This is in a large part due to his charming, and disarming personality that radiates in all of his roles - and this one is no exception.

Tom Cruise does what he does best, and it is really difficult to not find him believable as Ethan Hunt. Well, some of the stunts are perhaps just a bit over the top. Individually each stunt is perhaps credible, but back-to back-to back boarders on being hard to swallow. Cruise is one of the few that can pull this off and keep the action thriller from turning into a comedy (Arnold and Willis being two others).

The action scenes are shot at what looks like real speed as opposed to the frame-by-frame slo-mo that seems to be rampant in Hollywood as of late. The result is a much faster feel to the move. I notice my pulse increase in tempo to the action. I think for a moment I'm breaking a sweat. I can only imagine how Tom felt like as he actually preformed a number of his own stunts.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is the nasty and wealthy nemesis Owen Davian. He is jonesing to get even with Hunt, so badly he can taste it. Both Hunt and Davian swap having the upper hand throughout the film, again adding to the quickly spiraling pace. At the end this comes down to a classic mano-a-mano dual. Academy award winner Hoffman was longing to do an action movie, and his performance is stellar. Owen might not look imposing; yet the character portrayal is enough to get the hairs to stand up on the back of your neck.

As cold and despicable as Davian is, Julia - played by Michelle Monoghan - creates a love interest to Hunt that we can't help but love. If she's good enough for Tom Cruise, she's good enough for us.

Ving Rhames reprises his role as Luther Stickell, an irresistible and irreplaceable member of the IMF team. Luther is, as before, the guy Ethan can always count on, a cool head and able to handle the pressure, even when the odds are heavily against them.

M.I.3 put the world at our fingertips transporting us to Italy, Germany, and China. Breathtaking venues across the globe ensure that wherever your country of origin this picture will bring it home. The compelling locations only heighten the performances of the actors and actresses.

Keri Russell as Lindsay Ferris, is the only trainee exhibiting such an advanced degree of skills that she is the sole trainee to be confirmed by Hunt to become a member of the IMF team.

Hawaiian native Maggie Q takes on the role of agent Zhen. Her flair has been for the most part unseen up until now, as this is her first starring role in an American movie. Her physical beauty and abilities would be equally at home on a James Bond movie.

The ever-versatile Laurence Fishburne shifts gears from his incredible run in the Matrix installments (and numerous other productions) to again being cast in a leadership role. This time Fishburne is Theodore Brassel, the director of the Impossible Mission Force.

Besides the cast, the movie offers an overdose of action. Car chases, explosions and crazy stunts are so prevalent that even my hands are sweaty during the screening.

M.I.3 is riveting, and so much more. I found myself catching several similar scenes to other action adventure movies both during and after watching the MI3. It seems a couple Schwarzenegger movies have a scene or two emulated in this. I caught a familiar scene from Eraser (false bottom on a car which later explodes) and True Lies (bridge sequence being fired upon by aircraft), as well as a segment from the James Cameron film, The Abyss (watch the character die, then revived in front of spouse). None of this takes away from the movie as a whole. It is a bit anticlimactic, however, when you already know what's going to happen. It's like hearing a joke where you already know the punch line. Fortunately, if you aren't very familiar with those movies, this won't be distracting.

Mission Impossible III does share one other vital element with the prior films in the series. The theme music for the television series created by Lalo Schifrin is updated, but true to original. The honor in the past has gone to U2, Limp Bizkit, and this year it goes to the politically outspoken Kayne West. The music separates this from all other action movies and immediately identifies this as something that's a cut above the rest.

I find it difficult to sleep at night after the show as my heart rate still hasn't dropped back down to normal hours later, and perhaps a bit of adrenalin is still making its way through my blood stream. Up till now, Starbucks had the market cornered on keeping people up late at night.

Could this be the plot for M.I.4 in the making, Hunt takes on the coffee king of Seattle?

For information, trailers, photos, and more go to www.missionimpossible.com

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