(Review originally written at 2 November 2006)

People complained about "Mission: Impossible II" how incredibly simple the story was (and of course I agree on that) but in my opinion the story of "Mission: Impossible III" is even simpler and weaker. "Mission: Impossible III" doesn't even tell its story by its actors, or script but rather with the one big action sequences after the other. All style but no substance.

I'm probably the only person on the planet who fully understood an enjoyed "Mission:Impossible" and I also enjoyed watching "Mission:Impossible II", mainly thanks to its wonderful directed action. I expected a lot from "Mission: Impossible III", especially when it started to receive positive and even raving reviews in the media. In the end the movie didn't deliver. The action is great but the build up of it all and the story- and storytelling is too lacking to make this an enjoyable must-see action spectacle.

This movie really is basically the one big action sequences after the other. The movie doesn't allow us to catch our breath for a moment and before you fully can process what happened you're already in the middle of the next big fast action sequence. I'm sure this was all perfectly good and impressive to see on the big screen but on the small screen it's not good enough to compensate for the movie its story and other flawed elements. It's too paced and too lacking in development or depth. The movie jumps from the one sequence and location to the other. We're in Germany and before we know it in America then China and back again, etcetera. It also sort of makes you wonder why the movie had to be set at locations spread all over the world. It doesn't really add anything to the movie its story or atmosphere. It rather seems like a waste of money and it also doesn't always make the movie flow well.

In the movie the story really plays no part in the movie. The movie is lacking proper development and the few story-elements that are present in the movie are far from well executed.

When watching this movie it becomes that director J.J. Abrams only has experience with work for TV. He tells this movie as a TV series episode, meaning that everything happens quick without giving it ever much depth or time to think. Basically everything that happens in this movie and in the story is build up in 5 minutes and ended in that same 5 minutes again. This unfortunately also is the case in the disappointing finale. This is the sort of build up used for television series but for movies it just doesn't work well. I'm afraid that J.J. Abrams will always keep directing movies like that and as long as this remains the case, I'll probably not become a fan of him.

I'm no Tom Cruise hater, on the contrary. In my opinion he is the biggest and best action hero star of the moment. What other actor makes such great action movies and delivers an Oscar worthy performance as well? He plays the role of Ethan Hunt for the third time in this movie and in this one he is the most emotional and humane on, since he is attacked on his personal feelings. This also was already the case in "Mission: Impossible" but in this movie even more. It does provide the movie with some depth but this isn't always handled well. It makes some of the sequences feel out of place and in contrast with the rest of the movie. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays an excellent villain role mainly because well, he is such a great actor. He absolutely steals the show in most of the sequences that he is in. His character is however lacking a proper background and motivations, which makes his character feel flat and far from interesting. The rest of the movie seems pretty weirdly cast with roles for Billy Crudup, Simon Pegg and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, not the mostly likely actors to appear in a big action movie (same goes for Philip Seymour Hoffman by the way) but they all fit their roles well and are an enrichment for the movie. Laurence Fishburne is also quite good in his role. Ving Rhames reprises his role of Luther Stickell for the third time and this time is most definitely the least interesting one.

Of course the big and well made action sequences are reasons why this movie is still better than your average action-flick. The big budget for the movie is obvious and spend on lots of big explosions, gun fights and chase sequences. The action movie lovers will not complain. The special effects are also good but nothing Oscar worthy. They certainly don't look like 'an $150,000,000-movie' worthy.

The camera-work was good. I was quite fond of the shaky cam effects and they made the action sequences look even more spectacular. The musical score from new upcoming composer Michael Giacchino was also truly great. With this movie he proofs that he can handle big movies as well and just as good as the can handle popular games and television work. Hopefully he'll get the chance to do more projects like this one in the near future. An Oscar before 2010 for him?

Conclusion; If this was a TV-series episode it would had been one of the best ever but as a movie it simple falls short, mostly of some of the basic things.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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