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Zettel Film Reviews » Mission Impossible III – Tom’s pension fund

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Mission Impossible III – Tom’s pension fund

Pretty hot on parking restrictions around here

Pretty hot on parking restrictions around here

Mission Impossible 3 – Director JJ Abrams

It’s a toss-up – a day at Alton Towers or MI3? Both will offer you a series of white knuckle rides with no other purpose than to pump adrenaline and make your knuckles white. True Tom Cruise runs a lot; emotes a lot; and plots a little. The Mission Impossible Franchise is probably Tom’s pension plan – co-producer and his own production company. Mind you it had better take serious money – it took a small town’s-worth of people to make, including over 70 stunt-persons.

Am I the only person beginning to get astonishment fatigue at the current state-of-the art action sequences? Maybe the machine take over in the Matrix trilogy begins to have some rationale – films like MI3 certainly seem to display what we might call a bad case of ‘mistechandry’ – every machine in sight gets smashed, blown up, burned, or squirted with acid and then shattered in thousands of pieces. MI3 is another of those movies where a fully tooled-up war with planes, drones, missiles and every lethal weapon known to the endlessly fertile American imagination for loud destruction, takes place in a kind of parallel universe with no real people, cops, etc. You can’t blame the machines for getting pissed.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, presumably paying off his mortgage with one movie, makes a suitable action hero recalling the definition of a fanatic – someone who re-doubles his efforts when he has forgotten his purpose: someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject. Could anyone love money and power this much? In a world where the attraction of power apparently gets even John Prescott laid – perhaps so.

Cruise’s vanity mythical self, Ethan Hunt, dragged back from holiday in MI2, this time has ostensibly retired and is about to marry. The supposed emotional force driving the drama is his new wife’s (Michelle Monaghan) kidnap by Arch Villain Owen Davian (Hoffman) to force Hunt to get hold of the inevitable doomsday weapon for him. I wonder if real doomsday weapons would be cylindrical – so they will roll suspensefully when dropped – and made of glass that makes you think they’re fragile? Fragile? Give me a break – this glass is about as fragile as the cellophane round a new CD i.e. even an anti-tank gun can’t break into it.

MI has always been a great theme tune wrapped around a preposterous idea. The TV series was pretty crap except for Lalo Schifrin’s compulsive theme. Second choice director JJ Abrams takes a break from the labyrinthine eternity of LOST to at least arrive at a conclusion with this one. LOST is a bit like a Fibonacci sequence – an initially intriguing pattern that just sort of goes tediously on for ever. MI3 must have given Abrams’ mind a welcome rest – it’s more like “what is the next term in this series – 1,2,3,4,…..?”

Ear-shattering, stylish, breakneck-paced editing, heart-racing, mind-numbingly effective, MI3 has the edge on Alton Towers for price – but no candy floss. Unless you count the script. A noisy fun night out. But I’m worried about the machines nursing a grudge. There’ll be a reckoning……..

(May 2006)

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