Friday, September 8, 2017

Mission: Impossible 3 -- The Movie

Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
Ethan Hunt has given up field work to train agents by day and be a married family man at night, with his IMF career unbeknownst to his new bride.  He returns to the field to rescue a former pupil, but her subsequent death leads him into the orbit of the arms dealer she was tracking. Ethan captures the arms dealer, but he escapes and kidnaps Ethan's wife, forcing Ethan to go rogue to save her. 

Memorable Quote:
It's fine, I always spill red wine on my white custom-made shirt.  ~Davian

It can only be one thing -- PSH (aka Philip Seymour Hoffman).  He's one of the best actors of our generation and seems overqualified for a Mission Impossible movie, but I'm glad he took the role of Owen Davian because he crushes it.  I find the creme de la creme actors are the ones who can play completely different parts and yet be entirely convincing in each role.  Just look at him in Twister -- he imbues his Oklahoma country-boy character with such charisma and naturality that it hardly seems like he's acting.

He's particularly good in his scenes with Cruise where he delivers his lines with an understated swagger, and he even does a fantastic Cruise impression when Ethan is wearing the Davian mask and getting congratulated by Luther on his marriage.  "Thanks!  Thanks!"

The silver medal for overqualified actors in a MI movie goes to Laurence Fishburne who doesn't have a lot of screen time but owns every scene he's in.

At the other end of the spectrum is Michelle Monaghan (Julia), who really struggles in this role.  I wouldn't say she's a total disaster -- just uncharismatic and lacks chemistry with Cruise.

The scene at the end where she's tied up is particularly cringeworthy and it's partly due to the writing. At one point she asks Ethan, "You ok?" in the most understated way possible -- no, he's not ok, he has a device implanted in his head that's going to kill him in minutes.

And she's not nearly shocked enough to see who Ethan really is -- it's just ho-hum, my husband is actually a spy and he never told me, but that's ok.  And how about the scene midway through the movie when Cruise tells her that he has a secret that he can't reveal but she just has to trust him.  No woman would ever go for that, but she puts on a happy face, marries him 5 minutes later, and then has sex with him in the medical supply closet.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • This movie is written by JJ Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci, where the latter two are Executive Producers of the Hawaii Five-0 reboot.
  • Hunt's cover in his suburban life is as a traffic pattern expert at the Department of Transportation.  The guy he's talking to mocks him behind his back for being boring, but I think that kind of stuff (e.g. how a driver tapping his brakes creates ripple effects on the highway) is genuinely interesting.
  • I like how they reveal Ethan's ability to lip-read at the house party -- his skill is a cool piece of spycraft, and it's clever how they introduce it in the beginning and then bring it back later in the movie.
  • Fun fact: Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers starred together in August Rush, a movie that I saw once before and remember little about other than it had a cool rendition of "Moondance."
  • Why do they need Maggie Q to take photos of Davian for the mask -- shouldn't they already know what he looks like?  Unless he's such a ghost that there's never been any recorded sightings of him, but then they wouldn't know who he was when they got there.
  • Pretty cool that they were able to film in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.  The Vatican scenes are the most fun rewatchable part of the movie -- in particular the entire bathroom scene is outstanding.
  • Back to the lip reading -- you'd have to be one heck of a lip reader to pick up, "Shanghai, Feng Shan Apartments, 1406."
  • Tom Cruise is known for his running in movies, and MI3 certainly delivers on that count.  Multiple running scenes abound.
  • It's silly that Musgrave asks Ethan if Lindsey's microdot implicated him.  As if Ethan would give him a straight answer after who Musgrave revealed himself to be. 

Final Analysis:
Excellent movie and one that I always enjoy rewatching.  It's not quite as skillfully done as the first one or as fun as the second one, but it still gets a hearty two thumbs up from me.  It's been a great run thus far for the MI movie franchise, but things are about to take a turn for the worse.

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