Friday, May 05, 2006

Box Office Poison Reviews "Mission Impossible 3: The Spy Who Loved Scientology"

The id and I - "Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is follow your dreams (This blog will self-destruct in 15 minutes)."

Well, the summer movie season kicked off this weekend with "Mission Impossible III" - and it's a semi-tired spy tale to say the least.

Sure, this time around, the third installment of this somewhat-troubled franchise is now being helmed by Hollywood golden boy, J.J. Abrams ("Lost," "Alias") - which is a definite plus. But the movie, despite it's dynamic thrills and spills, still manages to leave something to be desired by discriminating summer movie mavens.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman faces off with Ethan Hunt (Crusie) as the megalomaniac prototype "Bond villain with a brain stem." But despite the best efforts of this fine actor from Capote - his character is never fully developed in a desirable complex fashion (as opposed to the glorious Alan Rickman who played "Hans Gruber" in the original Die Hard franchise: "I am an exceptional theif, Mrs. McClane, and since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite...").

It's not Hoffman's fault - by any means - he just doesn't have a lot to work with here in regards to the screenplay. And, as any film buff knows, the best movies are defined by their villains (think Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor with Superman or Jack Nicholson as The Joker in the original Batman).

But be that as it may - J.J. Abrams does the best he can do with what he has to work with here. Unfortunately, by putting a "human spin" on Agent Ethan Hunt - it feels like Abrams is trying to fit an "Alias" square peg into a "Mission Impossible" hole (and fans of the TV show "Alias" know what I'm talking about here).

Yes, the action sequences in "M-I: III" are fast, fun and furious, no doubt. But Tom Cruise's off-the-set "escapades" make it too painful to watch at times as the film tries to paint him as a "caring family man." It feels like just another futile attempt to portray him as an actual human being capable of love with a beautiful actress in the limelight - and it doesn't work here (Art, again, imitating life).

Don't get me wrong: I like Tom Cruise as "an actor." When he's "an actor" in movies. A Few Good Men and Jerry Maguire are two of my favorite films with Tom Cruise at the helm. But the "love scenes" in "M-I: III" just seem a bit like more "public relations Scientology spin" in lieu of an actual storyline.

That being said, do yourself a favor, and buy the first two seasons of "Alias" on DVD - and watch them on some rainy afternoon. Now that's damn good drama with a superspy kick starring Jennifer Garner and a fine ensemble cast ...worth dying for.

Other than that, the only "Mission Impossible" left is to try and figure out how Mark Shapiro is going to make The Cleveland Indians "a winner" on their limited Larry Dolan dime store budget - and compete in their division with The Chicago White Sox and The Detroit Tigers ("I'm back, baby ...I'M BACK!!!").

I still think back to last summer when local Cleveland writer, Peter Chakerian, and myself sat up in the stands of Jacob's Field and watched Grady Sizemore play ball firsthand. I still remember as we turned and looked at each other and stated about Sizemore with stunned astonishment: "Man, this kid is going to be GREAT!" Well before any local or national media even knew who "a Grady Sizemore" was...

But that's the cost of being wacky Cleveland visionaries: PRICELESS.

"What does it matter to ya-? When you got a job to do - You got to do it WELL. You gotta give the other fella ...HELL!"

Mission ...accomplished.

Mission Impossible III-? Grade: B-


At 12:26 PM, Blogger RC said...

that's interesting but it makes sense about what you say about scientology ruing mi-iii...

plus i agree the villian makes it the best...

my favorite batman villian was was Penguin by Danny DaVito.

--RC of

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

The only disturbing thing about Cruise is when he says medicine is alltogeter
useless. All the rest about him is just tabloid crap that I couldn't care less about. Thanks for the review.



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