Plot: Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has an incredible resume as an IMF agent, but these days he is focused on relaxation and Julia (Michelle Monaghan), the love of his life. He is out of the field and keeps his dangerous past hidden from those around him, though his past is about to catch up with him. He trained a protege Lindsey (Keri Russell) to work in his place and while he signed off that she was prepared for the field, recent events seem to bring that decision into question. On a mission to follow crime syndicate kingpin Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), she was kidnapped and now Ethan has been tasked to rescue her, as well as complete her original mission. A mysterious weapon known as The Rabbit’s Foot soon draws Ethan into a global hunt for Davian, but can he shield his new personal life from his dangerous work for IMF?
Entertainment Value: This third installment in the Mission: Impossible finds some middle ground between the spy elements of the original and the wild action focus of the second picture. I do think the previous two movies are better overall, but this is a solid, well balance sequel that delivers on what fans of the series want, which is intrigue and some fun action set pieces. I also appreciate the more character driven narrative in this one, as it explores Ethan Hunt’s persona and his life outside of the IMF, which adds some welcome depth. Of course, this is done in small, quick bursts of exposition, but it is still nice to have some attempts to flesh out Ethan’s character. This is crucial because of the showdown between Ethan and Davian, which relies on mind games and using Ethan’s private life against him, so those bursts of exposition yield some effective dividends when the time comes. Tom Cruise is his usual charismatic self as in his third spin as Ethan and thanks to Philip Seymour Hoffman, he is able to show off his chops a little in their banter sessions. I also loved Maggie Q in this one, while Michelle Monaghan, Billy Crudup, Ving Rhames, Keri Russell, and Simon Pegg have prominent roles, while the film also marks the debut of J.J. Abrams in the director’s chair. This sequel continued the trend of shifting visions with each new installment, but I think Abrams crafted a solid, fun to watch action/thriller here.
No nakedness. Some mild moments of passion, but the movie keeps it classy and never reveals the throes of ecstasy here. A little blood, but it is minor and all aftermath visuals, so we see blood on faces, clothes, etc. but the actual violence or explosive shoved up someone’s nose happens off screen. The action here scales back from the second movie and takes a more grounded approach, but also dials up the set pieces more than the original, so it offers a solid middle ground. In the process, it loses the tension of the first movie and the wild, memorable style of the second, so there is a trade off, but I think the end result is still effective. The dialogue is in line with the previous movies, with some secret agent talk, villainous banter, tough guy talk, and of course, Ving Rhames has an incest related quip or two. As for the craziness, not much of that around here, this one feels pretty standard for both the series and genre.
Overall Insanity: 0/10