Mission: Impossible III (2006) Review

Mission: Impossible III (2006) Director: J.J. Abrams

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Following a six year hiatus after the disappointment that was Mission: Impossible 2, the third installment finally arrived and it was without a doubt a shot of adrenaline from J.J. Abrams (his first feature film). Mission: Impossible III brings back a familiar flare for flash and action to audiences which were starved in the second film. However, M:I 3’s production was also apparently a mess –it cycled through directors like David Lynch, as well as actors like Kenneth Branagh, Carrie-Anne Moss, Scarlett Johansson, and Thandie Newton. Eventually, Tom Cruise phoned up J.J. Abrams to helm this chaotic ship after binge-watching Alias.

In the film, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is retired and getting married to Julia Meade (Michelle Monaghan) but he has kept his profession a secret. It is a classic case of dramatic irony for the super hero everyman. Philip Seymour Hoffman delivers a perfect performance as Davian –an understated, calculating, a-moral villain who has stolen a mysterious weapon known as a “Rabbit’s Foot.” We open with a torture sequence as Ethan’s wife is shot in the head, and this scene informs the remainder of the movie, but as the adventure leads onward we learn that the situation is more complex, despite the fact that the plot is extraordinarily difficult to follow –one minute we are running through the streets of Berlin, the next we are hopping across rooftops in Shanghai, and then a heist and boat chase sequence in the Vatican. This is all standard fare for a break-neck paced J.J. Abrams movie. Yet this is also a more personalized story than either of the last two films in this series. At the halfway point, Ethan and Julia are married in an impromptu ceremony and in the end they honeymoon together after the “Rabbit’s Foot” has been recovered (though it is never fully explicated what the “Rabbit’s Foot” actually is). Only in the end does Ethan reveal his true employment via the impossible Missions Force (IMF) to Julia.

While this is mostly a vapid action movie, I can still appreciate it for being escapist entertainment. My favorite scene includes the extensive capture sequence of Davian, followed by his in-flight interrogation, and subsequent recapture in a dramatic shootout on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Of course, there are also many terrific scenes of Tom Cruise escaping custody, taking on a new disguise, leaping off buildings, scaling walls, and so on. However, this was also the era when Tom Cruise’s personal reputation took quite a hit from which it has only recently somewhat recovered. Nevertheless, Mission: Impossible III deserves much praise for resurrecting this franchise without knowing that the best was still to come.

1 thought on “Mission: Impossible III (2006) Review

  1. I had discontinued with the Mission Impossible films after this sequel. I was pretty impressed by it, specifically for how Philip Seymour Hoffman could play a particularly villainous adversary for Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. But there are some film franchises that I just can’t commit to after seeing their first few installments. Still I can appreciate reviews like yours that can help me see them in an ever better light. Thanks very much.

    Liked by 1 person

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