Mission Impossible III

Directed by J.J Abrams
Written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and J.J. Abrams
On general release from 18th May 2006

Reviewed by Hana Leaper

Ever wondered what in the world the bogs in the Vatican look like (and if there are women’s facilities)? Bizarrely, I have, so the highlight of this film for me turns out to be the bathroom scene set in the papal seat - a pretty good indication of plot quality. By now, we all know the score: fast cars, extreme sports, helicopters, gadgets, computers (plus nerds), fancy phones, daring stunts, gun fights, explosions, explosions and explosions. The genre is oversaturated, and although this film isn’t the most tedious of its ilk (perhaps due to the hilarity it's possible to derive from purposely confusing Cruise’s character with his celebrity and heckling your way through, to the effect of ‘he’s a Scientologist – run for it’ every time his Katie Holmes-esque girlfriend appears), it doesn’t fill any gaps and would be more suitably called Mission Improbable - as I frequently find myself geekily spouting about the unfeasibility of most of the action.

Written by Jeffrey Abrams (who also scripts ‘Lost’) there are some clever-ish one liners chiefly delivered by Laurence Fishburne (of The Matrix) and a faux complex plot twist. However, it is off-puttingly moralising. The character who is prepared to accept compromise and collaborate with the evil villain for the greater good meets a violent end, whereas Cruise - who uses ultra violence, guns, torture, tells lies, fakes identities and casually squanders the GDP of an African nation on blowing up cars - is supposed to be a stalwart figure of good who we implicitly trust to do right and save the world. And of course, there is also the unpalatable cheapness of life that makes the body count for the two hour duration of this film (mission) impossible. So cheap in fact, that we are not even shown the dead bodies - except that of the female agent Cruise fails to save, who we see hideously disfigured by the biological/chemical weapons of the enemy, purely in order that Cruise’s jihad against said baddie seems justified. It would seem that the mutilated remains of a once-beautiful female still seem to have a certain impact, even in a film of such bombastically glorified aggression. In a sense, every person who dies is sacrificed so Cruise and his girlfriend (Maggie Monaghan) can live. Also über off-putting are the caricatures of black Americans, Italian Catholics and Communist Chinese slum dwellers.

Not big, not clever, but there are LOTS of explosions – if you like that kind of thing - although disappointingly, the ‘this message will self-destruct in 10 seconds’ fails to live up to expectation. This review will self-destruct in five…four…

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