MOVIE: While Summer isn't officially here, it is here in terms of movies. Mission Impossible 3 kicks off the summer movie season with a bang with an interesting and entertaining installment in the money-making franchise. Tom Cruise reprises his Ethan Hunt role and J.J. Abrams takes the director's chair. What makes the Mission Impossible franchise so interesting is the constant change of directors. If you look at other franchises like Lethal Weapon, Pink Panther, Indiana Jones, etc, the directors usually stay on board for the sequels. Even with the James Bond franchise you have directors usually doing several Bond films in a row. Mission Impossible was helmed by Brian De Palma and was all espionage with light action. Action maestro John Woo took the second one and made an explosive and entertaining action sequel even if it was a little over cooked. J.J. Abrams makes his feature film directorial debut with Mission Impossible 3, which is a little bit of espionage and a little bit of action. For those who don't know Abrams, he started out writing films like Armageddon and Regarding Henry. He then broke into the television scene with Alias, a pretty popular show. He became very well known recently for his latest show. Abrams is the creator of LOST, one of my favorite shows. So, I was excited to see his first movie. M:I-3 has Ethan Hunt trying to settle down and start a normal life, but he is thrown back into his old job when an arms dealer played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman wants him to track down the Rabbit's Foot. The Rabbit's Foot is some kind of weapon of mass destruction, and if Hunt doesn't retrieve it in 48 hours his fiance will be killed. What follows are explosive action sequences that sing the right tune to satisfy all of our action appetites. The movie is good, but I couldn't help feeling like something was lacking. I tried to pinpoint it, and the only thing that I could come up with was that it lacked style. Sure it had LOST written all over it. The tight close ups, starting the film by showing the ending and then rewinding back to the beginning, getting Michael Giacchino to compose an almost identical score to LOST, even re-creating a scene from LOST at the end, but still the movie didn't feel like it had an overall style. The reason why I liked M:I-2 was that it had John Woo style. The slow motion build up, the doves, and of course Hans Zimmer's amazing music. I'm just saying that Mission Impossible 3 is good, but it's not a definative action movie that stands out from the rest, let's see how Abrams develops his techniques with future projects now that he's broken into the movie scene.
ACTING: Phillip Seymour Hoffman steals the show as the incredibly self centered and hot tempered Owen Davian. You can tell he had lots of fun with the role. Tom Cruise does what he does perfectly and basically owns the character. The supporting effort by Ving Rhames and the rest of the gang are not anything spectacular. It's really all about Hoffman and Cruise.
BOTTOM LINE: M:I-3 delivers the goods, but it doesn't step above anything we've seen before. The bridge fight and helicopter chase were the only scenes in the movie that really felt original, everything else felt like it has been done many times before. It's entertaining, it's fun, and you'll enjoy it. It was great to see Hoffman and Cruise really work off each other. Abrams does a great job directing, but he really didn't make it his own in my opinion.