For those of you that celebrate it, Happy 4/20 day. For everyone else, it is just another Wednesday. So when this movie was in theaters, I decided not to see it, not so much because I wasn’t interested, but because at the time, Tom Cruise just seemed completely nuts. This actually caused a slight argument with my wife at the time, which looking back is a little odd because action movies were not always something she wanted to see in theaters. Anyways, some bad memories kept me from watching this movie for a while but when I finally did, it definitely showed that the studios were trying to make a better movie this time around. So here is today’s movie, Mission Impossible 3.
The plot: Ethan Hunt wakes up to find himself bound to a chair as Owen Davian, an arms dealer that Ethan had recently crossed paths with, tells him that he has an explosive device planted in his head. Davian then asks Ethan to tell him where the “Rabbit’s Foot” is, threatening to kill the woman that is bound in the chair facing Ethan. When Ethan doesn’t tell him by the count of 5, he shoots the woman in the leg. Ethan pleads with Davian not to do this but Davian ends up shooting her in the head. Some time earlier, Ethan is hosting an engagement party for himself and his fiance, Julia, when he receives a coded telephone call from IMF. Making an excuse to leave the party for a few minutes, Ethan heads to a nearby convenience store, where he meets up with fellow agent John Musgrave. Musgrave tells Ethan that Agent Lindsey Farris was gathering information on Owen Davian when she went missing and they believe she was captured by Davian and being held in an abandoned factory. Figuring the information Lindsey had was worth the risk of rescuing her, Musgrave has assembled a team and wants Ethan to lead it but Ethan says he has retired and teaches recruits now. Musgrave indicates a disposable camera and says if Ethan changes his mind, to meet them at the plane at sunrise. Ethan takes the camera and after watching the video, decides to lead the rescue, making an excuse to Julia for leaving as she has no idea what he really does for a living. Joining the team, which consists of Luther Stickell, Declan Gromley, and Zhen Lei, Ethan makes his way into factory and rescues Lindsey. As Luther uses remote control guns to help cover their escape, Zhen Lei makes her way in and goes to grab two laptops but one of the dying technicians releases a grenade and she is forced to run from the room, going back after the explosion to retrieve the damaged laptops. Meanwhile, Lindsey asks Lindsey to turn off his communicator as she has something to tell him in private but before he can do so, they come under fire and are forced to fight their way clear of the building. As the group is meeting Declan for helicopter extraction, Lindsey suddenly starts clutching her head in agony, just as an assault helicopter shows up to kill them. As Declan tries to evade their pursuer, eventually causing it to crash into a turbine at a wind farm, Ethan discovers a micro explosive inside Lindsey’s head and tries to destroy it with a defibrillator but before the paddles can charge, the explosive goes off, killing Lindsey. The next day, Ethan and Musgrave are reprimanded by Theodore Brassel, the new director of IMF, as he vocalizes his displeasure in what he felt was a poorly conceived plan. Ethan goes to Lindsey’s funeral, where he receives a call saying that some mail that Lindsey had sent him has just arrived. Ethan picks up the mail, which consists of a postcard that Lindsey had used to send him a black microdot hidden beneath the stamp. As Ethan and Luther wonder why Lindsey sent him the microdot, the receive word from IMF technician Benjamin “Benji” Dunn, who uncovered some information off the damaged laptops. Ethan go to see Benji, who tells them that Davian is going to be in Vatican City, where he is buying something called the Rabbit’s Foot, and Ethan decides to lead an unauthorized mission to capture Davian. Ethan tells Julia that he has to leave for a while, and they end up having an impromptu wedding at the chapel of the hospital where she works. Ethan and his team sneak into the Vatican City and capture Davian, faking his death in an explosion to cover his escape. On the plane back to the states, Ethan questions Davian about the Rabbit’s Foot but Davian taunts Ethan about what he will do to his loved ones. When Davian mentions what he did to Lindsey, Ethan grabs him and opens a cargo door, threatening to throw Davian outside if he doesn’t answer but Davian refuses to talk. After landing, they are transporting Davian back to IMF when Luther tells Ethan he figured out what the microdot was. The microdot contained a video of Lindsey, who tells Ethan that while she was tracking Davian, he received a call and she traced the call back to Director Brassel. Suddenly, the convoy comes under attack from a drone aircraft as armed men manage to free Davian and escape. Fearing for Julia’s safety, Ethan tries calling her, then heads to the hospital when her brother said someone had stopped by the house looking for him. At the hospital, Julia is approached by a man disguised as a police officer and knocked unconscious. Ethan arrives at the hospital, just passing the man carrying Julia from the building, but after Ethan searches the hospital, he suddenly gets a call from Julia’s cell. Davian is on the other line and tells Ethan that he has 48 hours to find the Rabbit’s Foot or he will kill Julia. After Davian hangs up the phone, Ethan finds himself surrounded by IMF agents and though he tries to run, he is hit by a taser and taken captive. At IMF headquarters, Ethan is gagged and bound to a table, where Brassel says he will keep him there. After Brassel leaves, Musgrave speaks with Ethan but in between talking, he mouths that he intercepted Davian’s call and tells Ethan to go to Shanghai, before secretly giving Ethan the means to escape. Ethan manages to break free and escape from IMF headquarters, then goes to Shanghai, where he is surprised to be joined by his team. Learning where the Rabbit’s Foot is being held, Ethan comes up with an insane plan to break in, using a nearby building to help him swing onto the roof of the lab where the Rabbit’s Foot is being kept. Ethan makes it inside but is forced to jump out of the building lower than planned and he is picked up by Declan and Zhen. While getting away from the lab’s security, Zhen is shot in the shoulder but Ethan manages to take out the security team’s car. Ethan calls Davian, who tells him where to bring the Rabbit’s Foot. Ethan heads to the meeting place alone, where a limo picks him up and the driver tells him to drink the liquor provided for him. Ethan does so and falls unconscious, reviving just as the micro explosive is placed in his head. Back to the present, Luther, Declan, and Zhen arrive back in the states, where they are met by a IMF team, led by Brassel. Meanwhile, Davian shoots Julia and leaves Ethan with her corpse. Ethan begins telling Julia’s corpse what he wished he told her when she was alive when Musgrave shows up and reveals that the body isn’t really Julia, but Davian’s head of security, who he killed for failing him. Musgrave reveals that he is the mole and that Julia is still alive. Musgrave tells Ethan that he wanted Davian to acquire and sell the Rabbit’s Foot, as it would be a bigger blow against terrorism. Musgrave uses his phone to let Ethan speak with Julia and once he knows that she is alive, he knocks out Musgrave and frees himself. Ethan calls Benji and has him trace the call to Julia’s location and Benji guides him to where she is being held. Reaching the building, Ethan goes to rescue Julia when Davian activates the charge in Ethan’s head, telling him he has about 4 minutes to live, before he begins to pummel Ethan. Ethan manages to fight back and their struggle takes them into the street, where Davian ends up getting hit by a truck. Ethan frees Julia, then teaches her how to use his gun before he makes a makeshift defibrillator and has Julia use it to destroy the charge. When someone tries to shoot at her, Julia manages to shoot the assailant, as well as Musgrave, before she begins performing CPR on Ethan and revives him. As they are walking away, Ethan begins explaining everything to Julia about his job with the IMF. Back in the states, Brassel congratulates Ethan on a job well done and asks if Ethan is planning on leaving but Ethan says he is planning on going on his honeymoon, and he and Julia leave the IMF, with Luther and the rest of the team offering their congratulations.
Mission Impossible 3 was met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, earning a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. the critical consensus on the site is that it is, “Fast-paced, with eye-popping stunts and special effects, the latest Mission: Impossible installment delivers everything an action fan could ask for. A thrilling summer popcorn flick.” There was some controversy surrounding the press tour for the movie, as Viacom (parent company of Paramount and Comedy Central) had pulled the rebroadcast of the South Park Episode “Trapped In The Closet” over threats of Tom Cruise not participating in the publicity tour for the movie but Cruise denied making those threats and Viacom put the episode back in rotation after a threatened boycott of the movie. While the movie was box office success, it performed less than the studio’s hoped for, earning over $397 million off of a $150 million budget, earning much less than it’s predecessor.
They say third time is the charm and this time it definitely worked. The acting was top notch in this one, with both Tom Cruise and Phillip Seymour Hoffman doing fantastic jobs in their roles. I also like the introduction of Simon Pegg to the cast, adding a bit of humor into some otherwise tense situations, as well as making Laurence Fishburne Director Brassel, who definitely had the presence to fill a commanding role. The story was pretty good and actually didn’t involve a bunch of different plot twists to make things overly confusing. I did like how they started the movie with Davian threatening to shoot Julia, then going back to show how they got to that situation as it helped add a lot more character to Ethan Hunt. The action sequences were about as crisp and well timed as you could ever hope for in an action movie without the need for a lot of extra flash to “add to the excitement”. While I have given up hope that the Mission: Impossible movies would be more of a spy/espionage type movie, as far as action movies go, they definitely got better as time got on and this is a good example.
Rating: 4 out of 5