The third installment of the storied Mission: Impossible franchise – once again featuring Tom Cruise in the signature role as secret agent Ethan Hunt – garnered mostly positive reviews when it opened in theaters last Memorial Day weekend. The film was judged a box-office disappointment by analysts, however, despite a worldwide gross exceeding $400 million. Many cited tabloid obsession over Cruise’s personal life as the primary reason audiences didn’t come out in greater numbers.
It’s a pity, because M:I:III is a worthy follow-up. Alias creator J.J. Abrams, hand-picked by Cruise to co-write and direct the film, quite capably handles the franchise reigns. It features all of the qualities we’ve come to expect from a Mission: Impossible film: big explosions, wild stunts and a somewhat intelligent plot (but not too intelligent – this isn’t Remains of the Day we’re talking about).
M:I:III also features a fantastic villain in the form of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman plays Owen Davian, a coldly sadistic arms dealer who kidnaps Hunt’s new wife in an effort to attain a mysterious weapon – codenamed “Rabbit’s Foot” – of unimaginable destructive power.
Unfortunately, Hoffman’s talent is sadly underutilized, as he isn’t in nearly enough scenes. Too much of the story is spent establishing Hunt’s relationship with his wife and not enough establishing the character of Davian. As a result, the climactic fight scene between Hunt and Davian isn’t really all that climactic.
What’s on the disc
The extras on the two-disc “Collector’s Edition” are somewhat disappointing, considering an action movie of this magnitude.
Special features on the first disc include a commentary track featuring Cruise and Abrams together. It’s never a great idea to include the director and star together, because they spend most of the time patting each other on the back. This track is no exception.
“Making of the Mission” is a 30 minute documentary chronicling the making of the film. There are five deleted scenes, most of which feature extraneous fight footage and dialogue. “Excellence in Film” is BAFTA tribute to Cruise, featuring nine minutes of clips from Cruise’s films.
The second disc is filled with documentary featurettes of varying interest. “Inside the IMF” includes profiles of the cast; “Mission Action: Inside the Action Unit” goes behind the scenes for the main stunts and action set pieces; “Visualizing the Mission” includes shots of the computerized “pre-viz”: detailed, three-dimensional renderings of action sequences created in pre-production; “Mission: Metamorphosis” profiles the makeup folks responsible for the many masks worn by characters; “Scoring the Mission” documents the composing of the music; “Moviefone Unscripted” is an interview with Cruise and Abrams; “Launching the Mission” chronicles the star-studded premieres in New York, Rome, Paris, London and various cities in Japan.
Also included are theatrical trailers, TV spots, a photo gallery and yet another tribute to Tom Cruise.