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At the time of its release,Mission: Impossible III's box office was plagued by the publicity backlash against couch-jumping star Tom Cruise. It's too bad, because this third installment of the spy thriller franchise deserved a better reception than it got. First-time feature director J.J. Abrams (bigwig TV director/producer ofLost,Alias, &Felicity) proves more than able-bodied in creating aMission: Impossiblethat's leaner and less over-stylized than John Woo's sequel and less confusing than Brian De Palma's original. Plot is still a throwaway here (Cruise's Ethan Hunt rescues his kidnapped former trainee and works to steal a device that... well, we don't really know what it does, but it's something about mass destruction that costs $850 million), but the action sequences, particularly one where Ethan faces down a helicopter on a bridge and gets flung hard against the side of a car, are particularly impressive since Cruise, at 44, is still doing most of his own stunts and shows no hint of the weathered look that's struck his action-star peers. (Though noMission: Impossiblestunt will ever be quite as simultaneously nail-biting and funny as the first film's wire-dangling break-in of CIA headquarters.)

Mission: Impossible III boasts a pedigreed cast, particularly Oscar® winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) as baddie arms dealer Owen Davian. Hoffman plays Owen all teeth-clenched and cool, especially when threatening to kill Ethan in front of his lovely new wife (Michelle Monaghan) who has no idea of his spy life. But in his first action-film lead role, Hoffman's almost too calm and collected to really make a memorable villain, especially when the rest of the cast--Ving Rhames (the only other cast member to return for all three films), Asian film star Maggie Q, and an underused Jonathan Rhys-Meyers--are a highlight as Ethan's IMF team. Mission: Impossible is still fun popcorn spy fare, and if Cruise chooses to end the franchise here, at least he goes out on a high note. --Ellen A. Kim

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CastBilly Crudup, Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan
DirectorJ.J. Abrams
Genre:  Action, Adventure
Screen WriterJ.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Bruce Geller
DVD Release Date:  October 30, 2006
Runtime:  126 minutes
Studio:  Paramount
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review by . September 24, 2010
The Tom Cruise vehicle that has been the "Mission Impossible trilogy" (based on the classic television series) has for the most part been an uneven (often lackluster) film experience. `Mission: Impossible' released in 1996 directed by Brian De Pama had some action scenes that have since its release been parodied countless times, but its script lacked serious focus; often M:I becoming unnecessarily confusing for an inattentive audience member (or even an attentive viewer). Then John …
review by . March 12, 2010
The Tom Cruise vehicle that has been the "Mission Impossible trilogy" (based on the classic television series) has for the most part been an uneven (often lackluster) film experience. `Mission: Impossible' released in 1996 directed by Brian De Pama had some action scenes that have since its release been parodied countless times, but its script lacked serious focus; often M:I becoming unnecessarily confusing for an inattentive audience member (or even an attentive viewer). Then John Woo gave it a …
review by . December 18, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Mission Impossible is now on the long list of films based off a show or a book much like the Bourne Identity, James bond and so on. There're are two types of fans that go see films like this, those who started watching the films and don't care and don't know anything about the original books or show and those that do and are completely loyal. In no way do I show disrespect to the people that loved the show or books because there have been plenty of films that had a great show and it completely disappoints …
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