Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Mission: Impossible III (2-Disc Collector's Edition)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8 out of 10
Extras Rating:
9 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell
Keri Russell as Lindsey
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Owen Davian
Bahar Soomekh as Ms. Kari
Laurence Fishburne as Brassel
Billy Crudup as John Musgrave
Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn
Michelle Monaghan as Julia
Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Declan
Maggie Q as Zhen

Special Features:
The Making of the Mission Featurette

Excellence in Film Featurette

5 Deleted Scenes

Commentary by Tom Cruise and director J.J. Abrams

Commentary by writers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and J.J. Abrams

"M:i:III" Theatrical Trailers

TV Spots

Bonus Featurettes:

Inside the IMF

Mission Action: Inside the Action Unit

Visualizing the Mission

Mission: Metamorphosis

Scoring the Mission

Moviefone Unscripted: Tom Cruise / J.J. Abrams

Launching the Mission

Other Info:
Widescreen
English 5.1 Surround
English 2.0 Surround
French 5.1 Surround
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 125 Minutes

Synopsis:
Ethan Hunt has retired as an active agent in IMF, but he has stayed on to train new field agents. He doesn't miss the life of action and intrigue at all. In fact, he has found a fiancée that breathes new life into him. Julia doesn't know about his secret occupation, but the two are madly in love with each other. However, Ethan is pulled back into active duty when a former student of his is captured by evil arms dealer Owen Davian. Ethan aids in her rescue, but he is ultimately unsuccessful.

Now having a personal stake in capturing Davian, Ethan leads a secret effort to capture the villain. Unfortunately, he unwittingly steps into a conspiracy that affects the highest levels of IMF. It will also threaten the lives of those he cares for most.

"Mission: Impossible III" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of frenetic violence & menace, disturbing images & some sensuality.

The Movie:
If you're a fan of the previous "Mission: Impossible" films, I think you'll be pleased with this sequel. It has all the action and suspense of its predecessors and it further develops the character of Ethan Hunt and his fellow spies. It also features more of the clever spy gadgets that would make James Bond green with envy. Fans of "Alias" should also be pleased with this film. Writer-director J.J. Abrams brings a lot of the elements that made "Alias" great into "Mission: Impossible III." There's international intrigue, romance, conspiracy, and tense action. It all comes together to make a solid and entertaining summer action flick.

From the very opening scene "Mission: Impossible III" grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. It opens with an incredibly intense scene where Ethan is chained and helpless as Davian holds a gun to Julia's head. It's emotional, violent, and nail biting. Though it kind of spoils what happens later in the story, it hooks the audience and pulls them fully on board for the ride. The rest of the action in the film is first rate. The first big action scene features a rescue mission. There's a great gun battle and I was quite shocked to see that Keri "Felicity" Russell could kick butt and hold her own alongside Tom Cruise. Abrams is notable for creating strong female characters and he does so here yet again. The second major action piece is a tense mission inside the Vatican. It's funny and intriguing. Here again a strong female presence emerges with Maggie Q. I hadn't recalled seeing this actress before, but she was as beautiful as she was tough in this movie. Other action scenes include an explosive battle on a bridge, an escape from IMF headquarters, and a great car chase through Shanghai. Action fans will be well pleased.

The cast in this film is really strong. Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise. There's not much more you can say about him. Philip Seymour Hoffman, as usual, makes a very impressive bad guy. Ving Rhames reprises his role from the previous films and he's in fine form. Laurence Fishburne doesn't have a very big role, but he's quite intimidating with the little screentime he has. It's the secondary characters that really help round out the film. As previously mentioned, Keri Russell and Maggie Q kick butt and are beautiful. Michelle Monaghan even gets a little action as Julia. Simon "Shawn of the Dead" Pegg really steals the show in a couple of brief scenes as Benji Dunn, the "Q" of IMF. He provides much of the humor in the movie.

While watching "War of the Worlds" last year, I wasn't bothered by all the hype surrounding Tom Cruise in the real world. I was able to watch the film without any of that entering my mind. However, this time around Cruise's extra baggage definitely came into play as I watched "M:i:III." Michelle Monaghan at times looks like a Katie Holmes clone, so that makes some of their scenes together kind of awkward. Cruise at one point also dresses up as a priest to infiltrate the Vatican. After the hype of Holmes converting from Catholicism to Scientology, it was yet another scene that ripped you out of the storyline.

There were also a couple of ill-advised moments. I don't want to spoil anything, but after a bad accident, Keri Russell's eyes are seen going two different directions. Rather than prompting gasps of horror, the scene drew snickers. In another scene, Cruise is captured and put in a funny looking "Hannibal Lecter" type of mask. It also came across as silly.

My only other nitpick is that the score occasionally sounded like it was ripped off of a TV show, but considering that this movie is based on a TV series, it's entirely appropriate.

J.J. Abrams breathes new life into "Mission: Impossible" and proves that the franchise still has some life in it. If you liked the first two, you'll more than likely enjoy this. I personally thought it was better than "M:I-2."

The Extras:
This two disc set is absolutely jam packed with bonus features. They actually give you a very good, very in-depth look at the making of the movie. But oddly, the deeper you get into them the more they become all about Tom Cruise. It gets to the point of being a bit ridiculous, especially since there are TWO Tom Cruise tribute videos in this set. Despite this, the rest of it is very well done.

The first disc is the same as the standard version of the "M:i:III" DVD. It includes "The Making of the Mission" which is a pretty well condensed documentary covering casting, stunts, locations, effects, etc. This will satisfy most DVD enthusiasts. There are also five deleted scenes, several of which include more of Keri Russell as Lindsey and Maggie Q as Zhen. The first disc ends with the Excellence in Film featurette which is from an awards ceremony highlighting Tom Cruise's film career. You'll also find a good commentary by Cruise and director J.J. Abrams

The second disc gets a bit deeper into the making of the movie. There are five featurettes that add up to a couple of hours of footage. They cover the casting, the stunts, the pre-visualization, the mask trick, and the score. They are all very well done and very entertaining. You'll also find Moviefone Unscripted: Tom Cruise / J.J. Abrams. This features the two men interviewing each other. Trailers and TV spots complete the features before the DVD gets into more Cruise praising. After hearing about how he does his own stunts and what a fine actor he is, "Launching the Mission" follows him around the world as he does overly dramatic promotions for the movie. You see him ride a boat, motorcycle, fire truck, and subway to premieres throughout New York. This love-fest is followed up by a second tribute video highlighting his career.

The Bottom Line:
This two disc set is absolutely jam packed with bonus features. They actually give you a very good, very in-depth look at the making of the movie.

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