Dubby’s dvdiscussion: From marriage to mayhem: Cruise’s Mission III


Spiderman’s second installment set a benchmark for super-hero films. Now you get to learn more about what super beings are when they aren’t doing the action stuff. The human behind the person flying about to rescue the world.

JJ Abrams was Tom Cruise’s choice for director of the third Mission Impossible because the television wizard could bring a touch of humanness to Ethan Hunt by showing us what he does between the big blowing up pieces. It is Abrams first big screen venture and MI III is the best of the series to date because it is more personal and has more emotion. In real life too, because of couple of setbacks, Cruise has had to be more of a person than a superstar and an article in Time magazine compared him to President Bush who also had to be less of an inaccessible top man and more of a people’s person.

Of Mission Impossible III critic Kit Bowen writes, “Just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in. Recently retired, Agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) now trains new IMF agents, while maintaining a fairly normal life with his adorable — and very young — fiancée Julia (Michelle Monaghan). She has no idea what he really does, or did, for a living but she’s about to find out — the hard way. Ethan is called back to duty on a rescue mission when one of his trainees (Keri Russell) gets trapped in the field, forcing him to cross paths with a nasty arms dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Things then turn personal when Davian swears vengeance against everything Ethan holds dear. So now, on top of everything else, Ethan — along with his crack team (Ving Rhames, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Maggie Q) — has to go rogue to rescue his lady love.

No matter how overexposed Cruise is these days, there really is no denying his onscreen charisma. He is perhaps one of the last true-blue movie screen idols. But it’s also nice to see Cruise handle the emotional side of being a secret agent. He shows Ethan’s internal strife in M:I III — the constant struggle of being damn good at his job and desperately wanting a normal, happy life, devoid of daredevil stunts, masks and guns. Hoffman, on the other hand — who usually plays weirdos and wimps — must have been tickled pink to get a chance to play this sort of villain. Although he is a tad more bark than bite in M:I III, he definitely gives great face. And he gets to beat the crap outta Tom Cruise. What could be more fun than that? The rest of the cast fills in nicely: M:I veteran Rhames, as Ethan’s stalwart right-hand man; Billy Crudup and Laurence Fishburne as IMF’s corporate honchos; and for a little comic relief, Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg as an IMF tech-head. He gets all the best lines.”

Tom Cruise says that director Abrams takes you to the old days of pulp fiction of the 20’s and 30’s where you invent a word and tell your story within that world. Says Cruise, “You know JJ is a great filmmaker. Undeniable. This guy is so talented on every level. He is a great leader. He’s a great filmmaker. So I never worried.”

Adds Steven Spielberg about Cruise, “Tom is unlimited in going far beyond our sense of his range, performing emotionally charged scenes that stun the people who think they had Tom all figured out.”

In M:I III Cruise goes from marriage to mayhem much to our collective delight.