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Mission: Impossible III [HD DVD]  [US Import]
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At the time of its release, Mission: Impossible 3 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 of Lost, Alias, and Felicity) proves more than able-bodied in creating a Mission: Impossible that's leaner and less over-stylised 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 no Mission: Impossible stunt will ever be quite as simultaneously nail-biting and funny as the first film's wire-dangling break-in of CIA headquarters.)
Mission: Impossible 3 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 --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
J.J. Abrams, creator of small-screen hits Alias and Lost, makes his feature film debut with the third installment of this successful series based on the hit 1960s television show. Secret Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has decided to take it easy and lead a somewhat normal life. He's even found his perfect woman, Julia (Michelle Monaghan), and is engaged. But when newbie agent Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell)--whom Hunt mentored--goes missing while on assignment, the reluctant agent finds himself back in business. Soon, with his old buddy Luther (Ving Rhames) in tow, along with team members Zhen (Maggie Q) and Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Hunt is traversing the globe on the trail of Farris's captor, Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an elusive international weapons dealer. The stakes increase when the villainous Davian gets a hold of Hunt's fiancee and uses her as a bargaining chip. A raucous combination of spectacular chases, explosions, amazing stunts, and elaborate schemes takes the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) team to Berlin, the Vatican, and Shanghai. With fascinating hi-tech tools these secret agents can impersonate virtually anyone, scale walls in an instant, infiltrate the tightest security system, and blow up the evidence when they're done. But facing their most formidable foe ever, Hunt and his fellow agents are fighting the clock to keep Julia alive and get Davian the mysterious weapon he is demanding. Cruise's personal involvement in the stunts lends a nice air of authenticity to Hunt, who also shows his emotional side in this outing as he juggles his secret life and his new love, as well as possible betrayal by someone inside the IMF. Laurence Fishburne also stars as IMF's Director Brassel, and Billy Crudup appears as his somewhat timid right-hand man, Musgrave. --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
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