If there’s one role that Tom Cruise truly owns and so obviously loves, it is Mission: Impossible super spy Ethan Hunt. But there’s a twist to his role reprise in M:I:III, one that has resonances with his character in War Of The Worlds.
Unlike old school James Bond, Cruise’s heroes are now looking for more than just the adrenalin-pumped satisfaction that comes with saving the world. Truly.
They want more -“ including a personal life, a partner’s love, and children. Think about War Of The Worlds where the failed father makes good.
And so it is in M:I:III, Ethan has retired from active duty with the Impossible Mission Force and found love and bliss in suburban America.
He’s secretly training agents for the IMF but his fianc?thinks he just studies traffic for the Virginia Department of Transport. Like, yeah.
But when the IMF call comes during Ethan and Julia’s engagement party, Ethan is torn. The mission is to save the one trainee (Keri Russell) he has recommended for active duty. Will he accept this mission?
Too right he does!
For M:I:III, J.J. Abrams, Alias and Lost creator, helms a very tight team as it lunges from American suburbia to Berlin, the Vatican and Shanghai.
Not only does M:I:III snag Capote‘s Philip Seymour Hoffman as a truly villainous arms trader (although we see too little of him onscreen), but the IMF team is superb and features several newcomers, among them Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Maggie Q who join Ethan’s long-time cohort Luther, played by Ving Rhames.
TheMatrix‘s Laurence Fishburne is on-board as Brassel, the director of IMF. Billy Crudup is his right-hand man.
Expect jarfuls of heart-pumping, seat-jumping action, mostly executed with panache and a wry sense of humour. And special effects coordinator Dan Sudick dishes up plenty of explosions and smoke-and-mirror gadgets.
The action sequences are pretty stunning -“ more so when you know that the multi-million dollar man, Cruise, undertook many stunts including a 20-metre plunge from the boundary walls of the Vatican.
The man does have guts and the whole ride is hugely entertaining. Suspend your disbelief and hitch a ride.
However, as with War Of The Worlds, the whole super spy hero as good husband/ good Dad was well and truly dealt with in the Schwarzenegger comedy, True Lies. M:I:III’s lovey-dovey moments are its weakest.
Perhaps all we really want from Ethan Hunt is an escape from domesticity: for two hours, nothing more. But you can understand the desire for filmmakers and actors like
Cruise to want to flesh out their characters to be more real -“ even Superman had a love interest.
Admittedly, a girl at risk isn’t exactly new territory in an action thriller -“ it’s just the hero isn’t usually married to her.