Many people cite Mission: Impossible II as the worst film in the series yet I’ve always had a specific dislike in regards to Mission: Impossible III. Where I admire Mission: Impossible II to an extent for John Woo’s own self-awareness to the silliness which he presents on the screen, I stand by a specific belief that Mission: Impossible III is the worst of the bunch as I find that when compared to the previous two, it’s so much more of a lazy effort. Mission: Impossible III just starts off promisingly but soon after that, everything that follows turns extremely frustrating and by that point, I simply don’t care anymore for the direction it goes.
What starts off promisingly with Ethan Hunt being interrogated by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Owen Davian, suddenly goes down to become arguably the most straightforward film in the whole series. Ultimately, this straightforward nature in comparison to the previous two is what holds back Mission: Impossible III when put up against the previous films for we have a film that’s simply not as puzzling anymore when the complicated structure for the Mission: Impossible film series is what aids the franchise to create such an exciting product, and even if the previous two were not completely as exciting as they should have been, Mission: Impossible III is a product of laziness.
The nature of Mission: Impossible III is especially disappointing when put against the previous two, which try their best in standing out from other espionage fare for we have a rather generic spy film, so it’s easy to predict the route in which we’re going, thus taking out a real form of excitement. The generic nature shows off its very worst especially in a revelation of an antagonist halfway through, because this is the sort of twist that induces eye-rolling as it’s both way too familiar in nature and there wasn’t so much buildup to the character at the same time. Yet I think there’s more behind this that just left me feeling extremely cold at what I’ve received.
I was left bitterly cold at how Philip Seymour Hoffman, the greatest asset that Mission: Impossible III had going for it, is criminally underused. There’s so much potential that could come out with having him as the main antagonist, and ultimately while he has arguably the most gripping scenes in the whole film, it’s rather saddening when this performance is indeed, the only particularly notable aspect. There could have been so much more happening when Philip Seymour Hoffman of all actors is featured as the film’s primary antagonist but his lack of screen time left nothing but the feeling of bitter disappointment in my mouth.
Probably the biggest problem I’ve encountered in regards toMission: Impossible III is how I feel from the whole series, it stands out as the film with the worst script. I don’t find this especially surprising as the script had been co-written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, but I think the biggest problem is it’s conformity to Hollywood tropes (a problem which has indeed plagued the first two films) just took out any room for originality. Under J.J. Abrams’s direction, it certainly doesn’t help that this is his directorial debut because I’m not too sure he’s fully realized what he can do to trademark just yet, but my only assumption is that the only means of achieving success is through conforming, which is something Brian De Palma and John Woo both have been trying to avoid with their Mission: Impossible films.
For what’s said to be a pivotal moment for the series where it picks up in quality, Mission: Impossible III doesn’t accomplish anything to make it stand out from other espionage fare. It’s the problem with conformity, but to this film’s aid, when Philip Seymour Hoffman is on the screen, it truly is fantastic. It promised so much from the opening but everything afterwards was sadly less than stellar. At least with a more experienced director behind the camera in the case of the previous two films, specific trademarks for the filmmakers spark an original twist to their own takes on these films, but J.J. Abrams is still just finding his way, and this finished product certainly isn’t his ending point.
Watch the trailer here.
All images via Paramount.
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Screenplay by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, from the television series
by Bruce Geller
Produced by Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner
Starring Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup,
Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Laurence Fishburne
Release Year: 2006
Running Time: 125 minutes