“Give me the Rabbit’s Foot” demands Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman). “I’ll count to ten, then i’ll shoot her.”
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tied up and horrified. ‘She’ is Julia (Michelle Monaghan), his newly-married wife. And he already delivered the Rabbit’s Foot, didn’t he? But Davian doesn’t listen to Ethan, and continues counting. ” … ten!”
Back in time we go to see how it all started and how Ethan ended up in this situation. Ethan has retired from his dangerous work for the IMF (Impossible Mission Force), works as an instructor now and wants to build a family with nurse Julia who thinks he’s working in traffic control. But when one of his best disciples, Lindsey Ferris (Keri Russell), is captured on a mission, he reteams with old mate Luther Strickell (Ving Rhames), Zhen (Maggie Q), and Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) to haul her out. The rescue mission is a failure, but at least they find a clue on how to get Owen Davian, big-time weapons dealer and high on John Brassel’s (Laurence Fishburne) priority list. It’s one more impossible mission for Ethan Hawke then – go to the Vatican and capture Davian. This mission is a success – but once back in the USA with their captive they get attacked and Davian is freed – not before promising Ethan he will let his girlfriend bleed and kill him in front of her eyes.
Then everything starts to fall apart – Julia is kidnapped, Ethan must retrieve and deliver the Rabbit’s Foot to Davian within 48 hours to get her free, Lindsey’s last message to Ethan suggests his boss Brassel is working for Davian, and Ethan is arrested because of his unauthorized mission in the Vatican.
Ethan escapes and goes to Shanghai in search for the Rabbit’s Foot and to rescue his wife (he married Julia between missions in the hospital). In typical Ethan Hunt-style – roof, rope, parachute – he steals the ominous device (some kind of biological weapon) and reports in to Davian. Ethan is being picked up, drugged and wakes up in chains – and Davian demands the Rabbit’s Foot and starts counting …
J.J. Abrams’ and Tom Cruise’s declared goal for this movie was to make Ethan Hunt more human, to bring some real emotion into the franchise and to raise the stakes for Ethan – enter Julia, a pretty nurse and Ethan’s fiance. So we see some scenes of Ethan’s private life and his relationship, but the almost Star Wars Episode II+III-standard dialogue doesn’t convince, and when the action unfolds, the short ‘family’-scenes are forgotten.
Ethan Hawke doesn’t need personal reasons to give 110% anyway – he is as dedicated (or obsessed) about his missions as always, and Cruise delivers – he runs, jumps from roofs, runs some more, shoots, runs again and fights with a Terminator-like determination.
With M:I III you get what you expect: one action-sequence after the other, with no disturbing dialogue or plot in between slowing down the action. And the action is high-tech, fast, explosive and loud. But do we really care? It takes a bloody long time until we are finally back to the gripping scene where the movie starts – too long. So long that you become bored and wonder when the magnificent Philip Seymour Hoffman will finally start counting to ten.
While you are waiting, you can take notes from which films MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III is stealing right now – the rocket/bridge attack from TRUE LIES, the not-knowing-her-husband-is-a-secret-agent girl also from TRUE LIES, the cringeworthy “romantic” dialogue from various STAR WARS Episodes, the break-in scenes from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE I + II, the airport scene from TOP GUN, the gadgets and “secret-agent”-missions from all JAMES BOND movies …
The supporting cast is ranging from good to great (Philip Seymour Hoffman – the best James Bond-villain who wasn’t in a James Bond-film), and Tom Cruise is …. Tom Cruise.
If you like your movies big, loud and with a lot of explosions and don’t care about character, plot, dialogue or originality – here you go!