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October 2006

by Kam Williams


Cast: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Keri Russell, Billy Crudup, Laurence Fishburne, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michelle Monaghan, Simon Pegg, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
Director: JJ Abrams
Format: Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
Number of discs: 1
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Paramount Home Video
DVD Release Date: October 30, 2006
Run Time: 125 minutes
Rated PG-13 for action violence, disturbing image, and some sensuality.
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, Tom Cruise and director’s commentary, photos,
theatrical trailers, plus “The Making of” and several other featurettes.



Fans nostalgic for the original TV show will be happy to hear that MI III is not only the best but the most faithful of the series’ screen adaptations to date. Although it remains action-oriented, some major concessions have been made in terms of character and plot development.

Tom Cruise returns as daredevil secret agent Ethan Hunt, as does as Ving Rhames, who enjoys an expanded role as Luther Stickell, Ethan’s buddy/tech expert. The rest of the members of the IM team are new additions to the cast, namely, jack-of-all-trades Zhen (Maggie Q), and getaway driver/pilot/boat captain Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Michelle Monaghan plays Julia, Ethan’s clueless fiancée who has no idea what his real line of work is, while Lawrence Fishburne appears as John Brassel, his irascible boss. Philip Seymour Hoffman portrays as chilling a villain as you can hope to encounter as Owen Davian, settings a taut tone which permeates the picture via goose-bump inducing threats like this: “Do you have a wife or a girlfriend? Because I’m going to find her and I’m going to hurt her. And then I’m going to kill you in front of her.”

The plot revolves around a threat to sell a vial of a chemical of mass destruction to the highest bidder, ostensibly terrorists of Middle East extraction. Along the way, the tension is thickened by an assassination, a whopper of a red herring, a kidnapping, a back-stabbing saboteur and a host of other complications tossed in for good measure. While you’re feverishly trying to connect all the dots, just remember that the easiest way to enjoy MI: III is to sit back, and simply enjoy all the spectacular stunt work, chase scenes, f/x, pyrotechnics, gunplay, and comic relief with your brain on idle.

A thrill-a-minute, eye-popping, globetrotting adventure.

Excellent (4 stars)