May 19, 2006
MI:3: Capote vs. Maverick
I HATE WHEN I RHYME! WHY DO YOU LET ME RHYME, YOU DOG-FACED ENABLER OF DOGGEREL?!
Let me begin my review by saying that the critics must have let their contempt for Mr. Cruise color their judgment. Listen to me, my Lutherans: THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST OF THE THREE MISSION IMPOSSIBLE FILMS! I was stunned by the intensity of the story, the passion of Mr. Cruise's performance, the surprising humor, and the ability of the director (J.J. Abrams, of Alias fame) to surprise with stunts that can still take a cynical cinema goer's breath away!
But before I continue, let me say: STOP ASKING ME IF I WANT THE MEDIUM POPCORN FOR JUST 25 CENTS MORE! If I wanted the medium popcorn for just 25 cents more, I would have asked for the medium popcorn for 25 cents more—or the large for $25 more! Why is this so difficult? I asked for a small—REPEAT—a small popcorn, a box of Raisinettes, a box of Sno-Caps, a box of chocolate-covered almonds, a box of Goobers, a bag of M&Ms, two frankfurters, nachos with cheese, a frozen ice cream cone, and a diet Coke. Does it look like I would want a medium popcorn?! Go get a G.E.D. and move on to meaningful work, like ticket tearer!
Back to the movie: It begins in media res. For those of you who attended a New York City public school during the 1980s, that means it begins in the middle of the action! Actually, it's more like the end of the action. Or close to the end. So it would be more like in conclusio res. Ach! I'm losing my Latin. I can barely keep my German, what with having to communicate in American English day and night. What kind of a language allows you to pronounce ough 18 different ways! THROUGH, BOUGH, THOROUGH, OUGHT! MAKE UP YOUR MINDS!
WHY DO YOU LET ME GO OFF ON TANGENTS! I HATE WHEN I GO OFF ON TANGENTS! TIME IS AT A PREMIUM, YOU MORONIC MENIAL!
Ethan Hunt gets married—something his colleague in impossible missions, Luther (my favorite character), warns him is a mistake, given "what we do and the lifestyle we lead." Hunt is not convinced. His wife brings back memories of life "before all this." Perhaps this is a little of Cruise's own personal history intruding on the story line. In any event, it definitely gives your enemies someone else to target, as we soon learn. (Thank goodness I had not yet wed when I was locked away in the Wartburg—who knows what might have transpired!)
The mission this time is to find and kidnap a black-market weapons dealer, Owen Davian, played with a disdainful world-weariness by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who this year was awarded the Oscar for Best Actor for playing none other than Truman Capote, who is about as menacing as a bunion. While some might think Hoffman is merely slumming in this genre, he had to get a kick out of kicking the living doo-doo out of Tom Cruise. One serving of gravitas, coming up!
By starting the motion picture at the end, we know that early schemes by the IMF troupe to nab Davian will fail. The question is how, when, and what will Hunt have to endure to put things right. The film actually picks up pace as it proceeds, unusual for action films, notorious for sagging after the first 45 minutes.
There is much fun to be had once Hunt et al. hit Rome. A particularly amusing moment occurs as Cruise and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, seen most recently in Woody Allen's Match Point, bring Rome's midday traffic to a halt via a screaming match in quite passable Italian! (At least quite passable from a dead ESL German's perspective.) Hunt proceeds to use the diversion to scale the 60-foot wall that encloses Vatican City and make his way into a by-invitation-only gathering of glitterati.
It is here, in the capital of theological duplicity, that Ethan Hunt will switch identities with Davian (an IMF trademark and a highly technical process to which we finally become privy) and apparently gain the upper hand as our hero prepares to deposit the villain on the doorstep of American intelligence. But things are never that simple—especially where American intelligence is concerned.
Is an American government official complict in Davian's arms deals? Can we trust our own government when it comes to meddling in international affairs? (Now what brought THAT up?) For that matter, can Hunt's new bride (Michelle Monaghan) trust him—someone who purports to study traffic patterns for a living when in fact he's the most important secret agent since James Bond?
"You have to kill me so I can live," Hunt tells his wife at the film's climax. A decidedly spiritual insight. As if that were not enough, one of Hunt's team, the almost absurdly beautiful Zhen (Maggie Q), begins to pray for Ethan's safety. To top this off, Meyers asks her to TEACH HIM THE PRAYER! I half expected Bing Crosby in a Roman collar to come flying into the frame like in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. God be praised! There's hope for Hollywood yet!
So if you have not yet seen this entertaining tidbit, by all means, go this weekend. Laurence Fishburne's wickedly witty turn as a dubious intelligence honcho is all by itself worth the $72 of my assistant's money that I spent on refreshments.
And don't let Mr. Cruise's errant belief system deter you. You may think him a fool for putting his trust in a dead-as-dust second-rate sci-fi scribbler. But how many think we are fools for our belief in the living Lord of Heaven and Earth?
If this film has a theme it is this: Sometimes the truth is staring us right in the face and still we don't believe.
Pray that Mr. Cruise comes to know the truth and be as zealous an advocate of the Gospel as he is of Scientology.
But without the whole jumping on the couch thing...
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