starring Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup
screenplay by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & J.J. Abrams
directed by J.J. Abrams
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. That classic combination of a film that doesn't make any sense with one that doesn't inspire anyone to invest an iota of emotion in giving a crap, J.J. Abrams's Mission: Impossible III (hereafter M:i:III) isn't convoluted like the first two instalments so much as it's just incoherent and loud. It's the camera-in-a blender-school of action filmmaking: There's so little understanding of spatial relationships that the whole thing plays like that Naked Gun gag where the gunfight is taking place between two people within arm's reach of one another. An extended heist sequence set in Vatican City, for instance, features the four members of IMF ("Impossible Mission Force") hotshot Ethan Hunt's (Tom Cruise) team (Ving Rhames, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and the requisite hot Asian chick (Maggie Q)) running around in completely anonymous locations, sticking doodads to walls, and confirming to one another that they're "ready" and "in place." But without knowledge of their plan, their location (respective to one another and their goal, whatever that might be), their peril, or the stakes, you're left with four people doing something for some reason, necessitating our willingness to play along with the charade that we know who these people are, what their goal is, and why we should care. Consider a helicopter chase through a wind farm, too, and the many lovely visuals that such an enticing premise suggests--then look to the end-product, which is a lot of tight shots of helicopters in the middle of the night, parts of giant windmills, a bad soundtrack, and multiple decibel screaming about "incoming" and "they've got a lock on us." Who does? And where are they going on that wind farm? And why does the promise of an instrument-factory explosion induce yawns?