Mission: successful

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By Johnathan Kroncke

By Johnathan Kroncke

Finally, a “Mission: Impossible” movie that does not require a government security clearance to understand.

J.J. Abrams does the series justice and scores big in his feature film directorial debut.

As executive producer of both “Lost” and “Alias,” Abrams has already made a splash in the world of television.

But some still doubted the decision to stick him in the driver’s seat of what could be the biggest blockbuster of the year, a popular action series with a huge fan base that expects results.

Well, the “Mission: Impossible” faithful can rest easy because, in this series, the third time is definitely a charm.

In the third, and potentially final, installment of “Mission: Impossible,” we find that Ethan Hunt, the former lead field operative for the Impossible Mission force, has become a domesticated homebody.

Tom Cruise (“Days of Thunder,” “Minority Report”) plays Hunt well once again as he has rejected the life of field work in exchange for training new recruits and spending all of his free time with his new wife, Julia, played by Michelle Monaghan (“Unfaithful,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”). In an odd twist, Monaghan bares an eerie resemblance to Cruise’s real-life love, Katie Holmes.

When a former student of his goes missing during a reconnaissance mission, Hunt reluctantly puts his new life on hold to get her back. Unfortunately the mission fails and Hunt and the IMF set their sights on Owen Davian, an exceptionally sadistic arms dealer and kidnapper.

Davian, in turn, sets his sights on Julia after another botched mission by Hunt and his explosive rescue on a bridge from the hands of IMF. In exchange for her life, Davian, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Along Came Polly,” “Capote”), sends Hunt on a new mission: to retrieve a device called “the rabbit’s foot,” a biohazard weapon with unknown capabilities.

Should Hunt choose not to accept his mission, he must watch Julia die right in front of his eyes.

This is by far the best “Mission: Impossible” movie yet. The action is amazing as usual with some incredible stunts and, most important, the plot is simple enough to follow but still deep enough to be interesting.

Both the first and second “Mission: Impossible” movies suffered from incomprehensible storylines that involved multiple twists and turns that left audiences wondering what happened and why. This time, Abrams blows audiences away with great visuals and a comprehensive plot that won’t make people scratch their heads as they walk out the door.

Abrams also provides audiences with some new gadgets to be wowed by, a must in any “Mission: Impossible” movie. Among the more impressive inventions is a set of four machine guns which IMF agent Luther Strickell controls using four track balls, the kind that can be used to replace a mouse for a computer.

Strickell, played by Ving Rhames (“Con Air,” “Striptease”), also equips Hunt with a hoist which he uses to run up a vertical wall but attaching it to the top and then reeling himself in.

Rhames and Cruise have both settled into their characters nicely over the course of the series. They as well as Hoffman, come off so comfortable on screen that it hardly seems like acting, a feat in itself for Hoffman who makes a total turnaround from his portrayal of the persnickety, high-talking Truman Capote.

However, as well as the rest of the cast performs, one man stands out head and shoulders above the crowd.

Laurence Fishburne (“Event Horizon,” “The Matrix”) is tremendous as John Brassel, one of Hunt’s superiors at IMF. He is only allotted a few scenes in the movie but he commands the screen over Cruise and anyone else who dares to act next to him. Fishburne has a powerful presence on screen and, given the chance, he could have easily stolen the show.

Despite Fishburne’s lack of screen time, “Mission: Impossible 3” is the best in the series by far. It delivers in every way than an action movie should with great fast-paced sequences, strong acting and a well-written script that will leave audiences satisfied instead of completely confused.

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