Endless Vanity: Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible III (2006)
What are some of the basic elements of today’s blockbuster? Lots of torture, a ferociously short attention span, wasted bankable young stars, time-released explosive charges implanted in people’s noses, and loud set-piece scenes where lots of stuff gets blown up. Trash movies like Running Scared create drama by constantly menacing a young child. Here, MI-III routinely menaces beautiful young women by tying them to chairs and threatening to shoot them in the head. In the film’s hook, Philip Seymour Hoffman as international weapons dealer Owen Davian tells a tied-up Ethan Hunt (Cruise) that he had better tell him where the rabbit’s foot is right now or he will kill his wife Julia on the count of 10. During the count, we get to see Tom freak out, cry, and generally try to talk his way out of the situation, but then (blast it!) Owen shoots the girl anyway, and then it’s time for a flashback. Cut to Ethan at a fun pre-nuptial party with his magically restored beautiful snub-nosed babe Michelle Monaghan. As macho Tom strolls about the crowd in a blue t-shirt and jeans, various admiring women say they would marry him, but a special coded phone call obliges him to decamp to the local 7-11 where Agent John (Billy Crudup) tells him over his shoulder that there’s another female agent who just got kidnapped by Owen Davian. Would he like to go help her escape? Ethan reminds John that he’s semi-retired, but then John shows Ethan a special disposable Kodak Flash camera that conveys top secret information about the kidnapped girl before it self-destructs with a little puff of smoke, and Ethan is on his way.
Suddenly, the scene shifts to
In a film that rarely pauses, Tom gets to jump over newly exploded holes in bridges, swing up over
Ultimately, Ethan’s easy competency at enacting impossible missions makes them not only possible, but dull. We watch Mr. Cruise admire himself in an action-packed mirror, which also serves as good pr to counteract Tom-ridicule in movies such as Scary Movie 4. One way or another, the man continues to get attention, and after awhile one even gets tired of hearing others say they are tired of Tom Cruise.