Losing My Virginity: Mission Impossible III


[Losing My Virginity articles are reviews written by someone who still hasn’t seen an incredibly popular movie after all these years. LMV reviews are interesting in that they can offer the perspective of a person who’s untainted by the cloud of commonness that surrounded a famous film of the past, and also show how well it has stood the test of time.]

Last week, I chose to accept a very important mission: watch the first three Mission: Impossible films in preparation to see the latest installment, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. The mission, though daunting, was largely a success. Due to an unfortunate series of circumstances, primarily holes appearing in the space-time continuum, I found myself out of time to review the first three films before posting Ghost Protocol. After a globe-trekking adventure with a crack team of top men, I am finally able to present you with my take on the whole damn Mission: Impossible franchise. We’ve gone from a great film with Mission: Impossible to a groan-inducing endurance trial with Mission: Impossible II and now we’re at the end of the road: Mission: Impossible III.  With the first and second films on either side of the quality scale, I had no idea where III would fall. Put on your best disguise, slap on a voice modulator, and follow me as we tackle the final installment of my Losing My Virginity campaign with Mission: Impossible III.

Plot: Ethan Hunt is getting married! Aw! Too bad his protégé Lindsey (Keri Russell) has been captured and needs extracting! After a spectacular attempt to save Lindsey ends with a tiny bomb implanted into her head exploding, Hunt and his team go on a mission to stop the evil black market arms dealer Owen Davian (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) from getting his hands on a world-destroying maguffin known as the Rabbit’s Foot. Naturally, there’s a mole in the IMF again that throws a kink in the machine, Davian gets a hold of Hunt’s fiancée Julia (Michelle Monaghan), and there’s a whole awesome scene where you think Davian kills her. In the end, naturally, Hunt saves the day and everything’s hunky-dory. Also, Laurence Fishburne appears as the head of IMF and is a dick to everyone. And nobody ever divulges what the Rabbit’s Foot is or does. Well played, J.J. Abrams. I half-expected for “L O S T” to appear at the end of the movie before the credits.

Team quality: Really? Once again,our favorite master hacker, Ving Rhames’ Luther, is back for a third tour of duty with Mr. Hunt, but like I said yesterday, since he’s in each film I can’t include him in the rankings after the first film. The other two members rounding out the IMF team are Maggie Q as Zhen Lei and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Declan Gormley. I’m pretty sure they each do something worth-wile at one point or another, but all I can remember is a stupid scene wedged into the movie where Gormley asks Lei to teach him how to pray, or something. It seemed like a fairly lazy, hackneyed attempt at character development and irked me a lot since rather than flesh them out, it just stuck out almost as much as the film’s best worst line (see below). On the bright side, Simon Pegg makes a brief appearance that sets up his much meatier role in Ghost Protocol. Silver linings and all that, am I right?

Babe quality: I’d hit it/Sigh. This one is two-fold. Keri Russell was pretty hot in this, for the few minutes she kicked ass and took names. Then her brain exploded and she was less attractive with her cock-eyed death face. Michelle Monaghan, on the other hand, didn’t do much for me. I spent the first half of the film pretty sure she was Liv Tyler. Obviously things with Nyah (Thandie Newtown) didn’t work out, but really Etahn Hunt? You settle down with a mousy nurse? How do you go from world’s sexiest professional thief to that? No offense intended, and I’d give Monaghan a poke for sure, but I fear Thandie Newtown just worked her sex magic on me and ruined all other M:I girls for me.

Villain quality: God-tier. Best villain of the franchise. Owen Davian is like the white version of Gus from Breaking Bad. “Oh, you captured me? Well, I’m gonna escape and kill that little fiancée of yours and I’m gonna kill her good.” “Oh, I’ve captured you? I’m gonna shoot your fiancée in front of you if you don’t tell me where my maguffin is.” Seriously, the man oozed charisma out of every pore and, like Thandie Newton’s Nyah before him, ruined any chance of the villains to come from even comparing.

Best part: Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Watch this clip above. So good.

Worst part: This part right here. Watch the first 38 or so seconds of the clip above. Who on the crew of this film, from Cruise himself to J.J. Abrams to the editors to the goddamn craft services guy, saw this scene and thought, “Yeah, that stupid fourth-wall breaking line really furthers the cinematic experience.” What the hell is wrong with these people?


I enjoyed Mission: Impossible III the most out of the three films in this franchise and it has everything to do with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Tom Cruise has proved that by this point, Ethan Hunt is an unstoppable super-spy who can do whatever he wants. As a result, it’s really everyone else involved that makes the movies for me and PSH finally threw a competent, mustache-twirling villain at Hunt and made things personal by threatening his wife-to-be’s livelyhood, to the point where he actually kills a woman in a Michelle Monaghan mask in front of Hunt. It was a fun movie despite the handful of flaws and after the debacle that was Mission: Impossible II, this film was the perfect palate-cleanser.