Anything’s possible

Big budget, big explosions, big … you get the picture

GUNS AND GIRLS <br>Tom Cruise always gets the girl because, well, he’s Tom Cruise.

Tom Cruise always gets the girl because, well, he’s Tom Cruise.

Mission: Impossible III Starring Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames and Laurence Fishburne. Directed by J.J. Abrams. Rated PG-13.
Rated 3.0

Well … it happened—$150 million of “OK.” Of course, a third of that probably went into Tom Cruise’s Swiss bank account before shooting even started.

Not that he’s alone in that: Will Smith gets paid $28 million per picture. But I’d say Smith is worth it. He opens pictures large and, by seemingly all accounts, is an all-around nice guy and therefore a safe investment for a studio. You’re not thinking about Will Smith the man as he hits his marks and says his lines.

Banking on Cruise at this point seems like an iffy proposition, but then, M:I III opened last weekend with a $48 million box office. Not bad, but not as good as the opening weekend for M:I II. The Hollywood Suits ponder this. Are we sick of Tom Cruise yet? Not as much as I would have expected, but then there’s that odd, enduring segment of the population that still maintains support for the inexplicable; the folks who continue to abide by Michael Jackson and George “Dubya” Bush.

Of course, here Cruise is abetted ably by television wunderkind J.J. Abrams in delivering the most entertaining entry in the franchise. Not that that means it’s brilliant, because at heart it is nothing more than big, loud, dumb, shut-off-your-brain, popcorn-chompin’ matinee fodder. And it knows that. So what we have here is more than two hours of escalating cinematic mayhem with no real plot to get in the way; just a series of scenarios linked together in order to lead to an admittedly anticlimactic climax. It knows it is dumb and in good company because when the characters change locations, the filmmakers helpfully identify the obviously identifiable by adding a superscript that reads ROME, ITALY … just for those folks who aren’t hip to the fact that The Vatican is in Rome, and that in fact Rome is in Italy. Fun facts.

The basic premise here is that über-agent Ethan Hunt of the Impossible Missions Force is pulled back into the mix to stop an evil international arms merchant (a relaxed Philip Seymour Hoffman smirking his way through the easiest paycheck he most likely ever earned) from getting his hands on a vaguely identified Doomsday Device called The Rabbits Foot. Things blow up. If you’ve seen the trailer, fill in the blanks.

It delivers, but in a melancholy-inducing, empty sort of way.