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Mission: Impossible III (DVD Review)

22 Oct, 2006 By: John Latchem

Street 10/30/06
Box Office $133.5 million
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 two-DVD set, $39.99 Blu-ray or HD DVD
Rated ‘PG-13' for intense sequences of frenetic violence and menace, disturbing images and some sensuality.
Stars Tom Cruise, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Laurence Fishburne, Ving Rhames, Keri Russell.

When will action heroes learn that in their line of work, marriage is never a good idea?

Tell that to superspy Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), who in this third outing hopes to balance a serious romance with spy work. Although he has semi-retired to a job instructing new recruits, he is quickly called back into action when his first protégé (Keri Russell) is captured by arms-dealer Owen Davian (Phillip Seymour Hoffman).

Hunt is drawn into Davian's plot to steal a mysterious device called the Rabbit's Foot, setting off a string of action sequences that are generally effective, even if the story is cobbled together from other better action movies and TV shows.

Director J.J. Abrams (creator of “Lost” and “Alias”) seems to be inspired more by the likes of James Bond, True Lies and “24” than by the original “Mission: Impossible” television series, although there is a great sequence that solves the mystery of how the IMF agents who impersonate the bad guys seem to make those latex masks so quickly.

The DVD is loaded and exactly how a blockbuster should be packaged. The first disc alone is sufficient, with commentary, deleted scenes and a production featurette, plus a video tribute to Cruise's work.

The commentary with Cruise and Abrams is as slick as the movie. Abrams, it seems, was hand-picked by Cruise to direct the film. The production turned out to be trouble-free and pleasant for all, to hear these two tell it.

It's especially interesting to listen to the pair's interpretations of the filmmaking process. Abrams equates the “Mission: Impossible” style to making a Wile E. Coyote cartoon, bordering on absurd, while Cruise comments on the proceedings as if he were participating in an acting clinic.

For fans, the second disc is pure gravy, with more than 90 minutes of material. It has five more featurettes, dissecting every aspect of the film, from casting and special effects to the musical score. These behind-the-scenes peeks expand on the information presented on the first disc, so there is some repetition, but viewers interested in the filmmaking process won't mind.

The bonus disc also has another Cruise tribute video, this time from the MTV Movie Awards.

All the extras are exactly what a connoisseur could hope for.

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