You can’t help but visualize the screening room, where some flunky mentions that the story is a little vague, and the producers snap back: “Who cares?! We got Tom, and we’re blowing stuff up!”
Blow stuff up they do, but it is Philip Seymour Hoffman that the producers should be touting. His portrayal of the villainous Owen Davian steals this film. It’s him we want to see more of, not Tom. Not that any of the performances are bad, just standard. Surprising, by the fact that Hollywood “It guy” J. J. Abrams (Alias, Lost) co-wrote and is at the helm of this installment, is that we are left with the feeling that we’ve seen all this before.
How many times do you expect to fool us with the pulling off of the latex face? How many times can you point us left before we start to figure out that the real bad guy is standing to our right? How many times can we watch Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, get in and out of the “Impossible Mission” and still be interested? If the missions are indeed “Impossible” than how come they keep getting done?
“Who cares?! We got Tom, and we’re blowing stuff up!”
Oh yeah. Sorry, I forgot.
As in the third installment of the Rambo series; this time it’s personal. Mr. Hunt first chooses to accept the Impossible Mission of rescuing one of his favorite trainees (A far too brief appearance by overly credited Keri Russell) and then is forced to rescue his fiancée (Michelle Monaghan) who Mr. Davian has turned his revenge-seeking evilness towards. Amidst all of this is the search for the “Rabbit’s foot”. A mysterious piece of equipment, that everyone seems to want, or at least not want others to have, and in an interesting writing choice, a piece of equipment that we the audience are never told exactly what it is.
Unfortunately, we eventually don’t care what the “Rabbit’s Foot” is, nor do we care about the underdeveloped characters. We are pretty much left to care about how and what they are going to blow up next, and how cool is it going to look. In most cases it does look pretty good. The special effects are excellent.
Bottom line: If you’re gonna go on a fourth “Impossible Mission”, give us more character development, more Philip Seymour Hoffman, more Ving Rhames, more story, and less latex.
Recommendation: If you’ve seen everything else, there are worse ways to spend 126 minutes. I mean, they do have Tom, and they are blowing stuff up.