2005 Certificate: 12


For his third assignment, Tom Cruise's secret agent Ethan Hunt puts on a brave face to save the world (and his new wife) from a ruthless arms dealer (Philip Seymour Hoffman). This mission - should you choose to accept it - delivers preposterous thrills and spills from the first frame as Lost guru and Star Trek rebooter JJ Abrams keeps the action fizzling along faster than a burning fuse.


  • JJ Abrams


  • Tom Cruise

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman

  • Laurence Fishburne

  • Michelle Monaghan

  • Maggie Q

  • Simon Pegg

  • Jonathan Rhys-Meyers

  • Ving Rhames

  • Keri Russell

  • Billy Crudup


After a seemingly endless period of couch-climbing and associated Scientossery, Tom Cruise finally gets back to doing what he does best: being the world's biggest movie star.

But with two directors bailing out and a stuntman wishing he'd done the same after being barbecued on set, the production of M:I3 has been as convoluted as its plot. Thankfully, the mission is still a success.

Agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) of the super-secret IMF (that's Impossible Missions Force) is in a pickle even before the famous theme tune has kicked in.

International crime-monger Owen Davian (cast-against-type Hoffman) has Ethan and his lady-love Julia (Monaghan, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) all trussed up. And unless Ethan reveals the whereabouts of something called the 'rabbit's foot', these Hunts are over.

Fast-forward to the beginning and we learn that Hunt has given up field work to train other impossible missionaries and enjoy the quiet life with Julia instead.

But the engagement party's not over when Hunt is called up to rescue a protégée who's been captured by Davian in Berlin.

Joining frontman Hunt for the Impossible tour are trusty roadie Luther (Rhames), foxy backing girl Zhen (Maggie Q) and Irish transport wiz Declan (the hopeless Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who can't manage a convincing accent despite being born in Dublin).

The Berlin gig doesn't go too well. No matter; Hunt's IMF manager Musgrave (Billy Crudup) takes the flak from big boss Brassel (Fishburne, getting all the best lines) and the band go on to play a blinder at the Vatican.

But Davian quickly slips from Hunt's grasp and high-tails it to Shanghai... with Julia. Which takes us back to the opening scene and that explanation-defying 'rabbit's foot'.

For all these twists, turns, masks and mammal-paw McGuffins, MI:3 has a rather familiar plot.

Yet that doesn't take the shine off Abrams' feature debut. Hunt's character is nicely fleshed out, the rest of the cast are clearly having fun (especially Fishburne) and the serious bits sit well with the dry humour and OTT action.

Whether we're along for a life-saving operation in the middle of a helicopter chase, dodging bullets on a freeway or base-jumping off Shanghai's skyscrapers, each set-piece is pumped with enough adrenalin to resurrect a dinosaur.

Skip the pre-movie coffee - this is as wired as blockbusters get.

Elliott Noble