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Blu-ray Review: THE DEAD DON'T DIE
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starring Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Keri Russell, Michelle Monaghan, Billy Crudup, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Maggie Q

written by  Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and J.J. Abrams

directed by J.J. Abrams

Movie review by David Blackwell

I liked the movie. Good action sequences. Nice team dynamic. Sometime it felt like an episode of Alias, but one thing disappointed me about the last thirty minutes. Still the first one is the best of the three when it comes to writing, but the team dynamic of an IMF team is spot on. It really works as you see the team working together on the missions except after the Shanghai gig they help Ethan with. I just can't help wonder what the aborted production of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 would have been like if it had started production in Berlin two years ago and with Carrie-Anne Moss among the cast (and David Fincher once signed up to direct). Before J.J. Abrams came on board (to help write) and direct the film, this sequel had a variety of problems from script rewrites and directors dropping out like flies. Was Tom's ego too big? To make a story short, the aborted production lead to Tom Cruise doing WAR OF THE WORLDS since Steven Spielberg was thwarted once again by George Lucas from getting Indiana Jones 4 directed (George didn't like the script).

Overall, the writing of the film leaves a lot to be desired since it comes nowhere to how the films are packed with story and action. It seems we have a little less story and the IMF team sitting on their butts with nothing to do for the climatic scenes as Tom Cruise goes totally solo for the Ethan Hunt show. As for the other two Mission: Impossible films, Luther (Ving Rhames) always had something to do for the climax and whatever other IMF characters that survive. Instead a nice team is put together only to go home after Ethan could potentially get killed in saving his wife's life. Way to go, writers! The first 90 minutes have the IMF team dynamic really sharp only to have the writers drop it to become a Ethan Hunt and wife team (and she isn't even an IMF agent!). I wish someone would have told Tom or Abrams that the IMF team needs to be in action for the climax instead of inaction. Then they use the tired IMF agent plot yet again (enough with that crap since it had been used for the first two films).

If you want to know the plot, it's really simple. Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is now training IMF agents and is no longer in the field. He is about to settle down with a nurse (or doctor) named Julia (Michelle Monaghan). He is called back into the field to rescue an IMF agent (Keri Russell) that he trained from a bad guy (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) that wants some mysterious McGuffing weapon known as the Rabbit's Foot. Keri Russell in a way makes true Abrams dream come true for Keri Russell as he joked about what if Felicity (one of his TV shows and characters) had a double life as a secret agent while going to college. Out of that came ALIAS. Now back to the plot. The rescue mission goes off like planned in Berlin only to have said rescued IMF agent die due to a small bomb (shoved up her nose) that is activated in her brain. Hunt wants to to bring the bad guy in only to find out he has bigger things to worry about as Julia is kidnapped by the bad guy who is rescued in a thrilling bridge action scene. Hunt is given 48 hours to retrieve the Rabbit's Foot for said bad guy or Julia will be killed.

The above plot and writing sound like a script of ALIAS. Fishburne nowhere comes to the performance by Anthony Hopkins (in M:I 2) as the top IMF brass. The only thing that MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 strives to be is a summer thrill ride which is to supposed to take you along for the ride. Just please don't compare the sequel to the other films in the series or you will discover M:I 3 is the weakest of tMISSION: IMPOSSIBLE films despite a good team dynamic, a great cast (except Fisburne who has done better in other movies), and great action scenes (wait until you see the action stuff at night in Shanghai).

this review is (c)5-6-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com