Run, Tom, run! He might have gone a bit batty lately, but you can always rely on the Cruiser for first-class running action. That boy just loves to run. There's no shortage of sprinting in this, the third and most entertaining of the Mish Iposs franchise. First Tom runs around the Vatican, chasing Philip Seymour Hoffman. Then he runs across a bridge. Then he runs around Shanghai, searching for his kidnapped wife. Phew! It's Marathon Impossible.
After a lengthy development period that has seen innumerable actors and directors hired and fired, you might expect M:I III to be a bit of a dog's dinner. But director JJ Abrams (of Lost and Alias fame) brings an admirable clarity to this convoluted tale of evil arms dealer Hoffman's attempts to sell off a deadly weapon called Rabbit's Foot. The script manages to cram in brain-bombs, a breathless helicopter chase through a wind farm and a new twist on those delightful face-mask disguises, while remaining just on the right side of preposterous. Abrams' shooting, meanwhile, is witty and unobtrusive. It's a great relief after the operatic stupidity of John Woo's M:I II.
"LESS OF AN ACTION HERO"
The only real problem is Tom himself, who manifestly fails to convince as a human being. With his plasticised musculature and ten kilowatt grin, he's less of an action hero and more of an action figure. It's getting harder with each film to divorce the movie persona from the sofa-vaulting loon, and his onscreen marriage to an insipid Michelle Monaghan only invites the comparison. It's no surprise that Hoffman steals - and saves - the movie as a repellent, lizard-eyed villain.