June 7th, 2006  |  Published in old and busted

So, last night’s “Star Trek” date cancelled, I ended up adrift on my night off and found myself deciding to go see “Mission: Impossible 3.” It was a lame choice, but I’ve already seen a few others at the nearest theater, I’m sick to death of CG cartoons with cute animals voiced by celebrities, and I wasn’t going to stand in line with the losers who seemed to think going to see “The Omen” on 6/6/6 was somehow transgressive and naughty.

Nope … I decided to not stand in line and sit in a mostly empty theater with all the other losers who felt like contributing to the ongoing subsidization of Tom Cruise’s madness.

There have been critics who have complained about the lack of character development in this movie, which strikes me as a bizarre thing to complain about. Others have complained about how it moves too fast, which also strikes me as sort of odd. How overwhelming can a movie be that thoughtfully appends “China” behind “Shanghai” in the captions? How could any movie be “too much” when it has to remind us in painstaking detail about in-movie technology that makes near-perfect masks of human faces when that’s a gimmick the series has already used a few times?

Frankly, I think the scriptwriters and directors were as convinced of the mental deficiencies of their audience as Peter Jackson and crew when they turned Faramir into an asshole for the sake of keeping The Ring, like, rilly rilly eeeevil. Which is to say that while the soundtrack and copious amount of sweat and countdown timers implied a fast pace, there were plenty of moments where one could instinctively veg out for several minutes comfortable that not much was going to happen.

The real big question in my mind wasn’t so much whether it’d be a competent action movie (it was), but whether I’d be able to put aside my real-world knowledge that Tom Cruise is a complete nutbag with dangerous and stupid ideas about all sorts of things.

Most illustrative moment in the film that answered that question (this is a spoiler, to the extent you can spoil movies like this):

When he gets a remote-control nitroglycerin pellet embedded in his head and decides that, sans a defibrillator, he’s going to need to fill a metal bowl with water, rip out some electrical cords and electrocute his skull. My first thought on seeing him lean toward the bowl:

“So that’s what an auditing looks like!”

Then I fumbled with my camera phone to see if I could capture a movie of it happening. Too late, though.

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