Tom Cruise's second sequel to his remake of a TV show cuts right from the Paramount logo to the unmistakably sickening sounds of torture, followed by the queasy sight of what appears to be our hero's young sweetheart held at gunpoint, bound and gagged. Then the punch line, delivered to Cruise's super-spy Ethan Hunt by the arms-trading villain (Philip Seymour Hoffman): "We've put an explosive charge in your head." Channeling the spirit of the times, Mission: Impossible III is calculatedly invasive -- and none too entertaining. Aside from a single jazzy image of Hunt taking a nosedive off a Shanghai skyscraper, the film is too oppressive, too enamored of its brutality to deliver anything like real thrills. In between the first of countless torture scenes and what looks like a standard-issue paparazzi shot of celebrity puppy-love, this witless blockbuster strains through its hero's guilty tears to assert that the new millennium mainly affords a hardworking breadwinner the chance to take secret meetings in Vatican City and still get home in time for dinner.
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and J.J. Abrams
Producer: Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner
Cast: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Kelly Brook, Eileen Atkins, Justin Kirk, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q and Laurence Fishburne