Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mission Impossible 3 needed more Simon Pegg

I went with the youngest daughter to see M:I-3 Saturday. I'm glad I did, as I got to see Simon Pegg (on the right in the image) again playing the character Benji Dunn. As far as I'm concerned he had far too little screen time. I've enjoyed Simon Pegg in "Shuan of the Dead", "Spaced", and even the new Dr. Who episode "The Long Game" where he played The Editor. Great stuff.

Biggest problem we both had with this movie was Tom Cruise. His Cruiseness was all over the place, doing all sorts of incredible stunts. There was such an overload of His Cruiseness and His Cruiseness Action that there was little time left for decent plot or character development, let alone decent screen time for Simon Pegg or Ving Rhames or Laurence Fishburne. The only reason to see so much Cruise, according to my youngest, is because he kept getting the "living snot" beat out of him in just about every scene. And he even dies. Once. All that, according to the youngest, was "most satisfying."

Additional problems for me were the stolen script ideas that littered M:I-3. For example:
  • I remember seeing the plot device where the spy's spouse is in mortal danger in the movie "True Lies". There, Arnold Schwarzenegger (the spy) had to defend Jamie Lee Curtis (the wife). There are other similarities. Both hubbies have dull jobs for cover (Ethan is in traffic control, Harry is a computer salesman). Both wives are kidnapped by the bad guys. And both wives wind up learning real fast how to handle a weapon and help defeat the bad guys. I'm sure this plot device has appeared elsewhere.
  • How many movies have we had to deal with dooms-day bioweapons falling into the wrong hands? And what's with the keystone-kops chase through Shanghai with the worlds most dangerous bioweapon bouncing through the streets with Ethan in hot pursuit because Ethan dropped it??? He's bright enough to steal it but too stupid to properly carry it.
  • Or breaking into a high-security lab to steal said weapon? What was so funny is that the producers/writers/directory left that as a minor plot detail for the rest of the movie. In the original Mission Impossible, the act of breaking into a high-security building (Langley) was central to the plot.
  • How many movies have we had to deal with the rouge agent/mole betraying and/or killing valiant agents, and setting up the valiant agent so he/she is on the run from their very own agency? And yet they find and defeat the rouge agent/mole and save the world? How about the very recent "Bourne Supremacy" for just one example? Or the original "Mission: Impossible"?
And then there were the plot holes. I'm going to point out what I consider the biggest, most glaring one I saw, and leave it as an exercise for the reader to watch for the others.

At the end of the movie, at a location in Shanghai where Ethan is physically constrained, and after he thinks his wife has been killed by Owen Davian (the bad guy played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman), our IMF rouge agent/mole, John Musgrave, walks in to tell Ethan that it really wasn't his wife that was killed (he peels a mask off the victim's face to prove this). He asks Ethan if his moleness has been compromised by information sent by a prior victim. Ethan refuses to answer unless he first talks to his wife, Julia. John agrees to let Ethan talk to Julia. John calls those holding Julia on his cell phone, then walks over to Ethan and holds the cellphone next to Ethan's face so Ethan can talk to Julia. After a few seconds of conversation, Ethan rapidly head butts John several times, knocking John unconscious. Ethan quickly frees himself from his physical constraints, then grabs the cell phone. He puts the first call on hold and makes a second call to Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) back in Washington at the agency to have Benji trace the first call. Benji does, giving Ethan step-by-step directions from where he was located to where Julia is located. Let's think about this situation a moment.
  • It is amazing that no-one at the other end of the line hears the fight that ensues between Ethan and John and comes running to see what happened.
  • It is amazing that there are no local guards that hear the fight that ensues and comes running to see what happened.
  • It is amazing that the call stays up when the cell phone hits the floor. I have T-Mobile, and in the past I had AT&T. In all the years I've had a cell phone, if I fumble-fingered my phone such that it fell while I was talking, you can be sure the call was dropped along with the phone.
  • It is amazing how accurate Benji can trace the cell phone's physical location. I've worked for mobile phone companies in the past and I have some passing understanding of cell phone technology. Triangulation that accurate is sheer fantasy.
I hope Simon Pegg makes another movie as funny as "Shuan of the Dead". He should target the spy movies this time. I know it's been done too many times (Spies Like Us, all the Austin Powers movies, James Coburn's Derek Flint, Casino Royale (the one with Peter Sellers)), but I'd spend as much money to see his version as I did to see this pile of over-inflated action. I think I'd enjoy it a whole lot more.

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