Mission: Impossible III
Those bummed at Alias’ imminent demise should be of good cheer: the terrific television spy-actioner is back, except it’s called Mission: Impossible III. Sure, there’s the matter of substituting Tom Cruise for Jennifer Garner as the featured superagent, but everything else you love about Alias—including J.J. Abrams’ directing and co-writing—is here: The struggle between agency and private life, co-workers (Ving Rhames, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Maggie Q in this version) as extended family, turncoat higher-ups, hard-ass agency boss (Laurence Fishburne), goofball IT guy (Simon Pegg), and, lastly but bestly, Abrams’ Swiss-watch plotting. We get a generous mess of McGuffins, including a mysterious holocaust-causing device (Rimbaldi mechanisms anyone?) and as Cruise’s new wife, both of which have been stolen by ’s evil arms and intelligence dealer. Tom has 48 hours to locate both or else. Oddly, the clean craftsmanship Abrams brings to his Alias action set pieces is replaced with expensive-looking Tony Scott-style visual chaos, edited in weed-whacker fashion. Still, Abrams is to be congratulated for somehow milking from his anti-depressant-hating star an often humanlike performance, while wisely outsourcing the more empathic heavy-lifting to the extraordinarily cute Monaghan.