‘Mission’ accomplished, sort of

The “Mission Impossible” movie franchise is a remake of the popular 1960’s TV show of the same name. For this installment, producers recruited director extraordinaire J. J. Abrams, the creator of “Lost” and “Alias.”

The funny thing about that was, I love Abrams’ work. I knew it would be good. But what happened was I felt like I was watching “Alias” with substitute characters.

Instead of the “Alias” cast, it was an A-list Hollywood cast. Yes, I know “Mission Impossible” came out way before “Alias” but I still couldn’t help but make the comparison.

Both the movie and series have the tough super-agent as a lead, unstoppable enemies who sell weapons on the black market, the dopey computer-guy character and both have bosses who may be criminals.

Furthermore, it seemed as though there were bits and pieces of other Cruise movies as well. I actually started to enjoy that part because it was like a wink to those who know movies.

There’s a scene in which Impossible Missions Force agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) poses as a Russian sporting a beard and is dressed in raggedy clothing. That was clearly a throwback to “Born on the Fourth of July.”

Hunt has left field work to train recruits. On the night of his engagement party to fiancée Julia (Michelle Monaghan), he gets a phone call for one more mission, which he accepts.

The mission: to rescue new recruit Lindsey (Keri Russell) who has been kidnapped by minions of the criminal Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman). If this were any other IMF mission, Hunt most likely would’ve passed on it. But this one was close to home.

Hunt is then sucked into an even bigger mission, to capture Davian. When that blows up in his face, one of Davian’s men kidnaps Julia.

If Hunt doesn’t retrieve the “Rabbit’s Foot” for Davian within 48 hours, Davian will kill her.

Hunt assembles his team of “MI” veteran Luther (Ving Rhames), operatives Zhen (Maggie Q) and Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and starts the search and rescue.

I thought the casting was great for several reasons.

First and foremost, I must say that Hoffman as the criminal Davian was simply genius. There is a reason he is an Oscar-winning actor. He is brilliant. He was villainous, heartless and man, he was evil. I knew he would count to 10 and shoot the girl. Did I give away too much? Not really. You’ll get it when you see it.

Casting Rhys Meyers is a toss up. I caught onto Rhys Meyers at this year’s Golden Globes, when he won best actor for playing Elvis. Then my love for him grew when I saw him opposite Scarlett Johannson in “Match Point.”

For sure he’s hot in this film, but I found myself distracted by him, mouthing screams of ‘I love you(!)’ every time he was on screen.

But back to the movie. Expect twists and turns in this spy flick. I’ve watched and read enough mystery stories to kind of call what’s going to happen, but there were a few twists I didn’t even see coming. They weren’t major twists, but twists nonetheless.

In the end, I was impressed by the fact that, during the whole movie, I was not once reminded of all the media stunts pulled by Cruise. I didn’t see the Cruise going over the top with PDA for Holmes, nor did I see the Scientology-ranting Cruise. All I saw was agent Hunt. Which is how it’s supposed to be.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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