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Where EAST meets the Northwest

Tom Cruise stars with (L-R) Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Maggie Q, and Ving Rhames in M:I3. (Photo/Stephen Vaughan, courtesy of Paramount Pictures)

From The Asian Reporter, V16, #20 (May 16, 2006), page 24.

Hong Kong actress Maggie Q makes U.S. film debut in M:I3

Mission: Impossible III

Directed by J.J. Abrams
Produced by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner
Distributed by Paramount Pictures

By Edward J. Han

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make your Hollywood film debut in a blockbuster starring Tom Cruise."

It is doubtful that these were the exact words Asian movie star Maggie Q received in her invitation to join the cast of Mission: Impossible III. But they do sum up the situation. The actress, who grew up in Hawaii, had "been living in Hong Kong for eight years and wasn’t planning to do an American film" when the offer was presented.

In the latest cinematic installment of the classic TV series, Maggie plays Zhen, a secret agent with the Impossible Mission Force (IMF). Ethan Hunt (Cruise), in an attempt to have a "normal" life, is no longer an active agent and now trains new recruits. He has fallen in love with a nurse named Julia (Michelle Monaghan) and they are engaged to be married. When international arms dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) captures one of his protégés (Keri Russell), Ethan Hunt comes out of retirement to save her. Cruise’s character assembles an IMF team, composed of Zhen, Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), and Luther Strickell (Ving Rhames) to help him track down the ruthless Davian. In typical Mission: Impossible fashion the crew is sent on an explosive, action-packed romp around the globe — Berlin, Rome, Shanghai, and ultimately a small Chinese fishing village — in its quest to foil the bad guys and save the world.

On location in China

The final two scenes of Mission: Impossible III take place in China. Amidst the glass and steel skyscrapers of Shanghai, Ethan Hunt concocts a daredevil plan that even his own team is skeptical about. The largest city in China, however, epitomizes all that is possible through technology and positive energy. According to M:I3 director J.J. Abrams (creator of "Lost" and "Alias"), "Shanghai is a futuristic, science-fiction city." The bustling metropolis provides an excellent setting for this penultimate action sequence.

In stark juxtaposition, M:I3’s denouement occurs in the sleepy fishing village of Xitang, which is a two-hour drive outside of Shanghai. The town, purported to be 1,000 years old, is "a backdrop for an emotional endpiece," says Abrams. Ethan Hunt and Owen Davian have their final showdown, with the surrounding villagers going about their daily routines, just as they have for the past millennium.

Mission: Impossible III sets itself apart from the two previous franchise productions by focusing on Ethan Hunt, the man. The secret agent is getting older and starts to realize that there is life outside of work. Although he attempts to disengage himself from the IMF, unforeseen circumstances pull him back in. We, the audience, begin to see the human side of Hunt, complete with emotional attachments and conflicts. While much of the movie is predictable, Abrams and crew provide stunts, special effects, and plot twists worthy of a decent summer action movie.

More about Maggie Q

Born in Honolulu as Maggie Denise Quigley to a Vietnamese mother and a Polish-American father, Maggie Q moved to Hong Kong at the age of 18. She achieved supermodel status in Asia and has appeared on more than 100 magazine covers, including Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Time. Her first acting role was on the Asian television drama "House of the Dragon." Maggie has subsequently starred in both European and Asian movies, including Naked Weapon and Gen-Y Cops, a Jackie Chan production. Look for her next in Balls of Fury, a comedy about the Ping Pong underworld, featuring Christopher Walken and George Lopez.

With her newfound success in the American film industry, Maggie Q now splits time between Los Angeles and Hong Kong.