Tuesday, June 27, 2006

why did this have to happen?

As if three yellow cards to one player in a match (Simunic) and dubious penalties were not enough, we now have a match which had an unprecedented 16 yellow cards. Portugal vs Holland was touted to be an exhibition of aggressive football played with no fear. Scolaris' nous and Van Bastens' give-it-all aggro were supposed to be the foundations for a contest of gladiatorial proportions.

But it was not to be. What did transpire though was certainly quite unappealing. The referee for the match did what can safely be termed great disservice to the game and should be punished. And so should the players of both the teams for forgetting that the theme of the tournament was " A time to make friends " and also forgetting that they are being watched by millions around the world. The heads of all football fans the world over hang in shame.

A request to all the other teams left in the competition. Please don't do this again.

Also on the list of things not to be done are displays like Ukraine and Switzerland's in their knockout match. It was more than two hours of the most pedestrian performances in a long time. It was only fitting that even the shoot out resulted in Switzerland missing all their three chances from the spot. How many times has that happened, I wonder.

In other bits, it was an absolute shame that Australia are going home from this world cup while Italy go through the next round. Australia held the upper-hand, however slight, throughout the match and Italy had no business winning deep inside injury time. The only way this can be explained is the many times Italy have had to go home empty handed after missing out on penalties. After all, who can forget the most important and well known kick of Roberto Baggio's life ?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Queen gives kids a present

I am watching this amazing thing on TV here in the UK. Its a live transmission of a program that has been organised to celebrate the Queen's 80th Birthday.

Its basically something similar to what we Indians are used to seeing during New Year night on TV. But its more well thought and planned and the entire British star cast is present.

It was basically an elaborate pantomime which has all the classic children's favorites like Noddy, Winnie the Poof, the Famous five, The pirates of the caribbean, Robin Hood and a lot more. And there were characters that were played by the super stars of British television and cinema.

In the audience were about 2 thousand kids selected by a random draw from all over UK. And boy, did those kids have a good time.

Based on a simple premise of the missing purse of the queen, it presented a spectacle that was as engaging as it was endearing. Cute and stunning, well-thought and innovative, bright and funny, it was all of these and more.

I am having a good time :-)

Argentina V Germany is my final

Things have changed a bit since my last post.

And nothing has changed more than England's confidence and self-belief after Beckham bent like,well, Beckham himself, and curled a free kick into the near corner of the Ecuadorian goal just now. England are getting dangerous now. But they still dont have the pedigree to go all the way.

Brazil is a different story. Ronaldo is fatter than the German coach but he is far more gifted than any German player and he turned in a vintage performance against Japan suggesting he could very well turn the clock back as he seeks to establish himself as the best World Cup Striker of all time. Divinity beckons, and Ronaldo looks to be getting ready to embrace it.

Argentina met their first serious threat in the form of Mexico. The commentators were all in a tizzy with anticipation and yet no one was bold enough to put their money on Mexico. But barely 3 minutes into the match and you could see that Mexico were not going to go under. They meant business, serious business. And what resulted was the best match of the World Cup so far, by far. Attacking, free flowing, champagne football.

And it was again a slice of divinity, a sheer masterpiece of the scale of Mona Lisa that denied Mexico the chance of the biggest upset in this world cup. Rodriguez's goal is one of the all time best goals in my humble opinion and it sunk Mexico.

In the meantime Germany have quietly moved into the next round with a clinical demolition of Sweden. And this has setup a quarterfinal clash that has the potential to be the most explosive ever. Argentina, in magical form, and Germany, ruthless, efficient and very determined to take the big one home this time.

Reserve your calendars ladies and gentlemen, that is going to be one cracker of a match.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pichchurr Hall - The Whole Nine Yards

Decide to make a comedy. Get Bruce Willis to act as a suave mobster in it. Then pull Matthew Perry off the 378th episode of FRIENDS. And then get two absolutely delectable ladies to act as the mandatory sultry ladies pining for love. And you have the almost perfect recipe for a cracker of a movie.

Bruce, a contract killer, on the run due to a contract on his head, moves in next to Matthew, a dentist living with a gold digger wife with homicidal tendencies. The Dentist recognizes him and tells that to his wife. She tells him that he should squel on Bruce and collect the finder's fee and threatens him with not granting him divorce for life unless he agrees when he seems reluctant.

This is the gist of the movie. What happens next is more or less a series of situations that are written with comedy in mind and so I wont spoilt it all for you so breathe easy.

What spoiled it for me was something that keeps bugging me whenever I see it. You have this rather ordinary looking, middle class harried male chap who comes in proximity to a lovely high society lady who is obviously way over his league and who falls for her. Totally.

Now this happens all the time everywhere in the world and is no big deal. We all love to fall in love with things and people who are beyond our reach, don't we?

Well, what bugs me is that this everyday fella actually says or does something stupidly inevitable and she girl just starts seeing him in a different light and before you can say "wallah" your boy-next-door has got himself some serious eyecandy.

Having seen more than my fair share of this nonsense, I could see the obvious indicators of something similar happening in this one. And that would have been fine. Only, this one was even more blatant. The guy looks at the girl. The first opportunity he gets to talk to her, he commits himself to saving her life while staying in the house of the mobster who is going to kill them both. As if that was not enough, they actually have a proper roll in the hay as well. And to rub it in, she actually says that it felt pretty good.

The next time he gets a chance to talk to another mobster, who has killed the first one, and who is again very interested in killing both of them, he, the rather harmless, seriously-out-of-his-depth chap with no idea what to do, he proclaims that he won't allow her to be killed because he loves her. Mind you, this mobster is the husband of the lady in question.

And just to make it totally maddening, the lady in turn almost immediately concurs and proclaims her love for him by giving up on 10 million dollars to be with him. Yeah, rite !!!

Watch it though, if just for the sit-com effect.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Some more snaps from Norwich

These are snaps from my third hotel in Norwich, The Oaklands Hotel.

My room.

Oaklands Hotel Norwich

The view from my window at The Oaklands.

Oaklands Hotel Norwich

The restaurant at The Oaklands.

Oaklands Hotel Norwich

My breakfast. Isn't it lovely !?!

Oaklands Hotel Norwich

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Stroll through Norwich city streets

This is the main concourse of the Norwich City Centre.

Snaps of Norwich City lanes

This is the circle from where the city centre starts.

Snaps of Norwich City lanes

This is John Lewis, a departmental store.

Snaps of Norwich City lanes

A Norwich Union office on Surrey Street.

Snaps of Norwich City lanes

My dinner. Looks delicious, doesn't it ?

Snaps of Norwich City lanes

Castle Mall, an underground parking lot cum shopping mall.

Snaps of Norwich City lanes

The sky over Norwich city at about 8 in the evening.

Snaps of Norwich City lanes

Yes, that is the time. Notice the sunlight.

A typical British Newsagent's store. They sell newspapers, snacks, soft drinks, medicines, phone recharge vouchers and calling cards.

Snaps of Norwich City lanes

The Norwich branch of the Lloyds TSB bank.

Snaps of Norwich City lanes

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Argentina or England will take the World Cup home

Yes !! I am laying it on the line here. Being in England during a World Cup in which England is one of the strongest contenders is not a bad situation to be in at all. There are great shows on TV, lots of programmes showing snippets of old matches, vintage goals and a million other World Cup knick knacks.

I am not a football fan, but more of a Champions' League and World Cup fan ;-) and I really enjoyed the Arsenal v Barcelona match in the Champions' League final. Weren't Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho absolutely magical ?

Anyway, I am getting carried away as usual. Yeah, we were mentioning about my putting it on the line. I think England have the men to fight it out all the way to the finals but what could, and I fear will, bring them down is their coach's asinine insistence on playing a formation which just doesn't allow his players to do what they can be best at.

Michael Owen's ineffectiveness has a lot to do with the fact that he is not being fed enough balls in side the penalty area. And that is happening because the guys who are supposed to feed him, Gerrard and Lampard and Ferdinand are all playing in positions they have never played in comfortably or effectively. Gerrard is far more effective in a central role, not on the wings, where he keeps crossing Beckham's ways. Something similar happens between Lampard and Terry.

The most lethal teams down the ages have had a concentration of their most feared players in the rectangle defined by joining the inside corners of both the penalty areas, basically the central area, not the wings. And England, on the other hand, have a totally sluggish, not-so-sharp, and selfish Michael Owen, and just-plain-lucky good-but-not-good-enough Peter Crouch in that area.

All their superstars are currently operating on the flanks. Beckham thankfully has come back into a bit of form. That coupled with Peter Crouch's purple vein of form has kept them out of trouble till now. But that won't keep them afloat the seriously classy teams and someone better realise it.

What Sven is not doing is terrorise his potential opponents. He needs to let Beckham run circles around the right flank and float more than 50 crosses into the box. He needs to let Aaron Lennon scream deep down the right and keep atleast two defenders harassed and busy. He needs to let Steven Gerrard come further up down the centre and cause mayhem with his powerful shotmaking. He needs to let Michael just park his butt in the box with Peter Crouch, if both are on the field and wait for the crosses to come in. And he needs to play Rooney. And he is reluctant to do any of this. So England will not win.

But if England won't, who will. And on the evidence of the matches till now, I have to say its got to be Argentina. The sheer fluency with which they have started their campaign must be ominous to the other contenders. While highbred teams like Italy and Brazil struggle to put it across not so impressive opposition, Argentina just decimate Serbia & Montenegro with a display that shook me out of my usual Brazil-will-win just by sheer talent reverie. They are good, they are peaking at the right time, they are playing as a team, and apart from Brazil, they are the only team which believes in nothing but attack, and they have the players who can strike fear deep in the hearts of any defense in the world.

Among others, Brazil remain dangerous but they need to either get Ronaldo to get his act together or take him off. He is so pathetic right now his marker is not even bothered about cutting him off !!! And while Ronaldinho ran circles with his wizardry, he needs to start shooting at the goal. In the end, all the dazzling footwork amounts to nothing if you dont score, something Ronaldinho himself must've seen during the Champions' League final when Theirry Henry was a sheer magician with the ball but never scored.

And if Roberto Carlos is reduced to hitting in long floaters from next to his penalty area right into the hands of the opposition goalie, then I guess he has outgrown his utility. There are better defenders than him in every team in this World Cup, even on the bench. He is in the team for his striking, something similar to a allrounder in Cricket who is basically an average bowler but commands a place in the team because of his batting or vice versa. If he starts fluffing his batting as well he must be kicked out pronto.

The silver lining for Brazil is the composed display of their goalkeeper and the relentless running in of Jairzinho, Cafu & Edmilson. Its a spectacle to watch for sure, who cares whether they win or not. You should see how the defenders back up like German forces at the end of WW II when any of them gets the ball and sets off towards the opposition goal. And then you have Kaka Possessing the world's most lethal eye for a chance at the goal, this man is destined to achieve greatness in the years to come. He looked like conjuring up something every time he got a touch to the ball. Now if only he was fed the ball more often and more precisely by his mates.

Italy, well they are crap right now. They are playing as if they belong not to one country but West Indies. There is no sense of co-ordination, no team spirit and no collective vision. It somehow feels like they started their preparations just the other day. Hope they get their act together soon.

All the others have one or two potential Golden Boot winners but are basically not good enough.

I am moving to Norwich for some time

As part of my project, I have now moved to Norwich to study some of their business operations there.

This is the countryside racing by as we moved along A 11 towards Norwich.

on way to Norwich

A snap of a train that raced us for some time and then won comfortably.

on way to Norwich

This is the room I stayed in at Travelodge during my first night in Norwich.

on way to Norwich

This is the view from my window from my room in Travelodge. This place is the Norwich City Center Bus station.

on way to Norwich

This is the sky at about 7 in the evening.

on way to Norwich

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Veeru is fined, yet again

As usual, Virendra Sehwag has been cautioned, admonished and now, even punished. I do not even want to talk about the sheer ridiculousnessss of it all. But something stinks. Big time.

First he gets punished for appealing excessively, in an era where Shane Warne had already mentioned in his writings about he has extended Steve Waugh's vaunted mental disintegration tactics to the umpires.

Then he is admonished for saying that Sourav Ganguly did a great job as captain and that he misses him.

And now, he has been fined for running towards his team mates after claiming a wicket without turning towards the umpire first.

I saw the highlights of the England vs Sri Lanks test last night and Monty Panesar's third wicket was a faint nick to the keeper. Monty hardly appealed and just walked towards the keeper. He was not fined, last I heard.

And for those who might protest that it could depend on how strict the match referee in question is, consider this. In the same match, the great Brian Charles Lara snatches, yes snatches, the ball away from the umpire in frustration after the three umpires have not been able to decide whether MS Dhoni was out caught or not. Mind you, even the fielder himself was not sure whether he had taken a clean catch or not. But yet, Lara got visibly irritated and ended up wagging his finger at the umpires and then snatched the ball away from Asad Rauf.

You can pardon the match referee for overlooking something that might have happened in an split second on the field. But this was happening when the play had been held up for more than 10 minutes and everybody was wondering what was going on. Surely an umpire sharp enough to realise that Sehwag had forgotten to turn towards the umpire during the appeal would have noticed this blatant violation of the much vaunted Spirit of Cricket. And yet, he chose to keep mum.

Siddarth Vaidyanathan, of Cricinfo.com has the most lucid and hard hitting take on it.

Secondly, and this is vital, what sort of spirit allows the captain of a side to snatch the ball from an umpire's hand? What sort of spirit allows him to wag a finger at the umpire? The irony is that the ICC penalises the captain twice as much as the players in cases of slow over-rate, but has allowed Lara to get away with this. Had the match been more delicately poised, Dhoni would probably not have walked at all. But again, one can only analyse events that happened. It is reliably learnt that Dhoni eventually walked off the field, not because he agreed with the decision, but because he felt that he shouldn't create a fuss when a great player like Lara is taking such a strong stand. Here is a batsman, who might not have been out, who might well have deserved the benefit of the doubt, deciding to go off because of the stature of the opponent. Now you decide which part of the whole issue was ridiculous.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pichchurr Hall - The Omen 666

Well, I did it. I watched The Omen on 6.6.06. Yes !!!!

Thats the excitement bit. But that's more or less it. If you have either read the book or seen the original movie, of which this is a rather soulless, how appopriate a word that was, eh ?, remake, then I suggest you give this one a miss.

The story is a faithful reproduction of the original movie, except the interpretations of the events predicting the birth of the anti-christ have been modified to fit recent events. However, what this movie fails to do entirely is capture the sheer air of terror that the original movie had managed to instill throughout its length.

You are just not scared !!! Yes, there are three scenes where the meek-hearted ladies in the audience jumped on their neighbours and made them very happy, but the fear just doesn't build up anytime. A classic horror flick manages to slowly increase the anticipation of something horrible about to happen to an extent where you emit a full throated shriek just that split second before the actual event has even registered and been processed by the brain. That is the hallmark of all good horror movies.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what the director of this movie had never heard of. He knew about acting, he knew about awesome cinematography, he knew about the crisp dialogues and surely knew about sticking to the book. But that's more or less all he knew.

What a waste !

Monday, June 05, 2006

random samachar

Among other notable stuff watched was a three part movie on iTV names The Triangle which was a brilliant story woven around the Bermuda Triangle. The best part of this movie is the way it serves up numerous facts about the famous region off the eastern coast of the US and mixes some tantalising bits of storytelling to produce a totally compelling docu-drama. Definitely worth a watch.

Also seen, again, yesterday night was Kelly's Heroes, a story of a band of American soldiers in the Second World War based in France who find out that a bank in a town in German control holds 16 million dollars worth of gold and decide to loot it. Its a good movie only because of the way it depicts how greed for money can bring together a rag tag group of soldiers who are not at all keen to indulge in any serious fighting and would rather find any excuse to to go home than battle it out on the frontline. Nice bits of humour just add to the patina. And having Clint Eastwood and Donald Sutherland in the cast doesn't do any harm either.

On the anvil are United 93, the docu-drama on the plane that was supposedly destined for the White House on 9/11 before the passengers attacked the hijackers and Omen 666, the remake of that classic of horrific proportions. Hope to see the latter on the day it should be seen, today.

Another advantage of being in football-crazy Britain is the endless series of football based programmes across all channels. I couldn't have hoped for more in the run-up to the World Cup.

Pichchurr Hall - Humko Diwana Kar Gaye

Akshay Kumar has done so many movies based on this story of being engaged with someone only to fall in love with someone else that one begins to wonder if Twinkle Khanna is not beginning to get paranoid about it. The story is stale,and the direction rather mechanical.

Add to that the sheer lack of energy from all performers which is in stark contrast to Bhagyashree's rather excessive attempts to prove that she can still act and Bipasha's by now rather nauseating turn as the supermodel with attitude and you are left with a movie that would have been a total disaster if not for Kat.

Katrina Kaif is simply stunning. She is the best thing to hit Indian screens in a long time. She is one divine gift to humanity. And one of these days, I will wring Salman Khan's neck. Bugger, talk about God being unfair.

Anyway, I am becoming emotional here. Sorry Sallu, I hope you are jailed for 500 years for killing those animals. They are important and you can't just kill them, ok ? Someone needs to be punished and its you I nominate. Sorry mate, tough luck but someone must pay. Sonali, Saif and the others can go though. You shouldn't be too harsh, they are only human.

Oh God, someone stop me. I was talking about the movie then. Yeah, a couple of the tracks are catchy and did indeed rule the airwaves for some time. Thankfully not for long.

Nothing else comes to mind. Oh yes, before I forget, somebody tell that fella who used to be Jaspal Bhatti's favorite sidekick in those hilariously madcap comedies from yesteryears to cease trying to act in movies. He just aint got it. There is a limit to the hamming you can do on the silver screen before someone comes out and actually kills you. I mean, a pakistani called Nawaab Shareef ?? What were they thinking ?

Pichchurr Hall - Posiedon

Many years ago James Cameron made a movie that cost a gazillion bucks to make and became such a huge hit that it made them many times over. One of the prime reasons why it became such a big hit was the sheer scale of everything that was depicted. It was new. It was a first. It was mindboggling. The world would never be the same again.

And all this would have been fine. Except it created a problem as big as the Titanic itself for anyone else trying to make another film with the threat of the seas as the basic premise.

Titanic had not been made when the Poseidon Adventure was made, but it was when Poseidon was created and that is where the problem begins. There is no way you can watch a single frame of this movie without comparing it constantly with Cameron's masterpiece and there is no way anyone is going to score anything there.

The movie is an earnest effort and it shows. A couple of scenes are spectacular and the one where Dillon dives into a pool of fire is pretty breathtaking. The rest of the characters are pretty adequate and do exactly what they were supposed to do, nothing more.

What I liked about this story was that there was no preudo-moral babble about saving as many passengers as possible. Just a tale of a group of people who were only concerned with the wellbeing of their dear ones and themselves. In fact, it was this seeming selfishness that lent the air of desperation to the whole affair and made for some compelling viewing in the later stages.

Definitely good for an evening with no other work to do. Try to watch it with some nice company and you might even come away with a feeling of satisfaction at an evening well spent.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Pichchurr Hall - The Benchwarmers

A group of nerds, always taunted by the macho bullies of the world, want to play baseball but they are not allowed to and are permanently consigned to be the reserves, the benchwarmers. Only they meet another nerd who is surprisingly good at baseball. Backed by big money from a benevolent father of another nerd, a former benchwarmer himself, they take on all the big bully baseball teams in a competition whose winners get a brand stadium for themselves.

A potential heartwarming tale, this movie fails where it mattered the most, connecting. In an attempt to show the nerdiness of the nerds, the movie falters horribly and manages to alienate the audience. The nerds come across as not some nice but soft people who were bullied by the bad boys, but as a silly group of idiots who are not good for anything and hence deserve to be the benchwarmers.

And once this fatal flaw has entered the movie, nothing, not even rather energetic performances by the cast could save this one from total disaster. Cineworld doesn't allow taking even still cameras inside the movie halls otherwise I would have shown you photographic evidence that there were a total of 5, yes FIVE people in an evening show for Saturday, only the second day of its opening. There were three of us, watching this movie because there wasn't else to watch and there were two other girls. I wish we had hit on them. While we were highly unlikely to score, the odds in our favor would still be higher than those for this movie.

Snaps from Stevenage

This is the Stevenage Railway Station. The snap has been taken from a road overbridge connecting the railway station with the Stevenage town center.

Stevenage Railway Station

This is the road over which the aforementioned overbridge has been made. You can see Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre on the left.

Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre

This is the same road but the snap is from the other side of the overbridge.

Road on front of Tesco

And this is Cineworld Cinema, the place where I watch the various movies I post comments about, on this blog. They even screen a Hindi movie occasionally, which is good, but they are screening 36 China Town right now, which is not good.

Stevenage Railway Station

Pichchurr Hall - Ankahee

Aftab Shivdasani can not act for nuts. I cant believe how Vikram Bhatt could have chosen him to play the role of Vikram himself. Despite my doubts about the acting skills of the cast, I was still waiting with anticipation for the movie because of the story.

Well, I have seen it now and can't say I regret it. Though, honestly, this movie was certainly not worth waiting for. Not by a long shot. Esha Deol redeems herself in her spirited portrayal of what the entire world, apart from Vikram himself, believes to be Sushmita Sen but Amisha Patel is yet another example of miscasting of epic proportions. Vikram could have picked up almost anyone else in the entire industry and they would have done better than these two. The odds on such a totally hopeless casting were so low, I could have put my entire life's earnings on it.

If I could somehow ignore this aspect of the movie, the other parts acquit themselves rather well in comparison. The music does its job while not standing out, something thats a characteristic of Pritish Nandy moview and the supporting cast do their roles with enough of efficiency to not stand out as sore thumbs and yet not reaching anywhere even remotely close to being memorable.

Mind you, I am talking about the supporting cast here. And, however unfortunately, that excludes the chap who plays the role of Aftab's close friend who should not have been an actor. In fact, he and Aftab are so hopeless that when the two of them share screen space, and that happens far too often, its pure torture.

Watch it if Sushmita fascinates you or your girl insists on watching it. Be ready for some generous doses of Amisha-special bucketfuls of glycerine and Aftab's rather creditable impersonation of a recent escapee from the loony bin.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Pichchurr Hall - Fanaa

The mere thought of watching the incomparable Kajol back on the screen after such a long break was incentive enough to ensure that I watched Fanaa as soon as possible after its release. Add that to my new-found respect for Amir Khan and it was with a heightened sense of expectation that I went to watch the movie.

First impressions first. The start of the movie has rather bold shades of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Amir, rather surprisingly, hams to an aweful extent. And for a movie that has the rather poetic word Fanaa for a name and starts off with the heroine's mother waxing eloquent with shayari, the hero has some really corny couplets. Whats worse, the girl actually gets impressed by them. What could have possibly become a uniquely beautiful presentation of wooing, and some of you know how much of a fan I am of urdu poetry, turned, to my dismay, into a rather pedestrian effort. Sad.Quite sad.

Amir looks stuck in the coke ad that he did six years back. The same cock of the head, the same arrogant manner of stuck, the same loaded smile, they all look gross now. He needs to put his foot down and insist on roles that portray his age more realistically. His talent deserves it. Otherwise he will continue to make a fool of himself trying to play characters half his age.
The story itself is nothing great and wouldn't have merited even a first look if it was not a Yashraj movie with these two holding top billing. The title track felt quite catchy and should be the rage for some time at least. And the constant refrain of Subhanallah was rather Sufiyana and gelled well with the overall look and feel. A nice touch indeed. Kajol was luminiscent and Kirron Kher was her usual ebullient self while Rishi Kapoor seems to developed a knack for doing the lead's father's role in a way that defined his heydays.Nice, very nice, but nothing great.

And when even Jaspal Bhatti's jokes fall flat like pancakes you dont know what to make of it all. Brilliant in some flakes, routine for most parts, downright horrible occasionally, it remains a promise unfulfilled. A travesty indeed, for the collective talent that had come together for this one could have achieved great things.

But it was not to be.

And just an afterthought, what was that Sare Jahan se Achcha doing in the credits at the beginning ? Are we reduced to playing that mentioning Jan Gana Mana in a movie to establish that there is a patriotic flavor to the movie? How is this any better than Sunny Deol thundering Jai Hind among 40000 Pakistani soldiers ?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pichchurr Hall - Mission Impossible III

A wildy successful first movie, a tolerably successful sequel. A concept that does not die a natural death. Couple all this with a super star as the hero and there is no way the MI series was going to die out soon. I see the potential for atleast a dozen MI movies before the audiences will start spitting at the directors and producers in disgust.

Having said that, MI-III suffers from what can easily be called the curse of the Sequel. Being forced to stick to the original concept of Ethan Hunt beating all odds to come up trumps means that the element of surprise is just not there anymore. All that the director is left with, to hold the audience attention, is death-defying stunts and manic editing to increase the pace of the story. And they work, but only to some extent.

After about 45 minutes, you begin to get the feeling that this movie was made not because it deserved to be made but because the two before it were made. The need to extract maximum moolah out of the hugely popular MI brand name is an oh-too-clear driver for this movie.

Though it might sound easier to come up with a story when you have the broad outline already in place, it is much more difficult to actually come up with a story in these constraints that the audience will like enough to go watch the movie. And this is where Mi-III fails miserably. The plot has been hashed together hastily, without any attempts and giving it some flesh, and it shows. Glaringly.

A hare-brained device, Rabbit's feet or claws or something, that must be brought within 48 hours or Ethan's newly married wife dies. No attempts to explain what this device might be or how it came to be where it is and how does anybody know about its existence. One threat and off goes Ethan into the heart of China and retrieves a silly looking Glass Thingie and thats that.

The usual techno wizardry and imagery is all there. So is Tom Cruise's cocky and too-assured portrayal of Ethan Hunt. But it doesnt click at all and you are left with the feeling that a lot could have happened, it just didn't.

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