Chinese censors delayed “Mission: Impossible III” for months because of its negative depiction of urban life in Shanghai.
But they missed an even seedier reference in the movie — a genuine cell-phone number spray-painted on a wall that offers to make fake documents.
These services, which supply fake IDs, college degrees or drivers’ licenses, are common in Chinese cities, and the scene has been called the weirdest product placement in local cinema history.
The number is clearly visible over Tom Cruise’s shoulder as he runs past a wall.
Chat room wags say it adds to pic’s authenticity. But the online buzz may alert Chinese censors, and many expect the scene will be cut when the movie is released July 20.
The number appears on pirated copies of the pic, and bloggers have interviewed the man behind the fake document service, “Mr. Ba.”
The movie was originally delayed because authorities feared it made the police look inadequate and because shots of laundry hanging out of windows made the city seem underdeveloped.