[Movie Review] Mission: Impossible II [M:I-2]

I-2

Starring: Tom Cruise, Thandie Newton, Dougray Scott, Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh
Director: John Woo
Genre: Action
Cert: 15
Released: 2000

Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to sit through “M:I-2” and enjoy it. Phew, not sure I can. I mean, I saw the first one after all.

Ethan Hunt (Cruise – “Mission: Impossible”, “Jerry Maguire”, “Magnolia”) is a man with a mission once again. A former operative, Sean Ambrose (Scott – “Deep Impact”, “Regeneration”, “Twin Town”), has stolen a deadly virus and antidote with the intention of holding the entire continent of Australia to ransom. Ambrose’s former lover and accomplished thief, Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Newton – “Beloved”, “Jefferson in Paris”, “Interview with the Vampire”), goes undercover in a bid to provide Hunt and his fellow operatives, Luther (Rhames – “Mission: Impossible”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Entrapment”, “Con Air”) and Billy (John Polson – “Sirens”), with the information neceesary to recover the virus. But Ambrose is a wily spy and Hunt faces a battle of wits with the former agent.

“Mission: Impossible” was not a good movie, bottom line. But “M:I-2” succeeds against all the odds in being a hugely enjoyable romp thanks to the fresh and innovative stunts and relentless action sequences. The key to all this is undoubtedly director John Woo (“Face/Off”, “Hard Target”, “Broken Arrow”) who uses familiar tricks such as slow motion, highly chereographed sequences and the use of mirrors and other peripherals to emphasise tense stand-offs.

The storyline itself is television standard fare – villain steals virus, threatens to kill everyone, hero must catch him before it’s too late. It really doesn’t get any more complicated than that and for once it doesn’t impede the impact that the film makes as the lack of thought required allows you to just get immersed in the exciting action that permeates the movie.

Performances are not great. Cruise does a solid job as you might expect but Newton is portrayed as weak and helpless for the movie’s own ends which is a shame. Dougray Scott plays a moderate villain but he doesn’t have the evil turn that is required in roles such as his, and that ‘bad-guy’ image is better displayed by Richard Roxburgh who plays Dougray’s South African sidekick, Hugh Stamp.

The DVD version of the movie is superb for obvious reasons (enhanced picture and sound) and includes wonderful special features such as interviews with the cast and crew, an in-depth look at the major stunts in the movie (many of which Cruise did himself) and the hilarious Mission Improbable parody that was filmed for the MTV movie awards.

Don’t let the first movie put you off watching this, it’s well worth it.

3halfstar

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