Mission: Impossible 2

6 out of 10

What a way to kick off the summer of 2000! If you’re a Hard Boiled Movie Guide reader, it’ll be no surprise to you that I enjoyed Mission: Impossible 2 because of my heavy bias towards movies made by John Woo. So, to get this out of the way early: Don’t Miss Mission: Impossible 2. Now, if you want the details, read on.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) can be likened to being the American version of James Bond. If you thought the first film was convoluted and confusing, you’re not the only one. After watching it a few times, I was finally able to string most of it together. If you like that kind of spy-versus-spy type movie, M:I-2 will disappoint you. But, if you’re looking for a cohesive story that is punctuated by some eye-popping pyrotechnics and shoot-outs, you’re in for a treat.

The story of M:I-2 is pure and simple. A rogue IMF Agent, Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott), has stolen a deadly virus. It is up to Hunt and his associates to track down Ambrose and retrieve the virus before it is unleashed to the world. There are twists and turns all through the film, most of them using the (overused) masked agent trick. Assisting Hunt this time around are Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton), and Billy Baird (John Polson). Doing a short and sweet cameo is Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins as Hunt’s unnamed new boss.

As far as the story goes, it’s enough to keep a summer audience’s attention without being overbearing. The one drawback was the predictability of the script, and again the overuse of the whole masked agent bit. There is one real audience pleasing twist in the film. This twist involves Hunt planning a break-in while Ambrose figures out Hunt’s plans. A brilliant cutting of this sequence makes the sequence superb.

For me writing a review of a John Woo film is both easy and difficult. It is easy because all of his films entertain me, but difficult because I tend to rattle on like an uncontrollable fan who can’t look past the name John Woo. The action in M:I-2 is top-notch. Woo pulls out all stops with the action, but the action seems to be all crammed into the end of the film, making the film feel heavy in the beginning with exposition and heavy at the end with action. The balance falls in the sense of wonder and grandeur that Woo puts into the film. For instance, Woo shoots a flamenco sequence early in the film with such flair that it stands out as more than just a dance sequence.

As for the actors, we’re not going to a summer movie to see Oscar-caliber acting, and the cast knows that. All the members do a good job with their parts, but don’t expect Tom Cruise to be putting in anything but his silly grin. Also take into account that M:I-2 is the first film in which Cruise fires a gun onscreen. Worth mentioning is Thandie Newton who is absolutely gorgeous onscreen and steals every scene she is in. Sadly, Ving Rhames and John Polson do not get much to do in the film. Rhames is relegated to running equipment back and forth, or sitting in a van. Polson has even less to do.

Final word on Mission:Impossible 2? Go see it for some summer eye-candy fun. Don’t Miss Mission:Impossible 2.