Review by J.T. Johnson
ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: May 24, 2000
DIRECTOR: John Woo
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Jeffrey L. Kimball
WRITER: Robert Towne
MUSIC: Hans Zimmer
“Mission: Impossible 2” was released in 2000, but it really is one of the last of the high-concept action films to come out of the 1990s. It is also the film where the series turned into a high-octane action series for Tom Cruise and, like the Bond series, the “Mission” films have proven that they are willing to adapt to the times. This mission was accepted by director John Woo, a man known for action films such as “The Killer”, “Hard Boiled” and “Face/Off”.
The story revolves around a deadly virus that was created so that the cure could be sold at a high price when the virus was released. IMF agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) was supposed to retrieve the virus and the cure from Dr. Nekhorvich (Radé Sherbedgia), but he ended up stealing the cure instead in order to hold it ransom. He thought he got the virus too, but didn’t realize that Nekhorvich had injected the virus into himself before Ambrose killed him.
Nekhorvich was a friend of Ethan Hunt’s from a previous mission. After Ambrose goes rogue, Ethan uses Ambrose’s former girlfriend Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton) to get close to Ambrose and learn exactly what Ambrose has and who his buyer’s are.
Now, I know a lot of people disagree with me on this particular entry, but I really enjoy “M:I2” though that’s not to say that its without flaws. On a minor note, the film contains some cringeworthy dialogue. I’m sorry, but lines like “We just rolled up a snowball and threw it into hell” just don’t work and should have been excised from the script.
My major problem with the film is with the forced love story between Nyah and Ethan. Granted, these kind of stories exist in some of the Bond films and even in some of the other “Mission” films, but here it just isn’t as convincing. Despite this, both Cruise and Newton do the best with what they can and they do have a genuine chemistry with one another. I blame the script for this flawed love affair.
Beyond these complaints, though, I’m a sucker for over-the-top action if it is done well and the action set pieces featured in this film are pretty top notch. I miss the days where most of the action sequences I saw were practically done with minimal CGI, so it’s always refreshing to go back and visit a film that did it for real.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of the stunts are performed by Cruise himself. Say what you will about the actor, but Cruise does a great job in the “Mission” films and proves with each entry that he is a genuine action star. Whether he is shooting his way out of a pharmaceutical building or trying to escape with the cure to the virus in a high-octane motorcycle chase, the entertainment value with this film is high.
Granted, I must note that the crazy action sequences that Woo sets up are not for everybody. Also, this being Woo, there are plenty of dual-gun wielding shootouts and, yes, the doves make an appearance, a noted calling card the director is known for.
There will be people who can’t overlook that this film is definitely of its time. Again, it belongs with other films released earlier in the ‘90s. For me, after rewatching it for the purposes of this review, all I can say is that I still had a blast with the film in spite of its obvious flaws.