Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mission: Impossible II (2000)

There was a time when Hollywood really wanted to get the magic of director John Woo to work for them. But Face/Off and Broken Arrow  just didn’t cut it with audiences. So they threw him the sequel to a successful franchise, gave him a hefty budget and a bankable star. Would this be Woo’s biggest hit?

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is trying to enjoy a nice vacation climbing up cliffs when he’s told of a new Impossible Mission by his superior Swanbeck (Anthony Hopkins in a cameo). Ethan needs to find out why former agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) is after something called Chimera. To get to Ambrose, Ethan must find an ex-girlfriend Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton) and convince her to rekindle their relationship.

Of course it’s all a ruse, because she falls for Ethan almost immediately. Unfortunately, Chimera turns out to be a incredibly dangerous synthetic virus that can only be stopped by a serum called Bellerophon. Yeah someone read their Greek mythology.  Now its up to Ethan to stop Ambrose before this super disease is used as a weapon. Oh yeah and Ving Rhames and John Polson are also part of this Mission: Impossible.

Good Points:
  • Has some dazzling over the top visuals
  • The final half is nearly nonstop action
  • Fun and popcorny
Bad Points:
  • Over the top visuals can lead to laughter
  • Turns Ethan in James Bond and drops the team effort
  • What is with all the masks?
Easily the weakest in the franchise, but it’s a nice silly action movie. Has some great visuals on display, and the use of slow motion in the actions scenes is handled well. But then there’s the other side of the coin, where Woo’s operatic sensibilities just make you laugh out loud (I’m looking at you motorcycle chase). Also the reduction of the team effort to a one-man show makes this feel like a Mission:Impossible wannabe. It’s fun, but not as rewatchable as the other films. 

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 4
Sound: 3
Acting: 3
Script: 3
Music: 3
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 3
Total:  3

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.

Mission: Impossible Reviews


  1. Flames. Opera. Tom Cruise. Too much.

    1. You know, I agree. But I also think it made it kinda fun because it was so over the top. I still enjoy the other flicks a lot more.

  2. I haven't seen this one, because as you mentioned, FaceOff, which I didn't care for. I was never a bit Woo fan either, and couldn't see why he was considered so great--perhaps I just haven't found his best films. I'm not too much for over the top films (though enjoy action films well enough), or heavy handed, but I might watch this to see how it stacks up.

    1. Woo is one of those directors who is really good when he's got the right material. And for the most part, that material has to be big and over the top and crazy. His Hong Kong films are a lot of fun. I really enjoyed "The Killer". And I actually got a kick out of the stupidity and over the top nature of "Face/Off". This film though, it's not so hot. It's got some fun moments, and if you don't mind laughing at the ridiculousness of the motorcycle chase/duel/physics-defing-insanity, then maybe you can give it another try. But if you don't mind missing one of the "Mission:Impossible" movies, this would be the one to miss.