Mission Impossible 2



Mission Impossible 2 makes no pretenses about what it is. An action/adventure film,where the first film was muddled, confused and undirected, trying to be too many genres.






As a general rule, sequels are usually not better than the originals. Sure, there are exceptions, albeit rare ones. Godfather II and Aliens are among the few. Now, there is another film to add to this all too brief list, Mission Impossible 2.

Where the first film was muddled, confused and undirected, trying to be too many genres, Mission Impossible 2 makes no pretenses about what it is, an action/adventure film. For a film to succeed in this genre a few rules must be obeyed. First, the plot should be simple and straightforward. The action must come at regular intervals and the heroes should be a bit bigger than life. Mission Impossible 2 manages this rather well.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is the field commander of the IMF, the Impossible Missions Force. He must re-capture a deadly German manufactured virus before it can he used be the nefarious villain Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Problem is, Ambrose is a former member of the IMF and like Hunt he can disguise himself as almost anyone, including Hunt. In order to retrieve the virus Hunt recruits Ambrose’s old flame, a beautiful thief Nyan Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton). In addition the team sports master computer hacker Luther Stickel (Ving Rhames) to help with the intricate plot to obtain the dreaded virus. (Sorry, this type of movie cries out for a melodramatic recap) The action is almost non-stop, the special effects dramatic and the acting, well, you don’t go to a movie like Mission Impossible 2 for the acting.

Speaking of the acting, the actors were well chosen for their roles and they come up to the standards demanded by this genre. Cruise returning as Hunt plays it likes a younger brother to James Bond. Cocky, grandiose and a definite lady’s man he moves through this role with ease. Although he is capable of better acting he handles the role of action hero with flair. Female lead Newton is simply beautiful. She is little more than window dressing in most of the film but she does have her moments in scenes where she challenges Cruise’s character. She portrays a strong, assertive young woman that is charming and an excellent thief. She has come a long way since her last role as a sanguine Cajun dinner for Cruise in Interview with a Vampire. Ving Rhames gets the wonderful job of providing much of the comic relief needed by any action film. He is a commanding presence on the screen. One odd bit of casting is Sir Anthony Hopkins as the commander of the IMF. It seems that he had a few spare days and did this film on a lark. His character does little more than add a face to the famous voice on the tape that will self-destruct in five seconds.

Mission Impossible 2 is fortunate to have one of the best action directors ever, John Woo. Coming to Hollywood from the Hong Kong martial arts studios he brings the best of these ‘Gung Fu’ films to the screen. His trademark twin .45s blazing as the actor flies across the is there as well as the largest number of gunshots possible in any film. There are more gunshots in one scene of Mission Impossible 2 than in the entire two and a half-hours of Saving Private Ryan! What sets Woo apart from other action directors is his ability to concentrate on the smallest detail of the scene. Each shot of Mission Impossible 2 is framed to perfection, lit perfectly and choreographed with precision. He merges CGI effects with live action better than most action directors, letting the computer and live action work together rather than seeming to compete.

The Mission Impossible 2 disc itself is excellent! The Dolby 5.1 audio will give all six of your speakers a workout. The sound track booms from all sides, the special effects surround you and draw you in. Because of a lack of handicap accessible theaters, Mission Impossible 2 is one of the few films I got to see in the theater and the DVD comes across as far better. The anamorphic 2.35:1 video is calibration quality and holds together under all lighting conditions. The extras provided are far better than the usually fair. Besides the typical making of and special effects shorts there is a little parody of MI2 from MTV’s movie awards with Cruise, Woo and Ben Stiller as Cruise’s much abused stun man. Mission Impossible 2 is a must have disc for any collector.

Review by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com



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