Thursday, May 10, 2012


Mission: Impossible II
May 24, 2000
123 min
United States, Australia (English)

Directed by John Woo
Written by Robert Towne

This feels more like "Mission: Preposterous" than "Mission: Impossible."  As the second entry in the film series this is middling in more than one way. "Mission: Impossible II" is constantly bogged down by a clumsy love story and action that tries too hard to be cool.

I used to dig this film, then I learned a thousand things or two... about life, about filmmaking, but mostly about gravity. In all fairness, this would actually be a recommendable piece of action entertainment after some editing. Tom Cruise reprises his role as agent Ethan Hunt of IMF (Impossible Missions Force) and is tasked with the mission to retrieve "the Chimera," a deadly lab-made virus in the hands of psychotic former IMF agent, Sean Ambrose (played by Dougray Scott). The acclaimed John Woo ("Face/Off" and "The Killer") directs this according to his action sensibilities, which unfortunately largely taints the experience.

Hunt has to assemble a crack team together to keep taps on Ambrose, including the target's former lover, Nyah. She is a professional thief played by the foxy yet petite Thandie Newton. Nyah and Hunt waste no time in becoming intimate. Doesn't this agent know not to get involved? It is not only unfortunate for Hunt's circumstances, but for the film as a whole. "Mission: Impossible II" falls prey to the same tropes of the ever-smitten James Bond, which only sometimes works in that series. It does not work here. The film's bloated action scenes are hit or miss. John Woo certainly knows how to stage gunfights, but editor Steven Kemper is downright slo-mo happy. The result is seldom as stylish as he may think, but an instance or two feels just right. It could make for a promising drinking game.

"Mission: Impossible II"'s subtitle could have been, "Everyone's Wearing a Mask." They took one of the coolest tools from the first film and exploited it to a point past feeling. They are able to fake a dream sequence, a really neat idea, but like the slow-motion it is overzealous. The acting is favorable. Cruise continues to be a bright star. Ving Rhames is a welcome return. Also, it appears that Anthony Hopkins showed up for two days of shooting to play Mission Commander Swanbeck.


CONTENT: intense action, violence, and some sensuality


Joshua Matern said...

I remember when you said you loved this film. Interesting to see your opinion change. I haven't actually seen it so I can't say what I think about it.

J.S. Lewis said...

Memories can be fond, but revisits can be illuminating :)