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Mission: Impossible-2 Movie Review

Ethan Hunt is back, with doves! John Woo directs this high-octane sequel to the spy franchise. With less storytelling & more action this Mission: Impossible managed to upset a lot of fans.
Mission: Impossible - 2

Genre: Action / Adventure / Thriller

Director: John Woo

Cast: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh, John Molson, William Mapother, Brendan Gleeson & Rade Serbedzija.

Run Time: 123 min.

US Release: 24 May 2000

UK Release: 7 July 2000

German Release: 6 July 2000

Continuing my reviews of the Mission: Impossible series, leading up to M:I Rogue Nation, I am now reviewing the second film of the franchise and by general consensus, the public’s (and my) least favourite of the series.


Tom Cruise demanded to have a new director for each new movie, and while this proved successful for later Mission: Impossible sequels, this one nearly killed the franchise. No one, as seen by the mixed reviews it received, did appreciate John Woo’s take of the spy material. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rotten 57%, while Metacritics was more generous giving it a mixed score of 60 out of 100.

Agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) returns to his IMF duties. His mission: to retrieve and destroy a genetically modified virus known as “Chimera” from pharmaceutical company Biocyte. His assignment is put in jeopardy though as rogue agent Sean Ambrose (Scott) also seeks the virus, to sell the cure “Bellerophon” to the highest bidder. To successfully complete his mission, he needs the help of Ambrose former lover Nyah. The two quickly develop a love relationship and when Nyah gets infected with “Chimera”, Hunt is racing against time to retrieve the cure from his former colleague.

The story was full of clichés and it rewashed the plot of M:I by using a rogue IMF agent as a villain and developing a love triangle. But they did not manage to capture the atmosphere of the first spy flick.

John Woo undid everything that was achieved with Mission: Impossible and turned it into a typical John Woo film (Broken Arrow/Face Off). He tried making a James Bond meets martial arts blockbuster; sadly the key to making a good M:I movie is to know that it is no Bond. That is what sets this franchise apart from other spy flicks.

There are a couple of plot holes that really bugged me along this movie. For once, if Ambrose already raised red flags why was he given the mission to impersonate Hunt and therefore given the chance to steal “Bellerophon”?

I also hated the scene at the Biocyte facility. Hunt took too much time to kill the virus! He is supposed to be fast, quiet and efficient and not a turtle. While I liked the use of the usual M:I masks, I found the voice-chip plaster thing to be a little over the top.

The action in this blockbuster though was fantastic. Storytelling is not his strength, but John Woo really knows hot to film high tense action! A great example is the sneaking and stealth scenes during the last act. What I did dislike is that compared to the previous movie Hunt used so many guns to shoot his way out of situations.

I was really disappointed to see that they completely changed the character of Ethan Hunt. He is not a proactive agent anymore, but rather a thrill seeking, carefree playboy with guns. To him the mission is not the important goal anymore, compared to his private interests, such as Nyah. Tom Cruise still gave a fantastic performance; the guy is one of the hardest working actors I have seen on screen.

Sean Ambrose was a shitty villain. We don’t know his motive for betraying the IMF, or how he even came to be an agent, the guy is clearly sadistic! Scott gave an OK performance. He was rather creepy and naive (letting Nyah into his home just to have sex), than I expect the head of a terrorist organization to be. His associate Hugh (Roxburgh) was much smarter in comparison.

Thandie Newton was completely underused as Nyah. I was very entertained seeing her do all those thief things for the first half of the movie, but her potential was never fully used. She was mainly cast for her beauty and sexappeal, even though she is a great talented British actress. Anthony Hopkins was another underused amazing actor. He played the head of IMF Hunt’s boss, I was sad to see him only for a few minutes in the movie.

It was great to see Luther Stickell again. I even found it nice that they gave him more action scenes this time round, but like Hunt they changed his character too much.

This action flick has the typical John Woo cinematographic signature, which means there are a lot of good action scenes. There is a ton of slow motion use, a fair amount of practical effects during action scenes, and the Stunts were done really good, especially those from Cruise.

The musical score was a fast paced, electric guitar version of the original theme. If this is not a warning for what you’ll be expecting, then I don’t know what is.


Verdict: As a teenager I loved Mission: Impossible-2, it had explosions over the top action sequences and a minimum of story development. Growing older though, I came to see the major flaws it had. John Woo’s movie was the weakest of the series and I give it a 5.0 out of 10!

Here is the link to my review of: Mission: Impossible. Which films were you favourite? Leave a comment below, and as always thank you for reading.

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