Mission: Impossible 2


Directed by: John Woo
Written by:Brannon Braga, Ronald D. Moore
Starring: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton, Ving Rhames, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Roxburgh
Released: June 1, 2000
Grade: C+

I was never a fan of the original Mission: Impossible - it was overly complicated with no substance.  In Mission Impossible 2, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is back for another interrogative adventure filled with everything we’ve come to expect from a Hollywood action picture.

Whilst on vacation in Sydney, Ethan is drafted for another “save-the-world” assignment.  A trusted agent, Sean Ambrose (Scott) was given the assignment of guarding a scientist who had a very valuable chemical concoction in his possession.  When Ambrose kills the scientist and takes off with the luggage, Hunt is called in.

His mission (if he chooses to accept it, of course) is to track down Ambrose, discover the importance of the concoction and deal with it accordingly.  He can select two agents to work with him but a mysterious seductress by the name of Nyah Hall (Newton) must accompany him.  Her significance is revealed when Ethan is told that she is a former flame of Ambrose and will be used a bait to lure him from hiding.

I won’t spoil much more of the thin plot for those who do care what happens.  In similar vein to the original, the script for Mission Impossible 2 defies all logic.  It’s hard to believe that someone was paid for putting these words on a page.  Their perfect prose and poise had all the marks of a Shakespearean performance.  The characters have take themselves way too seriously with the exception of Hopkins (who is hardly seen).  If you’re going to have such a zany plot, at least a few laughs could have been thrown in.

There is a scene where no less than 6 men fire upon Hunt in a relatively open laboratory for a period of fifteen seconds and yet he cannot be hit.  Why can’t someone come up with something more interesting than that?  This raises two questions.  Firstly, if Ethan is the world’s leading spy, how does he put himself is such a dangerous situation?  Secondly, if Ambrose is one of the world’s leading villains, why can’t he hire henchman with some experience is shooting a gun in an accurate fashion.

Irrespective of the story, the action scenes in the film are shot and edited brilliantly.  Cruise and Scott performed a great deal of there own stunts and the blend between what is really them and what is a stunt double is unnoticeable - a credit to director John Woo (Face/Off).  However, the final action scene is flimsy and looks strikingly similar to the fights I see watching WWF wrestling on TV.  A very ordinary film score was turned in from Hans Zimmer which is a surprise having praised him last month for Gladiator.

Sydney was used as the backdrop for the film with the familiar landmarks of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and even Royal Randwick racecourse receiving exposure.  Even AMP got a nice plug for appearing on top of Centrepoint Tower during the film.  Could it be any more commercial?

For me, the most irritating aspect of this mission (and there were a lot of them) was most every scene between Cruise and Newton.  There is clearly no romantic connection.  Cruise plays some sort of tough, smart-arse who knows everything and Newton does nothing more than wear revealing outfits and walk slowly around like a spaced out mute with a pole shoved up her.

There was a rumoured fall out during the film between Woo and Cruise and after seeing the finished product, I understand why.  Despite appearances, I feel both aren’t happy with what’s currently screening at cinemas across the globe.  It’s a far cry from the original TV series and it’s time this series is put to rest in the grave it has already dug for itself.