Mission Impossible 2

Review Date:
Director: John Woo
Writer: Robert Towne
Producers: T. Cruise, T. Chang, P. Wagner, P. Hitchcock
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, Thandie Newton as Nyah Nordoff-Hall, Dougray Scott as Sean Ambrose, Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell
Super-spy Ethan Hunt is once again asked to take part in a virtually impossible mission featuring the recovery of a deadly new virus and antidote from a madman bent on unleashing it upon the world.
This movie starts off with a bang, downshifts into some pretty long and surprisingly tedious exposition, but ultimately regroups and punches you in the face during its last 30 bone-crunching minutes. Having said that, I was slightly disappointed in the film, only because the trailer made it seem like it was going to kick so much ass all over the place. My hopes might’ve been set too high in the anticipation of full-blown action, and even more so because of the superior talents of director Woo in that regard. Overall, the film was good, but parts leading up to the halfway point just seemed to uneventfully drag along for some strange reason, with talk of viruses, the pharmaceutical angle, and ultimately, one too many rubber mask deceptions (didn’t we get enough of these in the first MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, as well as FACE/OFF?). And being one of the few people to have actually really liked the first movie, this one lacked a lot of that cool “spy feel” which I liked so much in the first. Granted, this film also takes some of its time to marinate the new “romance” vibe tossed into its cinematic recipe, but I personally don’t go to see John Woo movies in the hopes of finding out more about the birds and the bees. I want to see action, cool stunts, slo-mo shots of guns rattling off and an obscene amount of style.

This film definitely delivers on most of those counts, especially the slo-mos and the proverbial Woo “pigeon scene”, but not all in a well-proportioned manner, in my opinion. The last third of the movie finally picks up the pace, presenting us with an awesome motorcycle chase scene which simply has to be seen to be believed, but overall, the pace of the first half actually had me starting to twitch a little (in a “can we get on with it already” kinda way). Of course, most of this review sounds negative only because of my extremely high expectations, so maybe if you go in with lesser anticipation than I did, you might just really love it. I very much enjoyed the film’s first twenty minutes or so, which included a great sequence of Tom hanging off the side of a mountain with his little-bittie fingers, and a pretty darn cool car chase. But the film ultimately crushed some of my hyperactivity, with a slower, less in-your-face approach during its next forty-five minutes of set-up. In the end, this film still spends too much time discussing the plot, which could easily be described in a few simple words (bad guy has deadly virus, get bad guy before he sets it free on the world), and not enough time properly dividing up all the action.

I loved both MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and FACE/OFF, both of which I gave 8/10, and despite this film’s few great action scenes, decent acting by most, so-so story, and captivating soundtrack, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed with thoughts of what-could-have-been. But comparing it to other films and judging it according to my expectations isn’t really fair, so I will try and get past that and still recommend this film pretty solidly, despite its leisurely paced build-up and stronger focus on romance. Whatever you do, don’t go into it as I did, expecting one of the most action-packed movies of the last few years. Enjoy it as a good film featuring Tommy Cruise, a babe, Ving Rhames sitting in front of a monitor for two hours, an okay premise and a few over-the-top action sequences. All in all, I liked it and look forward to a part trois.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

Mission Impossible 2