Directed by: John Woo
Written by: William Goldman, John Logan, David Marconi, Michael Tolkin, Robert Towne, Rick Berman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Ving Rhames, Brendan Gleeson, Dominic Purcell
Runtime: 123 min
Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt, an operative for the top-secret government agency IMF (Impossible Missions Force). Fellow agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) has gone rogue, stealing a sample of a deadly synthetic virus named Chimera that could rapidly wipe out the world's population.
Ethan is assigned to recruit the help of Ambrose's former lover Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton), who may be able to quickly regain his confidence. Sophisticated disguises, gun battles, and high-speed chases are the order of the day ...
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is coming out next week, so naturally I decided to watch and review every single movie of the franchise. I already wrote my thoughts on Mission: Impossible and now it is time for the second installment of the saga ... Where we, unfortunately, reach the bottom (better sooner than later).
Even though the action stunts are still mostly realistic and very well filmed, they reach a point where I can't buy into them anymore. From two guys colliding mid-air after jumping from their bikes at high speed to explosions spread throughout the entire runtime, this film is pretty bad. 60 minutes into it and there isn't a single action sequence. The suspense and tension, which are a stamp of the first movie, are nowhere near the levels that they used to be, and the slow-motion is excessively employed.
The story incorporates a love triangle between Ethan Hunt, Sean Ambrose, and Nyah that feels so strangely awkward and unnecessary. There is an evident James Bond vibe to this film, and that is precisely what wrecked it. This is Mission: Impossible and John Woo almost ruined the whole saga. Tom Cruise's character is an entirely different agent. He transforms himself into this sort of playboy kind of guy who has nothing to do with the Hunt that I know from M:I-1. The whole story hinges on the audience's feelings about his relationship with Nyah, but I can't care enough about Thandie Newton's character because she simply has no depth!
Ving Rhames was by far the best secondary character in the first movie. In this one, Luther is just a computer nerd and his funny personality is gone. Dougray Scott plays a boring villain with generic motivations, and everyone else doesn't really matter. There is a severe lack of character development. Nevertheless, the saving grace of M:I-2 is definitely its cast. Newton is very charming as Nyah, Scott makes his awful script more believable and Cruise is ... Well, Tom Cruise.
He continues to do all his stunts, and there are some "money shots" that he performs exceptionally well. To be honest, this film has some beautiful cinematography and a magnificent Hans Zimmer's score. Even when the action takes itself too seriously, these aspects at least make it bearable. John Woo does a lot of things the wrong way, but he adds some subtle details to his shots that become important to the plot later on.
However, this is about it. There are so many cons to overwhelm the pros. The editing is all over the place. The pacing is no longer frenetic as it was in the previous movie. Like I wrote above, I have to wait more than one hour to enjoy some freaking action. The first half of the film is slow and tedious, while the second half starts to accelerate to finish in style. The ending has so much action that most of it becomes stupid. I mean, really stupid. Some moments are supposed to be taken seriously, but it is a tough task not to laugh at the hilarious set pieces.
How can a sequel to such a fantastic action movie be so bad? Well, M:I-2 is the undeniable proof. There are so many things gone wrong with this one. John Woo transformed a confusing yet mysterious plot from the first installment into a hilariously awful screenplay. The plot is quite predictable, the story is emotionally weightless, and even the action goes to levels of dumbness that I've only witnessed in the worst possible films. A great cast and some nice technical details help counterweigh the cons, but Tom Cruise's lead saves the day.