Tom Cruise is back as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. This time his mission, should he choose to accept (and do these guys ever just say no?) is to find a rogue IMF agent named Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Ambrose has stolen a killer virus and its antidote and is looking to sell it to the highest bidder. Or is he? Hunt recruits Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton) to help him. Nyah had an affair with Ambrose, and the IMF feels she can infiltrate his hideaway and help them out. The problem with an IMF agent fighting another IMF agent, is that they each know the other extremely well and are always one step ahead. Ving Rhames is also back as Luther Stickell, the computer expert. Throughout all this is the predictable love theme with Nyah and Ethan falling for each other much too quickly. That I could have done without. And of course, this being a John Woo film, some spectacular action sequences that will leave you breathless.
I've been reading some critics reviews, and one common theme is that action is somewhat comical and it's like John Woo is just repeating himself. Well who the hell cares? Not me at least. I love every moment of his action sequences. I'm not sure he's all that great at the normal parts of a film, but if there is one thing he can do, it's create some amazing stunts. His camera work is some of the best I've seen. Starting with the car chase near the beginning, and ending with the climactic fight scene at the end. Yeah, sometimes it seems like some of it is impossible and would never happen. And sometimes when you add the majestic music and lighting, and his love of birds it may look overdone. But it's cool. And isn't that what this kind of movie is supposed to be? It's not a critics film. It's not going to win any Oscars come next March. What it does do is take the viewer to a place he or she will probably never get to go. Who doesn't like seeing Tom Cruise, wearing sunglasses, riding a motorcycle through the flames of an exploding car? When you see that, in slow motion with the incomparable Lalo Schifrin theme song blaring in the background, you feel excited and thrilled. I thought the story line with the viruses was interesting and certainly more likely in this day and age to occur. I love the casting of Thandie Newton. My god is she incredible looking in this film. And of course Tom Cruise, this time with his long hair flowing in the wind behind him and he kicks everyone's ass.
As I said before however, when Woo is away from his trademarked action sequences, the movie can bog down a little. And I would like to have maybe seen a different villainous character. Dougray Scott is a fine actor, but he didn't really look all that frightening or scary to me. In fact there was one scene where Cruise looked more frightening than Scott did the entire film. I wish there had been more use for Ethan Hunt's boss played by Anthony Hopkins. And of course along side of Cruise and Newton, the always cool Ving Rhames. Is it possible for him not to be cool? The music was hard rocking and pulse pounding (always wanted to use that phrase). The lighting was notable, especially in the scene leading up to the final conclusion, where the birds come into play. There was another scene that critics will probably say is more Austin Power-ish than Mission: Impossible-ish, but again, I thought it was cool looking and that's all that matters to me.
I go to movies to be entertained. Especially summer movies. I don't go in wanting John Woo to try branching out and trying different things. I love his work up to now, and I don't want him to change. I want the explosions, the slow-motion sequences, the gun play, the car chases, the fight sequences. I want to sit back and watch things happen on screen that will never happen in real life. Real life sucks most of the time, and to me movies are a way of getting away from it all, if only for a couple hours. So I say sit back, relax, and let Tom Cruise, John Woo, and the rest of the cast take you for the thrill ride of the summer. Overall, Mission: Impossible II will rock your world.
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