You know, it is a little comforting to know that you can sometimes watch a movie and immediately know who directed it. I mean, several people just have a tell when it comes to their movies. For instance, take John Woo, the director for today’s movie. You can watch one of his movies and almost tell it is one of his because he has several signature tells, such as the doves. What is his fascinations with doves? Anyways, when I heard that John Woo was set to direct the next Mission Impossible movie, I knew that it would be a flashy, but entertaining movie so without further ado, let’s get right into today’s movie, Mission: Impossible 2.
The plot: Dr. Vladimir Nekhovich, a bio-chemical expert working at Biocyte Pharmaceuticals in Sydney, Australia, injects himself with a bio-weapon called Chimera, and sends word to his friend Dimitri to accompany him to Atlanta, where he plans on delivering Chimera and the cure, Bellerophon. On board a plane, Vladimir is talking with Ethan Hunt, who he refers to as Dimitri, about Chimera and tells him that after being infected with Chimera for 20 hours, nothing can save you, not even Bellerophon. When the plane loses cabin pressure, everyone starts putting on the oxygen masks while Ethan goes to see what is going on. However, the oxygen masks actually deliver knock out gas and when Vladimir notices the other passengers all falling asleep, he tells Ethan there is a problem, only for Ethan to inform him that he is not Dimitri. Ethan kills Vladimir, takes the bag containing the samples of Chimera and Bellerophon, then rips off the mask he is wearing, revealing himself to be Sean Ambrose, a former IMF Agent. The plane’s pilot, working for Ambrose, sets the plane on a collision course with some nearby mountains and then he joins Ambrose and 2 other men as they jump out of the plane before it crashes. The real Ethan Hunt is free climbing in the American southwest and after a close call, makes it to the top of the butte he was climbing, only to be approached by a helicopter, which fires a projectile at him. The projectile contains a pair of sunglasses, which he dons and is given a message from IMF. He is ordered to retrieve Chimera and to assemble two other team members but the third member is to be a civilian thief named Nyah Nordoff-Hall, who is currently in Seville, Spain. He must recruit her in the next 48 hours before contacting IMF for further details of the mission. Ethan goes to Spain and catches sight of Nyah at a fancy party, where he watches as she breaks into a safe and steals an expensive necklace. When the alarm goes off, Ethan, who is under cover as the owner’s security engineer, covers for Nyah by saying she was his assistant and helping to test the security, then has her give back the necklace. As they are leaving, Ethan tells her he wants to recruit her for a job and admits that he triggered the alarm remotely, but Nyah drives off in a rage. Ethan catches up to her and continues trying to talk to her but she tries to run him off the road. When she loses control of her car and almost falls off a cliff, Ethan manages to rescue Nyah and the two end up making love. Later that night, Ethan meets with the new director of IMF, who apologizes for interrupting Ethan’s vacation, then plays a video message from Vladimir. After Ethan sees the message, the director informs Ethan that he had sent Ambrose, who had doubled for Ethan in the past, in order to accompany Vladimir but Ambrose had double crossed them. The director informs Ethan that the reason that he had Ethan recruit Nyah is because she used to date Ambrose and the director feels that she would be the surest way to get to Ambrose. Ethan goes back to his hotel and informs Nyah of the mission. Nyah is upset and feels hurt that Ethan wants to use her like this but Ethan tells her that he doesn’t want to but he can’t think of a better way. Nyah agrees and they decide the best way to get Nyah in touch with Ambrose is for her to be arrested and let Ambrose, who is sure to be monitoring all of the law enforcement channels after the plane crash, get her out and bring her to him. As Nyah is brought to Sydney to see Ambrose, Ethan recruits his friend Luther Stickell and a pilot named Billy Baird to join him in Sydney and as they keep tabs on Nyah with a micro-tracker, Ethan theorizes that Vladimir had created a super virus and a cure, which are now in Ambrose’s possession. The next day, Ambrose is receiving offers for the virus but his second in command, Hugh Stamp, is skeptical of Nyah’s reason for being there and tells Ambrose. Ambrose says he is aware of Nyah possibly being a spy for IMF but that he is willing to take the risk, and uses a cigar cutter to cut off the tip of his finger. Nyah and Ambrose go to the horse races and when Ambrose heads to a meeting, a disguised Billy manages to give Nyah a communication devise. Ethan talks to Nyah to find out what she knows so far. Billy sees Ambrose meeting with someone and Luther identifies him as John C. McCloy, the head of Biocyte Pharmaceuticals. Seeing Ambrose show him something on a digital camera, then place the memory card in his left jacket pocket, Ethan asks Nyah to get the memory card so that they can copy it and has Billy distract Hugh so that she would be alone. As Nyah is in line to place her bet, Ethan joins her and gets the memory card, where he sees what happens when Chimera is exposed to someone longer than 20 hours. As Hugh approaches them, Ethan tells Nyah that he wants her to get out of Ambroses house that night. After placing her bet, Nyah rejoins Ambrose and places the envelope with the memory card in his pocket, but the right pocket instead of his left, which Ambrose notices. That night, McCloy leaves the office but he ends up being gased inside his car. Meanwhile, Nyah finds the house empty so she tries to make her escape when she is grabbed behind and she starts to struggle until she sees it is Ethan. Meanwhile, McCloy awakens inside an isolation tent and sees Vladimir standing just outside. Vladimir speaks with McCloy, who admits that he exposed Vladimir’s colleague to Chimera because he wanted to see what it did in real life in order to show a need for the cure. After McCloy is put back to sleep, Vladimir leaves the room and removes the facial mask to reveal it was Ethan Hunt in disguise. Meanwhile, the Ethan that is with Nyah convinces her that she needs to stay with Ambrose a while longer, then pulls off his mask to reveal that it was Ambrose. Ethan decides that the best way to handle the mission is to destroy the remaining Chimera vials, rendering the Bellerophon cure useless. Ethan sneaks in through the atrium and makes his way to the lab, where he starts destroying the Chimera in the incubation chamber. However, Ambrose anticipates Ethan’s strategy and method of infiltration and heads to the lab himself, killing the guards along the way. Luther, who is keeping tabs on Ethan, notices that Nyah is moving towards Ethan’s location and tells Billy. They realize that if Nyah is there, she won’t be alone but they are unable to contact Ethan for another 5 minutes. Ethan destroys the samples in the incubation room, then heads to destroy the three samples in injector guns, but after destroying the first two samples, Ambrose’s men attack him before he can destroy the third. Meanwhile, someone plants a bomb on the van Luther is in but he sees the bomb on his monitors and manages to grab the tracking computer for Nyah and get out before it explodes. Inside, Ethan manages to kill some of Ambrose’s men and keep them from getting the injection gun. Ambrose orders his men to stop shooting, then has Nyah go to retrieve the injection gun but when she grabs it, she injects herself with the virus. Ethan manages to grab her and set off the security alarms but with Ambrose and his men fighting the guards, he can’t get both of them out of there. Nyah tells Ethan to just kill her but Ethan says that they have time to get Bellerophon into her system so he will save her, then makes his escape. The next day, Ambrose has Nyah taken into the middle of Sydney, while he goes to a secluded facility to meet with McCloy, where he blackmails McCloy into giving him controlling share of Biocyte in exchange for the disease and the cure. . Ethan sneaks into the facility, taking out guards along the way and blows the door to the meeting. Ambrose has Hugh and his men deal with Hunt while he continues dealing with Ambrose. Hugh manages to catch up with Ethan but Ethan lets the grenade he had in his hand loose and the explosion knocks them both to the ground. Hugh tells Ambrose that he has Ethan and brings his bound body back into the room, where Ambrose taunts him for a few minutes before shooting him. As he gloats over the body, Ambrose notices the injured finger and pulls off the mask to reveal that he shot a gagged Hugh by mistake. Meanwhile, Ethan, disguised as Hugh, had grabbed the two vials and tries to escape but is unable to make it into the helicopter. Dealing with the guards, he manages to grab a motorcycle and make his way off the island, with Luther covering him from the helicopter. Luther manages to locate Nyah and Ethan tells him to pick her up and bring her to him so he can give her the cure. Ethan deals with the guards following him, but ends up fighting with Ambrose on the beach and after a fierce battle, Ethan beats Ambrose. Billy and Luther arrive with Nyah and Luther goes to get the Bellerophon from Ethan when he stops short as Ambrose pulls his gun on Ethan. Noticing his gun on the sand in front of him, Ethan throws the cure to Luther, then kicks his gun up and shoots Ambrose while Luther cures Nyah. Some time later, Ethan meets with the director, who says that Ethan’s mission was to retrieve Chimera but understands his reasoning for destroying it and says that Nyah’s criminal record has been cleared. Ethan leaves the meeting and joins Nyah in a nearby park, where the two decide to go on a vacation.
Mission: Impossible 2 received mixed reviews from the critics, earning a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Your cranium may crave more substance, but your eyes will feast on the amazing action sequences.” The movie was nominated for two Razzies, one for Worst Remake or Sequel, and one for Worst Supporting Actress. In spite of the negative press, the movie was a financial hit, earning over $546 million off a $125 budget, making it the most profitable film that John Woo made.
Mission Impossible 2 was definitely a visually stunning action movie…and that’s about it. Tom Cruise did a good job reprising his role of Ethan Hunt, as did Ving Rhames reprising Luther, but I was kind of indifferent towards Thandie Newton (Nyah) and felt like Dougray Scott (Ambrose) was too inconsistent as the main villain. I will say that Richard Roxburgh (Hugh) did make an excellent henchman/second in command. The plot was ok but honestly lacked much in the way of being a spy movie. The only part that really made the movie feel like Mission Impossible was when Ethan was breaking into Biocyte. The action scenes were exactly what you expect from a John Woo film, very stylish with several different camera angles and several instances of slow motion to heighten the experience. And of course, where would we be without some birds flapping about somewhere during one of the major scenes. Now I can understand some birds being in the abandoned facility but having them be doves is a bit much. It’s a good action movie but I agree that you don’t need to think much while watching it.
Rating: 3 out of 5