Mission: Impossible II

Mission: Impossible II

****

Reviewed by: Symon Parsons

Heroes being dangled from mountain ledges; Self-destructing messages; Cars speeding along mountain highways; Men being dropped from helicopters; Guys jousting on motorcycles; Explosives that go ba-WOOMPH and guns that go THUKA-THUKA.

That's pretty much Mission: Impossible 2 in a nutshell, but for those of you concerned with such irrelevancies as the plot; here goes:

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Tom Cruise must blah blah hand-picked team blah blah baddie planning to blah blah blah $37 million blah blah in just 20 hours blah blah or future of mankind threatened blah blah with a melon.

The team consists of Ving Rhames as Luther (picked for his skills on the computer) and John Polson as Billy (picked for expertise in being Australian.) Anthony Hopkins also turns up for about five minutes, delivers some of the best lines, collects his massive cheque for 10 day's acting work, then clears off.

The love interest is provided by Thandie Newton as master thief Nyah Hall. Nyah is a typical movie spunky chick, illustrated by the fact that she drives very fast and doesn't wear a bra. Tom himself looks very cool in this film, sporting the long-haired, semi-shaven "Dirty Boy" look that induces women to run to the front of the cinema and lick the screen.

But Scottish actor Dougray Scott is a perfect nemesis for Tom. His character is an ex-IMF operative who had worked with Tom, knows his MO and therefore can anticipate every move. He's also prone to impersonating Tom with a mask to further his evil ends. (Does anybody know where I can get a Tom Cruise mask? I'm sure it would improve my love life no end.)

The action in this film is non-stop, jaw-dropping and adjective-inducing. Starting with a palm-sweating mountain climb and ending with a fight scene that literally made the audience go "Ahhh!" and "Ooo!" (Both Tom and Dougray are experts at that kind of martial arts fighting where you move very slowly yet still manage to propel your opponent into a wall.)

Apparently, the action was devised first and the "plot" written around it, and it shows. (There's a couple of moments in the film where Tom and Dougray are hanging out with Nyah after she's been exposed to a deadly virus and I couldn't help but think, "Hey! Isn't she INFECTIOUS??") It's certainly a long way from Chinatown for poor old Robert Towne.

But who cares? You won't have TIME to think, the action is so thick and fast - all expertly handled by John Woo, here in command of a budget bigger than Belgium's GNP. There's a thrilling motorbike chase that had me on the edge of my seat, as Tom pirouettes on one wheel while still managing to shoot a guy. (What a show-off.) Woo transforms Cruise from pretty boy to avenging angel, stepping through flaming doorways and striking like a cobra.

I have to admit to a new respect for Cruise who put this package together. It's an almost-perfect action film. He even managed to get Metallica to do a song for the film - unheard of.

See it and be gobsmacked.

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2001
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Mission: Impossible II packshot
Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt in the big action sequel to the TV spin off.
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Read more Mission: Impossible II reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray ****
Stephen Carty **1/2

Director: John Woo

Writer: Robert Towne

Starring: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Serbedzija, William Mapother, Dominic Purcell, Mathew Wilkinson, Anthony Hopkins, Patrick Marber

Year: 2000

Runtime: 123 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA, Germany

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