Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) Director: John Woo
In what is perhaps the weakest film in the Mission: Impossible franchise, Hong Kong action film director John Woo offers the story of a stolen bio-weapon known as “Chimera” by a rogue IMF –or Impossible Missions Force– agent named Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) who intends to use it for personal profit. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) teams up with a love interest Nyah (Thandiwe Newton) to infiltrate Sean’s operation. Naturally, Sean is a torturous sadistic madman with an island compound. And unfortunately, Ethan and Nyah’s relationship seems strange and awkward with lots of odd stylized camera editing throughout the film. Indeed, the strangest aspect of this film is how Ethan essentially hands over Nyah to Sean to be his mistress while Ethan watches from afar. It is uncomfortable in the highest degree. At any rate, the very end of the film packs a ton of action into a few scenes to make up for the rest of the film, and naturally the bio-weapon is recovered, but seeing how Mission: Impossible redeemed itself in later sequels, I find it difficult to rate this one all-too favorably.
Mission: Impossible 2 is a slow-moving, awkward, disorienting installment in this series. The plot unfolds like a blurry dream –at many points I asked myself: what is going on here? There are lots of hazy dream-like sequences replete with flying doves and forced romance scenes. Theoretically this film has all the right elements for a successful action flick: the famous mask gags, a dangerous global bio-weapon, a sadistic traitorous villain, a few high stakes car-chase scenes –but in many ways this is just another attempt to mirror a James Bond movie (in fact, there are a few notable allusions to Goldfinger in this film). There are at least a few interesting cameos: Brendan Gleeson makes an appearance as a bio-tech CEO infected with the disease, and Anthony Hopkins also appears briefly in this film as an IMF agent but never again returns in the series. Dougray Scott was actually injured in a motorcycle accident in this film and sadly had to drop his expected role as Wolverine which then went to Hugh Jackman –an unfortunate turn of events for Mr. Scott to have been saddled with this project.