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Movie Review

Mission: Impossible 2

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action and some sensuality

Reviewed by: Ken James

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teen to Adult
Action Adventure Spy Thriller Sequel
2 hr. 5 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Relevant Issues
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible 2’M

spies in the Bible



Featuring: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Thandie Newton, Dougray Scott, Rade Serbedzija
Director: John Woo
Producer: Paula Wagner, Tom Cruise
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise is back as the odds-defying spy Ethan Hunt in “Mission: Impossible 2.” As expected, director John Woo delivers plenty of hard-hitting action, explosions, and daredevil driving to boot, but “M:I-2” overall disappoints. My impossible mission was suspending disbelief long enough to appreciate the action sequences of Hunt avoiding death while free climbing in Utah, or navigating a crotch-rocket through Aussie traffic and backroads while still sharpshooting, or numerous other ridiculous sequences. The formula of this movie seems to operate on the equation that Action + Tom Cruise = Good Flick. Too bad it doesn’t pan out that way.

Ethan Hunt freeclimbing in the Grand Canyon In the opening we find Hunt climbing in Utah on vacation. A man alone in the rugged wilderness. After successfully completing an impossible climb, a helicopter approaches and his next mission is delivered. Hunt is to find three team members to accompany him. He chooses two male experts (Ving Rhames and John Polson) after merging with the sultry master thief Nyah in Sevilla, Spain (Thandie Newton) and convincing her to join up with him in saving the world by putting a stop to a deadly virus about to be released. Of course, she plays hard to get at first, but the two quickly find themselves in bed together (no nudity). He falls for her and vows to protect her. She becomes the bargaining chip and faces certain death unless Ethan can save the day. Cheezy, if you ask me.

Quickly the team finds themselves in Australia in search of the evil turncoat Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) who has nasty plans to make a lot of money. After violently stealing this brand-new virus from a German scientist of a Sydney-based pharmaceutical company, Ambrose plans to sell the virus and vaccine to the highest bidder.

After the release of this deadly virus, everyone in the world will have two choices: vaccinate or die. It sounds simple, but it really isn’t. The plot becomes confusing and muddled… only a minor vehicle for the intense action and cool photography.

Thandie Newton in Mission: Impossible 2 While the high-tech gadgets were cool, it seemed to be a cop-out when both Hunt and Ambrose kept switching faces and voices. Sure, it looked real when they pulled off their faces; but it is a hard sell to buy. If only the rest of the film had been as good as some of the world-beat music woven into the film.

There are about a dozen instances of offensive language (including misusing God’s name). Sex is implied in two instances, though there is no nudity. Sexual innuendo is also present, though not abundant. The violence is extreme, with some brutal fight scenes and plenty of explosions, car chases, and the like.

Unless you’re a die-hard fan of Cruise, John Woo, or the old “Mission: Impossible” TV series, I suggest skipping “Mission: Impossible 2” in the theater. It may be worth a look on video if impossible Bond-style action is appealing to you.

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Viewer Comments
It was rather predictable. When I can guess what’s going to happen (in nine out of ten scenes), then something is not right! I had a few tense moments—the climb up the rock cliff—“Look, Ma! No protective gear, whatsoever!” Can you say stupid? But how truly tense can it be, when it happens in the first 15 minutes of a two-hour long movie, and it involves the star? We *know* he’s going to make it! The biggest tragedy to me were the three little girls, aged approximately between 5 and 10, sitting in the front row, taking in every moment of the female star being involved with first one man, then another, and back again. Not to mention watching murder after murder after murder after… etc. Ugh. I probably would have enjoyed the movie a bit more if I hadn’t been able to guess everything—and there hadn’t been so many children 10 years old and under in the theater! My Ratings: [2/2]
—Denise Panter, age 37
“nothing of intelligence”Tom Cruise executes beautifully photographed, slow-motion cartwheels amidst flying debris, speeding bullets, spinning cars, dueling motorcycles and explosions, explosions, explosions! There is nothing of intelligence, wit or cleverness in this massive 2 hour music-video of choreographed fire-balls. On a performance level, all are largely forgettable, including Thandie Newton who just isn’t as pretty as our boy Tom. I will say however, that Mr. Cruise does manage to earnestly clench his new and improved, surgically enhanced jaw with real distinction. I’m not sure, but I think he chose the “Dolph Lundgren” model which, I understand, can also double as a can-opener. Director Woo employs the same subtlety in his symbolism that he uses for his pyrotechnics. A white dove flutters beautifully through a flaming doorway right before our Mr. Tom walks by. *yawn… ooff! (thud)* My Ratings: [3/2]
—Doug Sirman, age 35
If “Mission Impossible” movies are going to continue to be made, then would the producers please, please, please watch a few episodes of the old TV program. The strength of the team in the old shows was the craftiness. Here, it’s brute force. Two team members could have been dropped from this movie without anyone noticing. Unengaging.
—Jack, age 38
“paint-by-the-numbers plot”… I have to give it to John Woo. He knows how to stage action sequences. However, spectacular set pieces can’t make up for the paint-by-the-numbers plot. I watched the television show when I was a kid, and I remember that the IMF team worked together as a unit. The focus was on the Ethan Hunt character, and the rest of his team were way in the background, and the audience doesn’t learn much about them. The romance between Hunt and Nyra happened too fast and convenient for me to be believable. I agree with the reviewer. You have to really like Tom Cruise and/or John Woo to appreciate this one. My Ratings: [2/2]
—Hillari Hunter, age 38
like Bond without the sexuality… My only comment is, I was not able to sustain my “willing suspension of disbelief” through this movie. The stunts, although well executed in the sense that they looked realistic, were just too over-the-top. I couldn’t get into the characters or the story, because the effects were too conspicuous. I will agree, however, that if you’re choosing between one of the recent James Bond flicks and this one, see this one. This is like James Bond with a fraction of the sexuality. My Ratings: [2/3]
—Timothy Blaisdell, age 36
an adrenaline junkie’s dream… I thought “M:I-2” was a great break from the string of pointless, dull movies that we’ve been plagued with for the past couple of seasons. Scene’s being decently clean, with the exception of Nia’s night wear, makes this movie, in my opinion, a worth while movie… While the action scenes make this an adrenaline junkie’s dream. My Ratings: [3½/4½]
—Micah Steelman, age 20
Overrated considering all of the hype”… “M.I. 2” downsizes intelligence in favor of slick filming and nonstop action. In the action arena I think it succeeds, and comes across much like a well done James Bond film. I personally prefer the suave James Bond image to the “too cool” style of Tom Cruise, but must admit Cruise carries “M.I. 2” very well. Typical implied sex, but at least some substance between the hero and heroine. I think “M.I. 2” will make a lot more money than it deserves; but it is worth seeing—and like a James Bond film, just once. My Ratings: [2½/3½]
—Todd Adams, age 32
“predictable”… “Mission Impossible’s” sequel has dropped any suspense in favour of action. This movie is predictable, and sometimes even dumb, but it has lots of cool action scenes. John Woo went Matrix/Bond style so there really isn’t anything new here. Sex is taken very lightly and there is some offensive language. If you’re looking for anything deep, or intriguing, go elsewhere, but if you just want to be entertained… this is for you. My Ratings: [3/3]
—Nolan, age 16
great look”… This Movie is great. If you like Tom Cruise, action movies or the first “MI” you will love this one. I was suprised at the small amount of profanity. No f-words, a couple s words and a fair amount of d@mn and H&ll. The sexual scenes were not at all graphic. No nudity just suggestive material. I loved the plot, characters and movie making. Great look and nice special FX. If your looking for a movie to see, watch “Frequency”, “U571” or “MI2”. You’ll love em! My Ratings: [2½/4]
—Toby Flournoy, age 28
for fans, worth the matinee… As if the original movie sneezed, “M:I-2” came out with an explosive bang and about as much thought. Everything that a fan of the first “Mission: Impossible” would want is there: the return of Ethan Hunt and Luther Stickley. It’s worth the matinee if you’re a fan. Some interesting things like the anti-Ethan villain were featured, but like all the other promise held by a sequel like this, it, too, fizzled as the seemingly unstoppable villain suddenly became dumb as a rock (“hey, even I saw that one coming!”) Other ho-hum includes an identical make-up of IMF agents (three guys, 1 girl), the Tom Cruise, obligatory make-out scene refreshingly left out of the first movie and a rather mild appearance of Sir Anthony Hopkins (why have him if you’re not going to use him?) Overall, I’m waiting for someone to say, “Just kidding, here’s the MI:2 you were expecting from all this money and talent.” My Ratings: [3/3½]
—Scott Budde, age 35
“disappointed”… I went to this movie on opening night along with many other people. I went with very high expectations, being a Tom Cruise fan and a “Mission: Impossible” fan. I was disappointed. The first part of the movie was a little slow and the some of the stunts ridiculous. The 2nd half was better, but still not great. I was amazed that Tom Cruise didn’t have his usual witty, “got to love him” personality. I would probably wait until it came out on video or see a matinee, but don’t spend $8.00 to see it. My Ratings: [3/3½]
—D. Hansen, age 38
realistic because Hunt is a pro… The reviewer of the film said only see it if you want the “impossible action” sequences? I have heard a lot of people saying that, but please! Ethan Hunt is not an average Joe who is fighting these bad guys. He is a trained professional and implied to be the best in the world. Why couldn’t he shoot something small from far away or catch a ledge as he is falling of a cliff? My Ratings: [3/4]
—JH, age 16
“a huge disappointment”… This movie was a huge disappointment to my wife and me. We walked out in the middle of the film. It reminded me more of a James Bond film with the female sexual exploitation and totally unbelievable stunts and special effects. I really enjoyed “M:I-1” and the TV series, but this drivel was a complete waste of time and money. Go walk around Wal-Mart and hold hands with someone you love rather than see this movie. My Ratings: [1½/2]
—Larry Nunnally, age 52
“thoroughly enjoyable”… Apparently, the reviewer seems to have reviewed the original “M:I” film, and not this incredible work. I found the film to be thoroughly enjoyable and only in the least morally offensive with the sexual implications. John Woo did not feel the need to dwell on these scenes, except to increase the tension the Hunt character feels when relating to Nyah. Plenty of plot twists keep you in suspense, and the ending, though a bit predictable, is no less enjoyable. I also continue to praise John Woo’s desire to represent the church in a positive manner. You’re not going to learn the meaning to life, but you will have a great time at the movies! Highly recommended to ages 12 and up. My Ratings: [3½/4½]
—Scott Ward, age 28
“no chemistry”… The one major problem that I had with this film is that there was no film chemistry between the leading man and the lady. The after the title role you had a long and boring scenes with him and her. It was long and laborious! I had to keep reminding myself that this is “Mission: Impossible” and not a Tom Cruise rated “R” film. I am a very big fan of the TV show and to me this film was a disappointment to me. My Ratings: [3/2]
—Allen Wilcox, age 36
cartoony… Cool action scenes—but really like a cartoon in regard to realism. The female character Nyah… certainly has more viruses to worry about than the one created by the evil bio-tech dude. Plot was thin and not engaging. My Ratings: [2/2½]
—Jim Yuill, age 39
…neither movie will achieve the plot standards of the original TV series… “M:I-2” is a very good summer action movie… Cruise is a great action star… The story is not the typical “roller-coaster” suspense ride. You may even feel at times like you are standing in line waiting for the ride… We all know that Hollywood is convinced that any emotional attachment between the opposite sex requires fornication. The one positive element is that the innuendoes are tame when compared to a James Bond film. The negative side is that the female character is almost always seen in suggestive clothing… The violence in this movie is my biggest objection… The film has very little sex or profanity, but it eclipses that positive note with the most violence I have ever seen in a PG-13 movie… There is a gruesome torture scene and a brutal execution. The final fight is like watching a “Mortal Combat” video game… My Ratings: [3/4]
—Douglas M. Downs, age 44