Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Bond, James Bond. I mean Hunt, Ethan Hunt. Precisely the same as a James Bond movie in every particular except that Cruise has a different name, an American accent, a Mickey Mouse voice, and has to stand on a box to be taller than his co-stars. Since somebody else owns the rights to the Bond franchise, they have to make some minor changes to the names of things, and wink at us knowingly, like George Reeves at the end of a Superman episode. (You know this Anthony Hopkins guy is really "M", but we weren't allowed to say that. Wink, wink)
There is the customary pre-credits action sequence, the customary arty title sequence, the customary seduction of the bad guy's girlfriend or ex-girlfriend, the requisite exotic foreign locales (various mountains, Sydney Harbor and Seville), the precipitous near escapes, the customary scene where the agent is trying to take a vacation and his bosses find him, the designated agency head with a stuffy accent, the customary Herr Doktor Evil du Jour, and the required gadgetry and spectacular stunts.


El Zippo. Minimal cleavage from Thandie.
The MI series has been fortunate to get two top-notch directors who have added their own flavor to the films. De Palma made the first one a bit of international espionage noir with plenty of night scenes and double crosses, with the big explosions more in the background.

John Woo doesn't care about that wussy secret-meeting-under-the-bridge stuff.

He starts the loud bass noises, spectacular locales, and action sequences right away, and never lets up. He's the king of adreneline, and the best action director around, and that's what he came to direct. I think there's a good chance he didn't even read the script, assuming there was one. Why would he? He knows it's no Bergman film, and that's what they have assistant directors for. There are no mysteries, psychological studies, or any noticeable plot to speak of (deadly virus is in the hands of bad guys, good guys must get it back, you know they will .... ). IM plants an agent with the bad guys. They know full well she's probably a plant, and decide to manipulate the situation to their own advantage. The audience knows they know. Blah, blah.

The plot and actors and characterization and dialogue- that's all irrelevant to a John Woo movie. Either there is none, or it is bad. In fact, Woo seems to be of the belief that if there should be nothing to distract you from exciting action and spectacular photography.

DVD info from Amazon.

2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen.

Five minute film on stunts.

Full-length commentary by Woo. (Good, but hard to understand.)

Interviews with Cruise, Woo, and the stunt co-ofdinator.

Alternate, unused title sequence, music video.

The parody from the MTV awards.

The dialogue is right out of the B world.

"I thought you didn't have a conscience"

"I lied"

At least when Bogart delivered lines like this, it had the right forms of direct address attached.

"I though ya didn't have a conscience, ya big lug"

"Yeah, well I lied, toots"

Anyway, forget that stuff. It doesn't matter. It's a dazzling action picture, and it looks great. The film rocks and rolls real loud, and the seats shake, and the floor vibrates from beginning to end. If you like that kind of stuff, this is your kind of movie. If your favorite movie is My Dinner With Andre, this one may not be for you.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: Three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. Quite good, 62% positive overall, and 75% from the top critics. This critical response was similar to that for the first MI movie, directed by Brian de Palma, which garnered 71% positive reviews from critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.3. The first MI movie scores 6.4.
  • With their dollars ... A monster hit in the U.S., even bigger overseas. It made it to 3669 U.S. screens (is that a record?) The $215 million U.S. box alone, beating the $181 million of the original, justified the mammoth $125 million investment, and assured there would be a MI3. MI2 is now rated 16th of all time in international box office: $215 million US, $308 million overseas. The original MI is not far behind in 25th place.
  • In terms of U.S. ticket sales (estimated by inflation-adjusted dollars), MI2 is in 78th place, MI in 98th of all time.
  • In terms of U.S. box office in unadjusted dollars, MI2 is 26th of all time, MI 43rd.

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