Review by Jack Foley
DVD FEATURES: 'Behind the Mission'- an in depth cast and crew interview
featuring Tom Cruise, Thandie Newton, John Polson, Dougray Scott, Ving Rhames,
Paula Wagner and John Woo; 'Mission: Incredible'- behind-the-scenes look at
the film's stunts; 'Impossible Shots'- how they created 11 amazing stunt sequences
(director's storyboards and interviews with Tom Cruise, John Woo, stunt coordinator
and Brian Smrz); Director's Commentary; 'I Disappear'- Metallica Music Video;
Alternate Title Sequence
FACE Off director John Woo and Hollywood golden boy Tom Cruise have pulled off what many thought impossible and delivered a thrilling, blockbusting sequel to Brian De Palmas convoluted original.
Mission Impossible 2, while by no means the perfect blockbuster, is a visually stunning triumph of style over substance, featuring some of the most outrageous stunts and set pieces this side of The Matrix. And all this despite rumours of on-set friction between movie perfectionists Woo and Cruise, a production which seemed to drag on and on and a budget which just kept growing.
Cruise reprises his role of special agent Ethan Hunt for this sequel that sees him racing across Spain and Australia to prevent a deadly virus being unleashed on the world. The virus in question, which does have a vaccine, looks set to fall into the hands of Dougray Scotts turncoat agent unless Hunt can destroy it, so at the request of his bos (Anthony Hopkins) he enlists the help of former colleague Luther Strickell (a welcome return by Ving Rhames) and Thandie Newtons beautiful master thief to prevent the unthinkable from happening.
Things become ever more complicated, however, when Cruise falls for Newtons sexy charm and then has to watch as she puts her life on the line with former boyfriend Scott.
As with the original, the plot in Mission Impossible 2 plays second fiddle to the set pieces, particularly with Woo at the helm. But it is easier to follow and contains some nice asides at the expense of both Cruise and the director.
However, anyone expecting an action tour de force akin to Face Off may be disappointed, for MI:2 does take a while to get going. Indeed, there are times when proceedings become too bogged down by plot, leaving the viewer to ponder just when Woo will be let off the leash.
Early on, were treated to an extremely nerve-shredding encounter with
Cruise scaling the Grand Canyon (not for people with a fear of heights), and
there is a car chase thrown in for good measure - but much of the early action
seems toned down in favour of a lower certificate. From the moment Cruise
and co enter a high security building to steal the virus, however (a scene
which manages to combine the hair-raising intensity of the first films
virtually identical heist with, oddly, the Somewhere Over The Rainbow sequence
from Face Off and the waterfall scene from Last Of The Mohicans), MI:2 enters
a different league from most action films.
The last third of the movie is a no-holds barred, adrenalin-fuelled thrill ride guaranteed to put the broadest smile on even the most hardened movie cynics face. From the moment Cruise enters the villains terrain, we are treated to one audacious set piece after another - filled with trademark Woo moments from slow-mo fights to flying doves and culminating in one of the most jaw-dropping motorcycle sequences ever filmed. Both Cruise and Woo pull out all the stops to ensure that MI:2 demands repeat viewing - if only to figure out just how they performed that front wheel wheelie!