Review for Mission Impossible 2
The problem with making an ultimate panacea is that you need an ultimate disease to test it on. So when a scientist developed Bellerophon as a cure to all influenza viruses, he also created a recombinant flu virus called Chimera, a virus that is highly infectious and terminal within 20 hours after which not even Bellerophon will cure it. As is the way, the nefarious and the larcenous are more interested in Chimera. A rogue IMF agent named Sean Ambrose has taken the first step in acquiring the virus, and it falls to Ethan Hunt to stop him. This time he’s ordered to recruit a civilian, a thief named Nyah Nordoff-Hall to assist. Nyah is Sean Ambrose’s ex, but Ethan wasn’t expecting to fall for her himself.
Mission Impossible 2 gets a 2.35:1 widescreen 1080p transfer. It’s a fair transfer, clear and sharp throughout, and with better detail than its predecessor. Despite some obvious grain early on, I do suspect a tinge of DNR, most apparent in the excessive evenness of skin tones. But by far the biggest issue would be the crushed blacks, with hardly any dark detail left in the image. It’s an adequate transfer though, mostly bright and colourful, and the action comes across well enough. The print is clean and stable, although I did spot one scene with a hair in the shutter.
Once again, the only audio options are lossy, DD 5.1 English, French, and German, with optional subtitles in those languages. The dialogue is clear, which given the thunderous action sequences, with big explosions and plenty of gunfire is pretty decent. It’s even more impressive given the ‘metal’ soundtrack that the second film got. Limp Bizkit’s version of the Mission Impossible theme is quite possibly the worst re-imagining of a classic TV theme in history. But the level of immersion and quality of the sound design is most impressive in Mission Impossible 2.
The disc boots swiftly to an animated menu.
You have a commentary on the film from director John Woo, which is subtitled should you need them.
Behind The Mission is a 14:28 making of featurette. You learn more about the stunts in Mission Incredible (5:12), and you can go behind the scenes 11 times in Impossible Shots (34:17 Play All).
The Metallica Music Video for I Disappear lasts 4:33, and the Alternate Title Sequence lasts 0:37.
Excellence In Film (9:15), and Generation: Cruise (3:36) are a couple of tributes to Tom Cruise, and both are repeated from the first movie disc.
Finally there is an Easter Egg on this disc if you can find it. It’s the 2000 MTV Movie Awards sequence parodying this film, and it lasts 6:38.
All of the extras are in 480i SD.
I actually saw Mission Impossible 2 in the cinema, and for once, I was not tempted to get the DVD. In fact, Mission Impossible 2 put me off the whole franchise, and I never watched another Mission Impossible movie again... until now. I thought it stank, and that opinion hasn’t changed much today. The story is weak, the characters thin and in some cases laughable, and the daftness of Hollywood’s take on computers is compounded by Hollywood’s take on medicine. None of this is really what puts me off Mission Impossible 2 however, as this sort of weak character and narrative obscured by special effects and stunts has long been the natural state of the Hollywood summer blockbuster.
What I learned when I first saw this film, and still resonates with me today is that you can only watch one John Woo feature film. Thereafter, ever John Woo movie that you watch will feel like a parody, so strong, so prevalent are the director’s trademarks. My first John Woo movie was Broken Arrow, which I was wholly entertained by. Thereafter I caught Face/Off and this Mission Impossible 2 and I just couldn't take it seriously. The ponderous slow motion, the sideways jumping, two guns firing, the spinny camera, the doves in flight, the absolutely dumb, physics defying stunts; the second time you see this stuff, it feels like it’s spoofing the first time.
Quite frankly, John Woo’s direction buries the story in Mission Impossible 2. There’s the seed of a good movie in here, the love triangle between Ethan, Nyah and Sean offering potential for a strong emotional context overlaying the Maguffin of the killer virus and the race against time to prevent its release. Instead, I’m asking questions like, why did he do a forward somersault kick to the back instead of just punching him in the face, or why did he wait for him to kick his gun up, grab in mid air, spin jump turn around and shoot, when he was holding a gun aimed at him and all he had to do was pull the trigger?
Mission Impossible 2, a dumb summer action movie that was far dumber than it needed to be in a spy genre which needs the pretence of intelligence for credibility, and an utter disappointment after the first film.