Starring: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Anthony Hopkins,
Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton
Rated: PG-13 (Violence)
Running Time: 120 Min.
Fast cars, beautiful women, amazing gadgets... this spy has them all. The name? Hunt, Ethan Hunt. The movie? Mission: Impossible-2. After the miscalculation of 1996's Mission: Impossible, the second Impossible Mission reinvents the entire concept in an attempt to create a viable film franchise. That's great, except that the franchise had already been created nearly forty years ago in the form of James Bond. The only difference here is that M:I-2 is distinctly American. It's a big, loud, monster of a film that comes across about as subtle as a blow to the head with a large wooden mallet.
The ever-grinning Tom Cruise plays Hunt as a superspy who is always in control of any situation. In some scenes he seems to be looking right out at the audience, as if to say, "I know this is only a movie, just sit back and enjoy the ride!", which is exactly the way this film should be seen. To see it as anything more would be pointless.
The really impossible parts of this film were the stunts, most of which defied the laws of physics, and inspired more laughter than awe from the audience. If this becomes the prototype for future Impossible Mission films, then silly stunts may become a trademark of the franchise. Of course, I'm assuming that those stunts were intended to look silly, I could be wrong.
Director John Woo delivers what we've come to expect, specifically the slow motion action scenes he is famous for. Just as some directors have a love affair with the wide-angle lense, so has Woo with slow motion. I am undecided as to whether it's an artistic statement, or just a cheap editing trick. Either way, it is effective in giving scenes more weight and dramatic tension than they actually have.
As a two hour thrill-ride, M:I-2 is a winner, and should lead to many future sequels. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to see M:I-2, sit back, relax, and be entertained. But for gosh sakes, don't take it seriously!
A.J.'s Rating: 3 Tom Cruise Apologies for Eyes Wide Shut