Mission Impossible II
|Tom Cruise||Ethan Hunt|
|Dougray Scott||Sean Ambrose|
|Thandie Newton||Nyah Nordoff-Hall|
|Ving Rhames||Luther Stickell|
|Directed by||John Woo|
If your blood is brought to a boil by the sight of an impossibly beautiful man (Tom Cruise) performing magnificent physical feats (rock climbing, road racing, motorcycle jousting, slow-mo kick-boxing, bedding Thandie Newton) ? and whose isn?t? ? you should find plenty of value for your entertainment dollar in the new Mission Impossible. If, however, you lean toward plot, character, dialogue, and subtlety, your cup of tea may lie further down the cineplex.
MI2 has something old (Cruise and Ving Rhames from the first film), something new (director John Woo replaces DePalma), something borrowed (homages/thefts from a half-dozen other movies), and something blue (black-and-blue).
The plot has to do with an artificial supervirus concocted by a chemist (Rade Sherbedgia) for a pharmaceutical giant. Why? "Any search for a hero must begin with what a hero requires,? Mr. Sherbedgia intones as the movie begins. ?A villain." He?s developed the virus (Chimera) and its cure (Bellerophon), and the profit potential is giddy. For reasons surpassing all understanding, he?ll only give it to MI agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise). But it falls into the hands of rogue former MI agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Hunt must get it back to save the world, and his orders are to recruit a thief named Nyah Nordoff-Hall (named for the authors of ?Mutiny on the Bounty??) for his team. Team? This guy don?t need no stinking team! But he recruits her, falls for her, and then finds out his misogynist boss (Anthony Hopkins) only wants her as sexual bait because she used to be Ambrose?s girlfriend.
The plot is pedestrian and not a little shaky, shored up with latex masks being peeled off at least once a reel to demonstrate that anybody could really be anybody else. The dialogue boasts lines like ?You shoulda killed me when you had the chance!? (as indeed he shoulda.) But Woo doesn?t give a tinker?s dam for plot and dialogue. It?s all about sensation. And the sensation starts early, with Cruise climbing the sheer face of a terrifying cliff, as the camera swoops and glides about him like a curious hawk, to be sure we see that this really is Tom Cruise and he really is on this rock face. It?s impressive.
MI2 is a James Bond film, but the emphasis is a little different. Woo loves an explosion as much as anybody, but his real passion is physical razzle-dazzle, balletic leaping and twisting in midair with guns blazing. There are breathless car chases and a motorcycle duel that could do for helmets what Gable did for undershirts, but it?s the human element that shapes them, not Bond?s mechanical gadgetry.
If you?re an action junkie, or a plot-hole junkie, you?ll find plenty here to feed your habit. But there?s a quiet desperation of d?j? vu that conjures an image of John Woo weeping in his editing room like Alexander the Great, because there are no worlds left to conquer.
© Text 2000 Jonathan Richards - Filmfreak.be