Flashback Review: Mission Impossible II

After Mission Impossible was a successful hit among critics and movie goers alike, Paramount Pictures was working on a sequel with Tom Cruise scheduled to reprise his role as Ethan Hunt. However, he was busy at the time working with his ex-wife Nicole Kidman in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and also worked with Paul Thomas Anderson in Magnolia with future Mission Impossible III co-star the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. After Kubrick’s last film and Anderson’s film were both released in 1999, Tom and his fellow co-star Ving Rhames immediately began filming Mission Impossible II with Hong Kong director John Woo taking over Brian DePalma’s place.

Mission Impossible II was released in 2000. (same year The Academy Award winning Best Picture epic Gladiator came out) The sequel earned mixed to positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. Despite mixed reception, it made more money than the first installment at the box office.

Now that Mission Impossible: Fallout is earning early critical praise from critics, I want to share my thoughts if the second film is good or bad.

The following review contains no SPOILERS. Feel free to read this article.

Smart And Dumb Elements

Smart: Tom Cruise reprises his signature role as Ethan Hunt, he did an excellent job for his performance. He also co-produced the film. I’m also gonna give him Bonus Points for doing all his stunts without a body double. A knife was one inch away from one of his eyes. If I were him, I would totally refuse to have a knife close to my eyeball.

Besides Tom, Ving Rhames reprising his role as Luther, he did a great job for his performance.

Newcomers to the series such as Thandie Newton, Dougray Scott, Brendan Gleeson (Professor Mad Eye Moody from Harry Potter) & Anthony Hopkins all did a great job for their respective performances.

Fun Fact: Both Anthony Hopkins & Thandie Newton reunite in HBO’s Westworld.

John Woo did an awesome job directing the sequel.

Unlike the first film, the sequel contains decent Action Sequences like a bike chase, a stealth mission to steal a formula of a deadly virus & my favorite scene is Ethan fighting Ambrose. Why didn’t Lego Dimensions recreate this scene for a boss fight as part of the Mission Impossible “Level Pack?”

Seeing Ethan riding a motorcycle in dark clothing, reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger bike chase scene from Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Anthony Hopkins said the title of the film series. In the words of Cinemasins, “Roll Credits!” Unlike Cinemasins, I will always give a specific character one point for saying the title of a movie or TV show, because it’s my favorite cliché in any storytelling format.

Hans Zimmer takes over Danny Elfman’s role as a composer for the second entry.

The theme song has a heavy metal variant.

Speaking of heavy metal, Metallica (one of my favorite heavy metal bands) wrote a song for the film. It’s played during The End Credits.

During The Opening Credits where Ethan is rock climbing, the song, “Iko Iko” is played in the background. That song was also used in Rain Man, which also featured Tom.

Practical Effects were used to orchestrate Action Sequences for Tom to perform many stunts himself. All that hard work definitely earned him a percentage of the box office accumulating to $75 million!

Cinematography didn’t contain overuse of Extreme Close-Ups, Dutch Angles & Shaky Cam present throughout. Some of the Close-Ups were used effectively.

Opening Scene begins inside an airplane. Coincidentally, Charlie’s Angels also has an opening scene set on in airplane. Both films are based on spy television shows.

Unlike other sequels, the second movie didn’t recycle the first film’s “You Got The Wrong Guy” trope.

A blonde henchmen reminded me of Hans Gruber’s Swedish henchman from Die Hard. Key difference is, his hair is short.

John Woo’s trademark use of doves is depicted whenever a lead character enters a scene, doves leaving the area indicates that a battle is about to ensue. John is also known for using Slow Motion Techniques in his films.

Instead of a video tape, a pair of sunglasses is used for a mission briefing. To put the icing on the cake, it self-destructs within a few seconds.

Negative: The sequel kinda recycles any James Bond movie you can think of, for me it’s Goldeneye. For example, The Villain is a former agent who turns bad and plans a high scale evil scheme who’s only motivation is money. In the words of Scott Evil from Austin Powers, “RIP-OFF!”

Ethan’s romance with Nyah, felt way too early to start a relationship. In real life, you have to know a specific person for one week or two.

Product Placement showed very little brands such as Kodak, Motorola & Apple. I’ll give this a pass due to a lack of other products to shove down my throat.

The Final Verdict: B, FOR BIKES GALORE!

Mission Impossible II is a different film to the series. Despite being a carbon copy of any James Bond film, it managed to try something different without attempting to recycle the first movie. Tom Cruise took a big gamble to come back after a hiatus, and it worked out pretty well in my opinion. If you’re a fan of Tom Cruise  or the Mission Impossible franchise, I recommend it as a way to gear up for Mission Impossible: Fallout.

To this day, I really don’t understand why Mission Impossible II is the weakest entry of the films. I thought it was great.

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