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Mission Impossible II (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition) (1996)

1 rating: 1.0
Action & Adventure movie directed by Brian De Palma and John Woo

Visually stunning, and a likely must for John Woo aficionados, the secondMission: Impossibleouting from megastar Tom Cruise suffers from an inconsistent tone and tired plot devices--not only recycled from other films, but repeated throughout the film. … see full wiki

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1 review about Mission Impossible II (Two-Disc Special...

A good sequel that narrowly misses the mark

  • May 12, 2006
Let me begin by telling you two things. One: I really liked the 1996 film adaptation of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. Two: John Woo is one of my favorite directors. It would seem to me, and to countless others, that John Woo directing MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II would be a dream come true. Perhaps it was because of high expectations that audiences were so disappointed with Woo's MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II.

While the plot of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE was deep and jumbled enough to throw many people off, the plot of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II is so miniscule that it's nearly non-existent. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), an IMF (Impossible Mission Force) spy, is ordered to recruit a beautiful thief (Thandie Newton) and work with her in a mission to destroy "Chimera", a genetically-modified disease that could kill millions. Hunt and the thief, named Nyah, become romantically attached to each other, and things begin to get complicated.

One of the most interesting things about the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE film series is seeing how each director handles the material. Brian De Palma's MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE was filled with shady characters and conspiracies. J.J. Abrams' MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III was an energetic, action-packed thrill ride. John Woo's MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II is substantially different from each of those films. It has nothing in common with De Palma's film at all. It is, however, loaded with intense action sequences. This will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with director Woo's previous films.

Indeed, there are some scenes in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II which only John Woo could pull off. The movie is loaded with Woo's trademark slo-mo action and over-the-top stunts. Memorable scenes include Ethan Hunt wielding dual pistols (something done by numerous other characters in legendary scenes from Woo's Chinese films) and a scene in which a lone white dove emerges from a line of flames. As an operatic bit of Hans Zimmer's very fine score begins playing, Ethan Hunt walks past the flames, glaring in at the film's villain - who is, by the way, played by Dougray Scott.

Any movie directed by John Woo is sure to blow away most action fans, but MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II should really knock their socks off. The plot is small enough to give Woo time to focus on the action scenes, while keeping the film a few steps away from mediocrity. (Screenwriter Robert Towne has said that he based his script on action scenes which John Woo told him that he wanted to direct.) Cruise's Hunt comes off, at times, as an American James Bond. His performance conveys a strong sense of urgency and, occasionally, desperation, which really adds to the overall intensity of the film.

What John Woo's MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II lacks in depth is made up for with perfectly-executed action sequences guaranteed to satisfy the action fan. Despite a primarily-negative audience response, this is a good sequel that very narrowly misses the mark.

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