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Mission: Impossible II (also known as M:I-2) is a 2000 action film directed by John Woo, and starring Tom Cruise, who also served as the film's producer. It is a sequel to Brian De Palma's 1996 film Mission: Impossible with Cruise reprising his role as agent Ethan Hunt of the IMF, a top-secret espionage and clandestine operation agency.

Plot

In Sydney, Australiamarker at the laboratories of the company, Biocyte Pharmaceuticals, a Russian scientist, Dr. Vladimir Nekhorvich (Rade Serbedzija) creates a virus called 'Chimera' (named after the Greek monster that had the head of a lion and the tail of a serpent) along with the cure, known as 'Bellerophon' (named after a Greek warrior that slayed the monster). Nekhorvich calls upon Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) to accompany him on a flight to Atlanta, Georgiamarker, with IMF presuming he means to deliver Chimera into safe hands. Whilst flying over the Rocky Mountains, an announcement is made by the captain (Hugh Stamp played by Richard Roxburgh) that there has been a drop in cabin pressure. As a precaution, he releases the oxygen masks. Ethan gets up to find out what is going on; meanwhile, the masks knock out all the other passengers. When Ethan returns, he kills Nekhorvich by breaking his neck and reveals himself to be IMF agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) in disguise. Ambrose and his team steal Nekorvich's suitcase (with sample vials inside) and parachute to safety just as the plane crashes into a mountain, killing everyone on board.

In Texasmarker, the real Ethan Hunt is free climbing whilst on vacation. When he reaches the top, he receives a message from his superior Mission Commander Swanbeck (Anthony Hopkins) who informs him that Chimera has been stolen. If he accepts the mission of recovering it, he may choose any two team members, but the third must be Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton), a professional thief.

Ethan travels to Seville, Spainmarker to find Nyah. He finds her in the act of trying to steal a valuable diamond necklace from a club. The next morning he follows her through the countryside where the two have a friendly car chase. During the chase Nyah's car nearly goes over a cliff, and she is saved by Ethan. He then convinces her to join his team, and she sleeps with him.

That evening Ethan meets commander Swanbeck at the IMF HQ in Seville. Swanbeck informs Ethan that Nekhorvich (who was a good friend of Ethan's) is dead. Ethan is puzzled about how IMF got Nekhorvich on the flight to Atlanta without him. Swanbeck explains that since he couldn't find Ethan at the time, he sent Sean Ambrose instead (Ambrose having doubled for Ethan in the past). Now, however, Ambrose and his team have gone rogue. Swanbeck suggests that Nyah be used to gain information from Ambrose about his plans because Sean had been wanting Nyah back ever since she left him six months ago after a significant relationship.

Ethan and Nyah travel to Sydney where Ethan meets with Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), his partner from the first film, and Billy Baird (John Polson), establishing their base on a sheep farm outside the city. Nyah meanwhile arrives at Sean's compound to begin retrieving information (not before sleeping with Sean).

Hugh Stamp questions Sean about her as he is suspicious she may be a Trojan horse sent by IMF. Sean cuts off Hugh's finger for questioning him about her. Later at a horse racing event, Ethan and his team are watching Sean and Nyah. Sean leaves Nyah to go and speak to John C. McCloy (Brendan Gleeson), the head of Biocyte and Nekhorvich's boss. Sean shows McCloy a video on a digital camera in the bar. When Sean returns to Nyah, she manages to get the camera's memory card from Sean's left jacket pocket and then goes to find Ethan (Sean knows the card is missing but pretends to remain in the dark about it). The video turns out to be footage of the effects Chimera had on Doctor Sergei Gradski, one of Nekorvich's colleagues, who was deliberately infected to test Chimera; after a person has been infected with it for 20 hours, nothing can save them, not even Bellerophon. The footage graphically records Chimera's effects, along with Gradski's slow, gruesome death. Nyah then makes it back to Sean and places the memory card into his right jacket pocket rather than his left.

That evening Ethan and his team kidnap John C. McCloy (when Billy poses as his regular driver). McCloy wakes up in a hospital bed and comes face to face with the ghost of Nekhorvich, who makes McCloy believe he is infected with Chimera. McCloy then reveals that Nekhorvich had actually taken all of Biocyte's Bellerophon, in the vials he carried (stolen by Sean) when traveling to Atlanta. IMF had thus been mistaken in assuming that Sean had stolen Chimera. McCloy still has some of the virus, and has made a deal with Sean to regain the cure stolen by Nekhorvich (at a bid of £37,000,000). He also implies he deliberately intended to release Chimera upon the world, then make a fortune by selling Bellerophon, thereby rejuvenating Biocyte's falling stocks. The ghost is revealed as Ethan in disguise. Meanwhile Nyah is at Sean's compound where she meets Ethan, who tells her to stay there and do what Sean asks. When she goes, it is revealed Ethan is Sean in disguise. Now that he knows of Nyah's true allegiance (especially when Nyah tries to come on to him) and that Ethan plans to go into Biocyte to destroy Chimera, Sean gathers his team together and they head to Biocyte.

At the same time, Ethan gets dropped into the Biocyte roof by Billy and Luther guiding Ethan from his van outside the building. Ethan then goes about destroying the last remaining samples of Chimera. Luther notices that Nyah is in the building on her way to Ethan (meaning Ethan needs to destroy all the samples before she arrives but Luther is unable to contact Ethan). Just as Ethan is about to destroy the last of Chimera, Sean and his team open fire, and Ethan is ambushed. Meanwhile one of Sean's men plants a bomb under Luther's van which detonates. During the gun fight the last sample of chimera gets dropped on the floor and Sean orders Nyah to retrieve it. Just as she is about to, Luther (who survived the explosion) is able to contact Ethan and tell him Nyah is in the building. When Nyah collects the last sample, she injects herself with it so that Sean will have to keep her alive. Ethan destroys the other samples, which alerts Biocyte security. Whilst Sean and his team exchange gun fire with the security guards, Ethan escapes, vowing to save Nyah, and Sean's team take Nyah away.

Next morning, Sean and his team go to a Biocyte facility on the outskirts of Sydney where they meet John C. McCloy. During the meeting, Sean orders his men to cut Nyah loose in downtown Sydney. As she is infected with Chimera, upon her death, the virus will create a pandemic, starting with 17 million people in Australia before spreading across the world, that will cause demand for Bellerophon to sky-rocket. Sean demands McCloy's money for funding a massive purchase of stock options so that Sean would then make billions and would also own 51% of Biocyte. McCloy refuses to cooperate at first but having no choice, transfers the money. Ethan breaks up the meeting by blowing down the door. Sean sends Hugh Stamp and some other of his men to kill Ethan (after he is spotted through the fire caused by the explosion). Hugh Stamp finds Ethan first and after a little hand to hand fight, Ethan drops a grenade which explodes and incapacitates Hugh. Ethan then calls into Sean (pretending he is Hugh) and after Sean shoots who he believes is Ethan, it is revealed he has killed Hugh from the bandage on his finger. This diversion allows Ethan to steal Bellerophon and a car chase between both Ethan and Sean's teams breaks out along the Sydney coast roads.

During the battle, Luther manages to locate Nyah, who is on the cliffs about to kill herself so she can't infect any other people with chimera. Ethan orders Luther and Billy to go and collect her while he deals with the rest of Ambrose's team. After a short motorbike chase, Ethan leads Sean to a deserted beach where they fight each other in hand to hand combat (during which Sean nearly kills Ethan with a knife to the eye). Ethan gains the upper hand and knocks Sean unconscious before Luther and Billy arrive with Nyah. Just has Ethan is walking to Nyah, Sean points a gun at Ethan from behind and tries to shoot him. Luckily Ethan finds his gun in time to shoot Sean himself. Nyah is injected with Bellerophon just in time.

Later Ethan informs Swanbeck that chimera was all destroyed by fire and that is why he couldn't bring back a living sample of the virus. Swanbeck then agrees to wipe out Nyah's criminal record and Ethan goes on another vacation, this time with Nyah in Sydney.

Cast



Production

Production of the film was troubled and was shut down for several weeks as the script was re-worked. As a result both Dougray Scott and Thandie Newton lost the chance to appear in starring roles in other films. Cruise and Woo had reportedly clashed several times throughout filming over creative differences, but both walked away from it on good terms.

The studio expressed concern over the safety of filming Ethan Hunt's entrance in the film, where he is rock climbing. Cruise refused to drop the idea because he could not think of a better way to reintroduce the character. There was no safety net as he filmed the sequence, but he did have a harness. He tore his shoulder when performing Hunt's jump from one part of the cliff to another.

Box office

The film was a financial hit and grossed close to $215 million in its domestic North American release and approximately $331 million abroad. It was the highest-grossing movie of 2000.

Box office totals

  • Budget - $125,000,000
  • Marketing cost - $37,200,000
  • Opening Weekend Gross (Domestic) - $57,845,297
  • Total Domestic Grosses - $215,409,889
  • Total Overseas Grosses - $330,978,216
  • Total Worldwide Grosses - $546,388,105


Reception

Critical reaction to Mission: Impossible II was mixed. The film holds a rating of 57% on Rotten Tomatoes and 60 out of 100 on Metacritic.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said that "if the first movie was entertaining as sound, fury, and movement, this one is more evolved, more confident, more sure-footed in the way it marries minimal character development to seamless action." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly felt the film was a "throwaway pleasure" but also "a triumph of souped-up action."

Ella Taylor of LA Weekly said that "every car chase, every plane crash, every potential drop off a cliff is a masterpiece of grace and surprise." Desson Thomson of the Washington Post said that "[John] Woo [...] takes complete command of the latest technology to create brilliant action sequences." Lou Lumenick of the New York Post said, "Check your brains at the popcorn stand and hang on for a spectacular ride."

J. Hoberman of the Village Voice called the film "a vaguely absurd thriller filled with elaborately superfluous setups and shamelessly stale James Bond riffs." Dennis Harvey of Variety said the film is "even more empty a luxury vehicle than its predecessor" and that it "pushes the envelope in terms of just how much flashy packaging an audience will buy when there's absolutely nada inside." Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader said that "no hero or villain winds up carrying any moral weight at all."

The promo title featured on posters for the film, "P:B:M-1", was a spoof of the promo title "M:I-2" for the film Mission: Impossible II. A teaser trailer included on the DVD spoofed Mission: Impossible II with scenes from Piglet's Big Movie.

The film was nominated for two Razzie Awards for Worst Supporting Actress (Thandie Newton) and Worst Remake or Sequel, but won neither.

Music

Score

The original score was composed by Hans Zimmer and performed by Lisa Gerrard.

Soundtrack

The Mission: Impossible II Soundtrack includes Limp Bizkit's rendition of Lalo Schifrin's Mission: Impossible theme, "Take a Look Around".

See also

  • Notorious, an inspiration for part of the plotline in Mission: Impossible II.


References

  1. Mission: Impossible II reviews, Rotten Tomatoes
  2. Mission: Impossible II reviews, Metacritic
  3. Mission: Impossible II review, Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
  4. Mission: Impossible II review, Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
  5. Mission: Impossible II review, Ella Taylor, LA Weekly
  6. Mission: Impossible II review, Desson Thomson, Washington Post
  7. Mission: Impossible II review, Lou Lumenick, New York Post
  8. Mission: Impossible II review, J. Hoberman, Village Voice
  9. Mission: Impossible II review, Dennis Harvey, Variety
  10. Mission: Impossible II review, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader


External links




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