Mission: Impossible 2
|Mission: Impossible 2|
|Directed by||John Woo|
|Screenplay by||Robert Towne|
|Based on||Mission: Impossible|
by Bruce Geller
|Cinematography||Jeffrey L. Kimball|
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$546.4 million|
Mission: Impossible 2 (stylized as M:I-2) is a 2000 action spy film directed by John Woo and produced by and starring Tom Cruise. It is the sequel to 1996 film Mission: Impossible, and the second installment in the Mission: Impossible film series. The film follows Ethan Hunt (Cruise) as he is tasked by the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) to find a dangerous biological weapon called "Chimera" from rogue IMF agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) with the help of love interest Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton), Ambrose's ex-girlfriend.
Mission: Impossible 2 was released in theaters worldwide on May 24, 2000, to strong box office results and mixed reviews, and grossed over $546 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2000. The film was followed by Mission: Impossible III in 2006.
Bio-chemical expert Dr. Vladimir Nekhorvich sends a message to the IMF for Ethan Hunt, an old friend of his. He warns that his employer at Biocyte Pharmaceuticals forced him to develop a biological weapon to profit from the cure. He arranges to meet with Ethan to deliver the Chimera virus, and its remedy, Bellerophon. With Ethan on holiday, the IMF sends agent Sean Ambrose disguised as Ethan to meet Nekhorvich on a passenger plane. Ambrose goes rogue, killing Nekhorvich and stealing Bellerophon, destroying the aircraft to cover their escape.
IMF director Swanbeck informs Hunt of the circumstances of Nekhorvich's death, and they determine Ambrose is responsible. Swanbeck tasks Ethan with recovering the virus and its cure and has him recruit Nyah Nordoff-Hall, a professional thief presently operating in Seville, Spain -- and Ambrose's ex-girlfriend. Hunt successfully recruits her to trace Ambrose and his team, and to spy on Ambrose, despite her reluctance.
Hunt assembles his team, computer hacker Luther Stickell and Pilot Billy Baird, in Sydney, Australia, where Biocyte laboratories are located, and Ambrose is staying. As Ethan stakes out Biocyte, Nyah rekindles her former relationship with Ambrose and relays information to Ethan's team. Ambrose meets with Biocyte's CEO, John C. McCloy, and shows him a video of Chimera infecting one of Nekhorvich's colleagues before blackmailing McCloy into cooperating with him. Nyah steals the camera's memory card and delivers it to Ethan. They learn that Chimera has a 20-hour dormant period before it causes death by mass destruction of the victim's red blood cells. Bellerophon can only save the victim if used within that 20-hour window. When Nyah discreetly returns the memory card to Ambrose, he notices it is in the wrong pocket of his jacket.
Hunt's team kidnaps McCloy to sting him for information. They discover that the only Bellerophon samples were taken by Nekhorvich and are now in Ambrose's hands. Ambrose has the cure but does not have the virus; unbeknownst to him at the time, Nekhorvich injected himself with Chimera to smuggle it out of Biocyte. Ambrose plans to exchange a sample of Bellerophon to McCloy for the Chimera. Hunt's team breaks into Biocyte to destroy the virus before the exchange can take place. Ambrose, posing as Ethan, tricks Nyah into revealing the plan, then captures Nyah and raids Biocyte to secure the virus. Ethan can destroy all but one sample of Chimera before Ambrose intervenes, and a firefight ensues, culminating in the sample being dropped on the floor between Ambrose and Ethan. Ambrose commands Nyah to collect the specimen; however, she injects herself with it, preventing Ambrose from eliminating her after the retrieval. Nyah begs Ethan to kill her along with the virus, but Ethan refuses. Ambrose abducts Nyah as Ethan flees the facility.
Ambrose releases Nyah to wander the streets of Sydney in a daze, intending to start a pandemic. He offers to sell Bellerophon to McCloy in exchange for stock options to make him Biocyte's majority shareholder. He plans to get rich from Biocyte's stock due to demand for Bellerophon after Chimera is released. Hunt infiltrates the meeting and steals the remaining samples of Bellerophon. While Hunt is pursued by Ambrose's men, Luther and Billy locate Nyah, who has wandered to a cliffside, intent on killing herself to prevent the eventual outbreak. Ethan kills Ambrose's men, but the last man, Hugh Stamp (Ambrose's best friend) is accidentally shot by Ambrose himself. Ambrose chases Hunt to a beach, where Hunt defeats him in a brutal fistfight. With little time left on the 20-hour countdown, Luther reaches Ethan at the beach. As Ethan is about to give Luther the Bellerophon canister, Ambrose recovers and points a gun at Hunt. Hunt throws the canister to Luther and jumps away from Ambrose's shot while kicking up a pistol from the sand he uses to finally kill Ambrose. Luther injects Nyah with the Bellerophon in time to save her.
Director Swanbeck realizes that Hunt destroyed the virus but the IMF clears Nyah's criminal record, and Ethan starts his vacation with her in Sydney.
- Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, an agent of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF)
- Dougray Scott as Sean Ambrose, a rogue IMF agent who possesses Bellerophon
- Thandiwe Newton (credited as Thandie Newton) as Nyah Nordoff-Hall, a professional thief brought on to assist Ethan in tracing Ambrose
- Richard Roxburgh as Hugh Stamp, Ambrose's right-hand man.
- John Polson as Billy Baird, a helicopter pilot
- Brendan Gleeson as John C. McCloy, CEO of Biocyte at Australia.
- Rade Sherbedgia as Dr. Vladimir Nekhorvich, creator of Chimera at Biocyte
- Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell, a computer hacker and IMF agent.
According to screenwriter Robert Towne, several action sequences were already planned for the film prior to his involvement and before the story had been written. Ian McKellen was offered the part of Mission Commander Swanbeck but turned it down.
The studio expressed concern about the safety of filming Tom Cruise's entrance scene, in which he is free solo climbing at Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab, Utah. 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 the jump from one part of the cliff to another. Most of the film's scenes were shot in Sydney, Australia.
Thandie Newton discussed her unpleasant on-set experiences with Cruise during the shooting of the balcony sequence in a 2020 interview. According to Newton, Cruise was heavily stressed over the expectations of the sequel being good and was upset during the shooting of said scene because she had "the shittiest lines". The two decided to reverse roleplay each other as practice. However, it was unhelpful for her and pushed her "into a place of terror and insecurity". After the shooting was finished for the day, she contacted Jonathan Demme, telling him what happened. Looking back on that day, Newton said about Cruise, "Bless him. And I really do mean bless him because he was trying his damnedest."
The film's original score was composed and conducted by Hans Zimmer and features vocals performed by Lisa Gerrard. In addition, the film includes contemporary music such as Limp Bizkit's rendition of Lalo Schifrin's Mission: Impossible theme entitled "Take a Look Around" as well as Metallica's "I Disappear".
Mission: Impossible 2 was released on VHS and DVD on November 7, 2000, with a rare Japanese LaserDisc release following on April 3, 2001 (released late in the format's life), with a potential North American release of this LaserDisc being cancelled in mid-2001. A Blu-ray release followed on June 3, 2008, and an Ultra HD Blu-ray version was released on June 26, 2018.
On opening day, Mission: Impossible 2 made $12.5 million, making it the fourth-highest Wednesday opening, behind Men in Black, Independence Day and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. At that time, it had the largest number of screenings, playing at 3,653 theaters and beating Scream 3. The film would go on to hold this record until it was surpassed by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone the following year. It grossed $57,845,297, crossing over Toy Story 2 to have the third-highest opening weekend of all time, behind The Lost World: Jurassic Park and The Phantom Menace. Moreover, the film surpassed its predecessor Mission: Impossible for not only having the highest opening weekend for a film based on a TV show, but also the largest opening weekend for any Paramount film. It also dethroned Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me for scoring the biggest opening weekend for a spy film. The latter record would be held until 2002 when it was given to Austin Powers in Goldmember. Three years later in 2005, War of the Worlds surpassed Mission: Impossible 2 for having the highest opening weekend for a Paramount film. Then in 2007, The Simpsons Movie took the record for having the biggest opening weekend for a film based on a TV show. As for Mission: Impossible 2, it earned $91.8 million in its first six days, becoming the second largest Memorial Day opening weekend, just after The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
When Mission: Impossible 2 first opened, the film was ranked number one at the box office, topping out Dinosaur. It held on to the number one spot for three weekends until it was overtaken by Gone in 60 Seconds. The film eventually grossed $215,409,889 in its North American release and $330,978,216 in other territories, totaling $546,388,105 worldwide, the highest-grossing film of 2000. It is John Woo's highest-grossing film of all time, surpassing Face/Off, and was the highest-grossing film in the Mission: Impossible series until the release of the fourth film, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, in 2011.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes indicates Mission: Impossible 2 has an overall approval rating of 57% based on 143 reviews and an average score of 5.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Your cranium may crave more substance, but your eyes will feast on the amazing action sequences." Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 59 out of 100, based on 40 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, down from the first film's "B+".
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film three stars, stating "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 Howe 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."
Mission: Impossible 2 was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards at the 2000 ceremony, including Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Supporting Actress for Thandie Newton. It was also nominated for a Stinker Award at the 2000 ceremony for Worst Song (Limp Bizkit's "Take a Look Around").
A comedy short titled Mission: Improbable was shown during the 2000 MTV Movie Awards. It is a mockumentary of the behind-the-scenes stunts of Mission: Impossible 2, and stars Cruise, Ben Stiller, and Woo.
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