Mission: Impossible 2

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Mission: Impossible 2
Ethan Hunt running
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Woo
Produced by
Screenplay byRobert Towne
Story by
Based onMission: Impossible
by Bruce Geller
Music byHans Zimmer
CinematographyJeffrey L. Kimball
Edited by
Distributed byParamount Pictures[1]
Release date
  • May 24, 2000 (2000-05-24)
Running time
124 minutes[2]
Budget$125 million[3]
Box office$546.4 million[3]

Mission: Impossible 2 (stylized as M:i-2)[1] is a 2000 action spy film directed by John Woo and produced by and starring Tom Cruise. The sequel to 1996 film Mission: Impossible, it is the second installment in the Mission: Impossible film series. It follows Ethan Hunt as he is tasked by the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) to find and destroy a dangerous biological weapon called "Chimera" from rogue IMF agent Sean Ambrose with the help of love interest Nyah Nordoff-Hall, Ambrose's ex-girlfriend.

Mission: Impossible 2 was released in theaters worldwide on May 24, 2000 to strong box office results, 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, warning that his employer, Biocyte Pharmaceuticals, forced him to develop a biological weapon in order to profit from the cure. He arranges to meet with Ethan to deliver the Chimera virus, and its cure, 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 plane to cover their escape.

IMF director Swanbeck informs Ethan 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. Ethan successfully recruits her to trace Ambrose and his team since she is Ambrose's ex-girlfriend and reluctantly convinces her to spy on Ambrose.

Ethan assembles his team, computer hacker Luther Stickell from the first film, 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.

Ethan's team kidnaps McCloy to force him to give up Bellerophon. However, 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 a sample of Chimera. Ethan'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 is able to 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 orders Nyah to retrieve the sample; she instead injects herself with it, preventing Ambrose from simply killing her after she retrieved it for him. Nyah insists that Ethan kill her to destroy the virus but Ethan is unwilling to do so. Ambrose takes Nyah away as Ethan escapes from the laboratory.

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 in order to make him Biocyte's majority shareholder. His plan is to get rich from Biocyte's stock due to demand for Bellerophon after Chimera is released. Ethan infiltrates the meeting and steals the remaining samples of Bellerophon. While Ethan is pursued by Ambrose's men, Luther and Billy locate Nyah, who has wandered to a cliff side, intent on killing herself to prevent the eventual outbreak. Ethan kills Ambrose's men but Ambrose chases him to a beach where Ethan 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 Ethan. Ethan throws the canister to Luther and jumps away from Ambrose's shot while kicking up a gun from the sand which he uses to finally kill Ambrose. Luther injects Nyah with the Bellerophon in time to cure her.

IMF clears Nyah's criminal record and Ethan starts his vacation with her in Sydney.



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.[5]

The studio expressed concern over the safety of shooting Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise)'s entrance in the film, where he is free solo climbing in Moab, Utah's Dead Horse Point State Park.[6] 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.[7] Most of the scenes were also shot in Sydney, Australia.

In a 2020 interview, Thandie Newton spoke about her tense on-set experiences with Cruise when filming the movie, during a scene with the two together on a balcony. According to Newton, Cruise was heavily stressed over the expectations of the sequel being good, and was upset during shooting said scene, because she had "the s----iest lines." The two decided to reverse roleplay each other as practice, but it was unhelpful for her and pushed her "into a place of terror and insecurity." After shooting was finished for the day, she contacted Jonathan Demme, telling him what happened. When recalled back years later on the incident, Newton said, "Bless him. And I really do mean bless him, because he was trying his damnedest."[clarification needed][8][9][10]


The film's original score was composed and conducted by Hans Zimmer and features vocals performed by Lisa Gerrard.[11] 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".[12]

While Ethan is rock climbing during his holiday, Zap Mama's remixed version of "Iko Iko" plays on the soundtrack.


In its North American opening weekend, the film grossed $57,845,297, ranking at #1. It held on to the No. 1 spot for three weekends. 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.[3] 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 at the time of release, holding the record for eleven years before being surpassed by Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

Mission: Impossible 2 was released on VHS and DVD on November 7, 2000,[13] with a rare Japanese LaserDisc release following on April 3, 2001[14] (released extremely late in the format's life), with a potential North American release of this LaserDisc being cancelled in mid-2001.[15] A Blu-ray release followed on June 3, 2008, and an Ultra HD Blu-ray version was released on June 26, 2018.[16]

Critical reception[edit]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes indicates the film 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".[17] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 59 out of 100, based on 40 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[18] 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+".[19]

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."[20] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly felt the film was a "throwaway pleasure" but also "a triumph of souped-up action."[21] 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."[22] Desson Howe of The Washington Post said that "[John] Woo [...] takes complete command of the latest technology to create brilliant action sequences."[23] Lou Lumenick of the New York Post said, "Check your brains at the popcorn stand and hang on for a spectacular ride."[24]

J. Hoberman of The Village Voice called the film "a vaguely absurd thriller filled with elaborately superfluous setups and shamelessly stale James Bond riffs."[25] 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."[26] Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader said that "no hero or villain winds up carrying any moral weight at all."[27]

In a retrospective commentary in 2012, Brad Brevet noted the film has significant similarities in plot and themes to Alfred Hitchcock's 1946 film Notorious.[28]

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.[29] It was also nominated for a Stinker Award at the 2000 ceremony for Worst Song (Limp Bizkit's "Take a Look Around").[30]

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.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Mission: Impossible II (2000)". British Film Institute. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  2. ^ "Mission: Impossible II (15)". British Board of Film Classification. June 5, 2000. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Mission: Impossible II (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 13, 2011.
  4. ^ The New York Times Movies
  5. ^ Argent, Daniel (February 25, 2016). ""It's just as hard every time." Robert Towne on Screenwriting". Creative Screenwriting. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  6. ^ "Moab Movie Locations - Take a tour of some of Moab's famous movie locations". Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  7. ^ "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross: Series 16: Episode 1". BBC iPlayer. January 23, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2009.[link expired]
  8. ^ "Thandie Newton Shares Her 'Nightmare' Tom Cruise Story from 'Mission: Impossible 2'". Indiewire.
  9. ^ "Thandie Newton Recalls 'Nightmare' Scene with Tom Cruise on M:I 2 Set: 'He Was Really Stressed'". People.
  10. ^ E. Alex Jung (July 7, 2020). "In Conversation: Thandie Newton". Vulture.
  11. ^ "Filmtracks: Gladiator (Hans Zimmer/Lisa Gerrard)". Filmtracks.com. October 27, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  12. ^ "Mission: Impossible 2 [Original Soundtrack]". Allmusic. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  13. ^ Woo, John (November 7, 2000), Mission: Impossible 2, Paramount, retrieved May 2, 2018
  14. ^ "LaserDisc Database - Mission: Impossible 2 [PILF-2865]". LaserDisc Database. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  15. ^ "LaserDisc Database - Mission: Impossible 2 [LV334873-WS]". LaserDisc Database. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  16. ^ "Mission: Impossible II DVD Release Date". DVDs Release Dates. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  17. ^ "Mission Impossible 2 (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  18. ^ "Mission: Impossible II Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  19. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  20. ^ Roger Ebert (May 24, 2000). "Mission: Impossible II". Chicago Sun-Times.
  21. ^ "Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)", Owen Gleiberman, June 2, 2000, Entertainment Weekly, Time Inc.
  22. ^ Mission: Impossible II review, Ella Taylor, LA Weekly Archived January 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "'M:I-2': Mission Accomplished", Desson Howe, May 26, 2000, The Washington Post.
  24. ^ Mission: Impossible II review, Lou Lumenick, New York Post. Archived June 13, 2001, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Smoke and Mirrors", J. Hoberman, May 30, 2000, The Village Voice.
  26. ^ "Mission: Impossible 2", Dennis Harvey, May 23, 2000, Variety.
  27. ^ Mission: Impossible II review, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
  28. ^ Brad Brevet. "Did You Know 'Mission: Impossible 2' is a Remake of Hitchcock's 'Notorious'? Here, Have a Look..." Rope of Silicon. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  29. ^ "2000 RAZZIE Nominees & 'Winners'". Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. December 4, 2005. Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  30. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20070105221207/http://theenvelope.latimes.com/extras/lostmind/year/2000/2000st.htm

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