Mission: Impossible 2
|Mission: Impossible 2|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Woo|
|Screenplay by||Robert Towne|
|Based on||Mission: Impossible|
by Bruce Geller
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Cinematography||Jeffrey L. Kimball|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$546.4 million|
Mission: Impossible 2 (stylized as M:i-2) is a 2000 American 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 recruited 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 his new girlfriend Nyah Nordoff-Hall.
Mission: Impossible 2 was released in theaters worldwide on May 24, 2000 to strong box office results, and grossed over $546.4 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2000, and was the highest-grossing film in the series for 11 years. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the action sequences, performances, direction, score and dramatic depth, but took issue with the plot, dialogue and pacing. It 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 epidemic to profit from its remedy. He arranges to meet with Ethan to deliver the Chimera virus, and its cure, Bellerophon. With Ethan on vacation and incommunicado, the IMF sends agent Sean Ambrose disguised as Ethan to meet Nekhorvich on a passenger plane. Ambrose goes rogue, killing Nekhorvich and stealing Bellerophon before his men destroy the plane.
IMF Commander 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. After recruiting Nyah and romancing her, Ethan finds out that she is Ambrose's ex-girlfriend and he reluctantly convinces her to spy on Ambrose.
Ethan assembles his team, computer expert 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. At a horse racing event, Ambrose meets with Biocyte's CEO, John C. McCloy. He shows McCloy a memory card video of Chimera affecting 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, to make him Biocyte's majority shareholder. He predicts that the price of Biocyte's stock will skyrocket due to demand for Bellerophon after the Chimera outbreak. Ethan infiltrates the meeting and steals the remaining samples of Bellerophon. While Ethan is pursued by Ambrose and his 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.
- Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
- Thandie Newton as Nyah Nordoff-Hall
- Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell
- Dougray Scott as Sean Ambrose
- Brendan Gleeson as John C. McCloy
- Richard Roxburgh as Hugh Stamp
- John Polson as Billy Baird
- Radé Sherbedgia as Dr. Nekhorvich
- William Mapother as Wallis
- Dominic Purcell as Ulrich
- Mathew Wilkinson as Michael
- Anthony Hopkins as Mission Commander Swanbeck (uncredited).
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. 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 scenes were also shot in Sydney, Australia.
The film's original score was composed 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".
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. 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, with a rare Japanese LaserDisc release following on March 4, 2001 (released extremely 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.
Mission: Impossible 2 received mixed reviews from critics. Praise was aimed at the action sequences, emotional depth, John Woo's direction, Hans Zimmer's musical score, and the performances of the cast, but gave negative attention to the convoluted plot, weak dialogue, departure from to its source material, lack of substance and slow pacing, particularly the lack of action for the film's first hour and a half. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes indicates the film was certified as "Rotten" with overall approval rating of 57% based on 143 reviews, with 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".
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 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."
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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