Ethan Hunt recruits the skills of a beautiful jewel thief to recover a lethal virus that was stolen by a rogue IMF agent.
Brian De Palma’s attempt to make a more adult spy movie in the original Mission: Impossible is jettisoned in favour of the usual Hollywood blockbuster histrionics and to be fair, the sequel has dated rather better as a result. It plays out very much like the contemporary Bond films and Thandie Newton conjures some pretty decent chemistry with Tom Cruise in the early scenes of the film. In fact John Woo shows some unusual restraint for the first two acts and his trademark stylised action works extremely well for the exciting research facility heist. Dougray Scott also makes a suitably Machiavellian villain as “Dark Ethan” and it all shapes up to be an enjoyably silly action movie. Unfortunately things decidedly take a turn for the worse during the climax as Woo succumbs to his worst excesses for an uncomfortably bloated finale which degenerates into complete nonsense. The action becomes so overblown and incessant it becomes increasingly tedious rather than exciting and the emotional button pushing is done encased within a concrete boxing glove. This all culminates in an absurd acrobatic smackdown between Cruise and Scott that resembles a drearily drawn out round of videogame Tekken.
This is a shame because up until that point it was all good fun, but Mission: Impossible 2 still stands up as a brainless but amusing instalment that’s probably one of the better of the series thanks in no small part to its willingness to not take itself too seriously.