Good things:

  1. John Woo directs, so cool action sequences.
  2. Lots of pretty explosions.
Bad things:
  1. I don't care for the Love Interest Thandie Newton. I don't know why, everyone else seems to. Maybe it's because it really came through that she was an airhead.
  2. The plot is very simple and straightforward. I liked the first movie, because it was actually kind of intricate, and, aside from the deus ex machina mask trick at the end, you got paid well for your suspension of disbelief. In this movie, you knew everything all the time, and when you didn't know everything, you would handily be filled in in 15 seconds. I'm told that this dumbing down was intentional, as the general movie-going public complained that the Mission: Impossible was too hard to follow.
  3. Even though this is a John Woo film, you don't get a good fight scene until about halfway into the movie.

Recommendation: Catch a matinee. Your girlfriend will like Tom Cruise's bulging muscles during his rock climbing scene at the beginning of the movie.

If you have a choice between MI 1 or 2, pick 1. The thing that was so innovative in 1 was that about 10% of the population had to have someone explain to them what was going on. There is another 10% that just can't stand to have things not laid right out for them, and left during the middle of it because they became too confused. For the other 80%, the movie was much more entertaining because of this. All of my hopes for a similar sequel were shot down by the new MI 2. MI 2 went back to the regular action mold. Good guy, bad guy, pretty woman falls in love with good guy, woman complicates things so it looks like bad guy may win, good guy saves woman and beats bad guy. The only ties to MI 1 was the confusion created by the many different masks that the good and bad guys wear. This of course, only lasts at most a minute until they take it off on camera, so you know what is going on.

If you were hoping for a sequel to MI 1, sorry. If you just want to see another action flick, MI 2 isn't too bad.

Mission:Impossible 2 is a remake of Notorious, a 1946 Alfred Hitchcock film starring Cary Grant.

I don't believe this is an established fact, but it is definately the case as the two films have particularly similar plots and scenes.

I saw M:I-2 when it was in theatres, and took it as another John Woo action film. Which is what it was. I mean, that's what he's good at. He loves creating big-ass all-out unrealistic bangs, and to be honest, it's all good. Yeah sure, he's done other stuff, but let's be honest: he was born to make films like Face/Off. And why not? It's fun. 2 or 3 years later I was watching Notorious on good ol' tv and the penny dropped at a gradual rate. The first inklings came when Ingrid Bergman's character (the daughter of a U.S. intelligence officer) is used to capture some baddy in some exotic place because the two used to be an item. "Hey, that's just like M:I-2," I said to everyone who wanted to listen to me more than the movie. Then when Cary Grant's character (smooth talking U.S. agent man, in charge of making sure the op goes down) falls in love with Ingrid, I just had to point out, again, that it was remarkably in sync with M:I-2, plot wise. When the baddy, the agent, and the babe all met up at the horse races, I finally realised what director John Woo had done.

I remember a film-freak-friend of mine reading an interview with Mr. Woo, and sharing with me the knowledge that John Woo was a big Hitchcock fan. With that in mind, M:I-2 deserves more credit than it I gave it. I imagine (and I may be so, so wrong to give him credit for this, for many other people involved in the making of M:I-2 may have been the brainstorm behind it) that John Woo was given the task of directing the sequel to Mission:Impossible, then he happily obliged, and decided that if he were to be making a mostly mindless action film for the masses, why not have a little fun doing so? Thus, he created a perfectly straight-forward action film, and at the same time made one big allusion to an old favorite film of his. Notorious was not an action film. I'm not even sure if a gun goes off once in the whole damn film. But I believe that's a good thing. M:I-2 isn't merely a remake. It's a genetically-modified robo-film in tribute to one of the greatest and most original directors ever. And if you don't give a badger's bottom, you can just sit and watch the explosions and bullets fly by.

Instead of Notorious' Rio setting, M:I-2 takes place in Australia.
Instead of the Uranium-235 that the Nazi's want to build bombs with in Notorious, the bad-people in M:I-2 want to have the only cure for a certain disease so they can corner the market.
Instead of the baddy's mother who warns him against the sudden return of 'Chick', the main bad-boy in M:I-2 has a fellow bad-guy who doesn't trust her.
The car scene in which Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman have a chat and ultimately have a fight in, is represented by a typical John Woo-esque car chase which results in the cars interlocking and spinning uncontrollably to the edge of a rather scary-looking cliff.

The times, they are a-changin'.

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