Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mission: Impossible II. B+

M:I II gets some updates from the first in the series. John Woo replaces Brian De Palma in the directing chair, Tom Cruise gets a new, shaggier hairstyle, and the action scenes are multiplied by I don't know how much to help establish this series as bona fide high octane entertainment. The latter is the essential reason to check the movie out. Few know how to create action sequences the way John Woo does and he gives everything he has with this movie. The first Mission: Impossible was a wild ride but also strange and incredibly confusing. This second installment is simply a wild ride. The story is easy to follow as the focus is clearly just on the fights and chases and explosions. One of the most thrilling scenes in the movie doesn't even concern the plot. Ethan Hunt is on vacation, but instead of relaxing he goes out and climbs a massive cliff without a harness. The scene is terrifying not because we think Hunt will fall, but because if we tried that, we'd surely fall. 'M:I II' doesn't make any attempt at realism. Most of the action scenes don't even come close to feasibility, while any sort of drama is quickly forgotten by another chase or fight sequence. I've expressed my dislike for Tom Cruise before, but I have to admit he knows what he's doing in a mindless action movie. I'm fine as long as he stays clear of dramatic roles. Here he also shares some fine chemistry with Thandie Newton, a love interest who is also very important to the plot. I had a lot of fun with this movie. It's not something we want to see too much of in a series (which is why M:I III didn't work) but compared to 'M:I I' it's refreshingly simple and a blast to watch.

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