Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mission: Impossible II

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  Imagine a white dove flying right here in slow-motion...if you already were, you're name is probably John Woo.

Mission:  Impossible II – 2 out of 5

It’s time for the next installment of the Mission:  Impossible franchise.  If you caught my last post, I decided to go through the whole series after Rogue Nation was released on DVD and Blu-Ray.  I really enjoyed the first one but this one I only really remembered because of the soundtrack.  Whether it was because of the awful band Limp Bizkit doing the theme song or the terrible Metallica song that ended alerting the world of the prospects of file sharing, the soundtrack ended up becoming pretty much the only thing I remember from this one.  Now, I can officially say after watching the entire series that Mission:  ImpossibleII is my least favorite in the franchise.

Pfff.  Whatever.  I could do that--I'd fall immediately but I could do it for a
fraction of a fraction of a second.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is back and the IMF has a mission for him.  A bio-chemical expert named Dr. Vladimir Nekhorvich (Rade Serbedzija) has developed a brand new bioweapon called Chimera.  Nekhorvich also created a cure for the weapon and if anyone had their hand on these could hold the world hostage by releasing the virus and forcing people to buy the cure.  A rogue agent named Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) gets his hands on the virus and now Hunt must gather a team; composed of returning favorite Luther (Ving Rhames), pilot Billy Baird (John Polson) and the former girlfriend of Ambrose and thief extraordinaire Nyah Nordoff (Thandie Newton), and they set out to stop the selling of this virus/cure combo to the highest bidder and bring down Ambrose.

Also Anthony Hopkins is in it and that kinda makes up for Limp Bizkit...kinda.

From a story perspective, Mission:  Impossible II is pretty cool and its themes of weaponized viruses and making use of supply and demand to release a cure plays well on people’s paranoia and lack of faith in our health care system.  In fact, with people believing that vaccines cause autism and that there are people who actually believe that “Big Pharma” is holding back a cure for cancer because a cure would hurt their business, the story might actually work best in today’s society.  In fact, the story isn’t the problem with this film but rather pretty much everything else.

This seems...familiar.

For the most part, the performances in this film are okay but do range from being great (like Rhames and a fantastic performance from Brendan Gleeson as a character out to buy the virus/cure) to being okay (Cruise kinda falls in this category—he’s not bad but Ethan Hunt is written completely differently than he was in the first film) and the spectrum goes all the way to the super cheesy realm (Polson and Richard Roxburgh as a henchman for Ambrose fall in this category).  A lot of awkward dialogue only compounds the problems and really emphasizes the cheesy performances and makes the better performances look weaker.

Luther is still here and I still think he's awesome!

Another element that stood out to me was how different Hunt was in this film.  In fact, he seemed like a completely different character than he was in the first film.  He is no longer a calculating spy constantly looking for clues around him and cracks in the fa├žade he is scoping out but, instead, he’s an action badass who is over-the-top with his coolness as he is constantly amused by everything he is looking at.  Granted, I’m not complaining about how badass he is with his fighting but it was a tad distracting to see an Ethan Hunt who was so different from the previous film and having this new Hunt not feel like it was a natural evolution of the character.

One thing I won't hate on:  How goddamn majestic Tom Cruise's hair is in this film.

She's a talented thief...who really only steals Hunt's heart
because that's all the script allowed her to steal.
Other elements that really harmed my enjoyment and ended up making this film my least favorite in the series is some really awkward dialogue (seen most evidently in a confession sequence), an antagonist that has a killer introduction but is dreadfully dull the rest of the film, a needless love angle given to Hunt and Thandie Newton’s character and some very awkward transitions and some really cheap looking shots.  Overall, I really think John Woo and all of his trademark slo-mo doves and his goofy way of filming action might have been the most prominent killer in this film.  Woo’s trademarks are so prevalent that it makes the product look more like a parody of his work than an excellent addition to the M: I franchise.

I feel sorry for Woo's bird guy and the booming business he had briefly in the 90s
and early 00s...and then it all came crashing down.

Granted, there are a lot of things I didn’t care for in Mission:  Impossible II (maybe Limp Bizkit’s presence most of all) but the story did have a lot of potential to it, Anthony Hopkins uncredited role is pretty awesome and there are moments of cool action.  It’s definitely my least favorite in the series but it’s still watchable—even though not nearly as watchable as the rest of the series.

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