Infused with the comic book sensibilities of Hong Kong-style martial arts cinema, the big-budget sequel Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) features dazzling camera work, wire-work stunts, and blisteringly fast-paced cutting under the assured hand of action director John Woo. At the same time, the film's wafer-thin script responds to criticisms of the first film being too intricately plotted and intellectually rigorous, resulting in an overly simplistic plot and rather flat, uninspired villain (Dougray Scott) that fail to challenge even the most absurd and over-the-top James Bond epics. Like so many sequels to action-movie hits, Mission: Impossible 2 achieves its visual thrills by ramping up the crisis and kinetic set pieces to cartoon proportions, resulting in a film that's exciting if totally unbelievable. Woo's sharp eye and sense of visual sizzle, a surprisingly winsome, almost fey performance by Tom Cruise, a beautiful female lead (Thandie Newton), and a cameo appearance by an unbilled Anthony Hopkins) keep this second impossible mission from going utterly to ground. What's missing from the film, however, is a sense of mystery that would keep this spy genre entry as mentally engaging as it is viscerally titillating.
by Karl Williams review