Enjoying this movie is Mission: Impossible

The writers of Mission: Impossible 2 would have you believe this movie is about the agency’s mission to track down a double crossing agent who plans to release a deadly flu-like virus in order to make a few bucks. In actuality, this movie is about one thing: Tom Cruise.

There are other actors in this movie, but it’s hard to notice them when the screen is almost always filled with Cruise’s toothy smile, flowing hair or muscular body. If ever there was a star vehicle, this is it.

Our hero, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is unbelievably charming, but grins stupidly throughout. No wonder the bad guys want to kill him. Dougray Scott, who provides a surprisingly solid performance, plays the double crossing villain Sean Ambrose. However, any actor who could contain his laughter while shooting these foolish scenes deserves an Oscar. Thandee Newton plays Nyah Hall, an untalented jewel thief who provides the romantic relief. She has two facial expressions: an all encompassing pout that carries her equally through gun fights and suicide attempts and her I’m-smiling-at-Tom-Cruise grin.

Much like the first installment in this franchise, the characters have an annoying tendency to rip off realistic masks at dramatic points to reveal another person. This gratuitous mask use doesn’t fool the audience; it’s obvious who’s underneath. If this stunt was pulled only once or twice, there might have been some suspense.

Dialogue in this movie is useless, even nonexistent in parts. For an extended period of time towards the end of the film, no conversation takes place–only actors grunting, background music soaring and motorbikes growling. Sadly, this is the best dialogue in the movie.

Even if you ignore the bad plot, laughable acting and crazy writing, as long as a film has thrilling fight and chase sequences, it’s worth its salt as an action movie. However, although director John Woo is popular in this genre, he fails with Mission: Impossible 2. Woo seems to enjoy the "violence as dance" motif, and overuses it. A car chase between Hall and Hunt, where the two flirt by driving cars off cliffs, is preposterous. Still, not as stupid as playing chicken on motorbikes.

In most of the fight scenes, the man doing the hitting looks like he’s hurting himself more than his opponent. The fancy flips, kicks and dodges would look slicker if the attacker didn’t fall flat on his back or directly on his head afterwards.

Woo also over employs the slow motion sequence. They looked cooler in The Matrix, a movie Mission: Impossible 2 blatantly rips off. Although, maybe the slow motion wasn’t such a bad idea. The full, wavy locks of the two leading men blowing in the wind was good for laughs. How do they keep it so full of body on such a tight, demanding schedule?

Will Tom Cruise divulge the name and phone number of his hairdresser? Will he lose the shit-eating grin? Will this franchise ever produce a decent movie? Or, is it all just mission: impossible?

Mission: Impossible 2 will begin wasting movie-goers’ money May 24.

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