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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 11/10/00

Mission: Impossible 2
2000 (2000) - Paramount

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Mission: Impossible 2 Film Rating: B

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/A

Specs and Features

123 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch 1:10:07, in chapter 9), Amaray keep case packaging, audio commentary with director John Woo, Behind The Mission: The Making of M:I2 featurette, Mission Incredible stunt featurette, Impossible Shots (11 action segments broken down with interviews, storyboards and behind-the-scenes footage), I Disappear music video by Metallica, alternate title sequence, Mission Improbable spoof from the 1999 MTV Movie Awards, DVD-ROM material (including agent dossiers, mission locations, files on the legend of Chimera and the IMF gadgets and weblinks), animated film-themed menu screens with sound effects and music, scene access (17 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (DD 3.0), subtitles: English, Closed Captioned

"This is not Mission: Difficult, Mr. Hunt. It's Mission: Impossible. Difficult should be a walk in the park for you."

Ya know, I have no idea why any legitimate film critic would have a problem with Mission: Impossible 2 (or M:I2 is it will henceforth be called). Plot-wise, right from the start, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) answers the question, "It can't be that simple?" with "Why not?" Why not, indeed. The plot here is so simple that it could have been pulled from a kindergarten filmmaking class project. It won't take long to dissect right here. What if a rogue spy from IMF seized a powerful laboratory-created superflu that already had a vaccine and sold it to the highest bidder? If that superflu could kill in 27 to 34 hours, then the vaccine would be worth millions, maybe even billions. If a handful of innocent people get it, then the disease makes world news and everyone lines up to inoculate themselves. Whoever held the virus and the vaccine would be kings of the world. That's the story folks. But it's a frickin' action movie. Just because Robert Towne scripted it doesn't mean it's going to be Chinatown 3: The Two Jakes and a Baby. Still, it's an action movie with a very high pedigree. And if you go in and expect a super story, then I guess you're going to walk away with a serious mad-on, because what I wrote above is it.

John Woo, visual poet and bullet maestro, directs and gives us what he promises - a romantic action film. Tom Cruise makes love to the camera and yes, I wish I had his hair. He also makes sweet, sweet love to Thandie Newton and yes, I wish I WAS Tom's hair. Man, she's a cutie. The acting is all good, with Dougray Scott playing the baddie, Ving Rhames reprising his computer expert (Luther) role and Anthony Hopkins showing up to wrap his accent around some juicy one-liners. And guess what - the whole thing works. This is in no way a great movie, nor is it a bad movie. Don't listen to anyone who tries to flush it. It's not "under-written" as I've seen one critic put it. It's... an... action... film, fer christsakes. You will sit on the edge of your seat from start to finish, gasping at some of the stunts in this film. And you'll enjoy this film if you accept the fact that it's just a movie and not a bid to change the cinematic world for the better. It's a glorious piece of eye-candy wrapped in a shiny wrapper and set upon a paper plate, meant to be eaten after a nice meal of potato salad and hot dogs. Don't give it any delusions of grandeur and it won't disappoint you. There you go - short, sweet and to the point.

So how's it do on DVD? Pretty well, actually. First off, the disc features a very solid anamorphic transfer, with deep blacks and bold bright colors. Detail is sharp without being edgy and there's nary an artifact to be found. It's a very pleasing picture. The sound is also pretty swell. Featuring a Dolby Digital 5.1 track (as well as a French Surround), M:I2 is bold and brash in the audio department, with a soundtrack that serves the film nicely. The bass thumps, the electronica swings and the expositions rock the foundation.

But this Paramount DVD is even cooler because it's a special edition (gasp!). First up, we get some sweet film-themed menu screens with full-blown animation and sound. Not an extra, but pretty much a first for Paramount. There's also a fun commentary track with director John Woo. He's animated, thrilled and talks a mile a minute. Sometimes he's hard to decipher, but his English is good enough that you catch on quick. Not quite film school in a box, but fine for what it is. There's also a couple fluffy featurettes, one on the making of the film and one on the stunts. Most are wax jobs for Cruise, but they sometimes shed serious light on the filmmaking process. And there's still more. 11 scenes are broken down through interviews, storyboards and behind-the-scenes footage, there's Metallica's weak video for I Disappear and (best of all) the tongue-in-cheek MTV Movie Awards short with Ben Stiller as Tom's stunt double Tom Croose. There's even a boatload of DVD-ROM material and an alternate opening credit sequence that wasn't used for the film. All in all it's a pretty impressive disc from Paramount. It may be run of the mill compared to the SE stuff Fox and Warner are doing, but it's a welcome change of pace from the Mountain.

M:I2 isn't going to win any Best Picture Oscars, but for a summer movie, it kicks much ass. I'm a big fan of this one, because it's the perfect mindless Summer action film. Check your brain at the door and get ready for a fun movie going experience. The DVD is also nifty - maybe not perfect, but a good way to kill a few hours. This is a damn good disc for a damn fine action film. Check it out.

Todd Doogan
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