Mission: Impossible 2
Reviewed by Scott Marshall
Rating: 9 Beans
hy, Tom Cruise? What did I ever do to you?
Didnít I defend you in EYES WIDE SHUT when
everyone else was calling it a big stinking bore?
Didnít I admire your performance in JERRY
MCGUIRE? Didnít I respect you for MAGNOLIA?
Why would you take that trust, grab it by the
throat, slap it like a bitch, and drop-kick it like
Sure, I should have known better. The first
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE film blew chunks, after
all, with its over-reliance on weak plot devices
and camera tricks. But it was directed by Brian
DePalma, so it was worth a chance, right?
Which brings me to my next question:
Why, John Woo, why?? Why do you keep
plundering your best Hong Kong movies to
make shitty American movies? And why the hell
do I keep going to them? I thought the
butchering of THE KILLER for FACE/OFF was a
new low, but this was the worst yet. The
slow-motion, the endless clips of 9mm rounds,
the motorcycle chase, the fight on the beach..
and whatís up with putting Enya so high in the
sound mix instead of the normal foley effects? I
kept waiting for one of Cruiseís bullets to go
astray and wound a flamenco guitarist
off-camera, or maybe that dove that kept
following him around.
Seriously, if the film had rolled at normal speed
the whole time instead of the constant
slow-downs, this movie would have topped out
at maybe 65 minutes instead of 130. That way
the 15 minutes of plot would not seem quite so
stretched. Which brings me to my next
Why, Robert Towne, why??? Youíre one of the
most respected screenwriters in Hollywood,
with films like CHINATOWN under your belt! Did
you write this screenplay on a bet, or during a
really long phone call? Did you owe somebody
money because of bad investments in a
restaurant chain? Did you think that no one
would notice the incredible number of times that
someone in MI-2 pulls off their face to reveal that
they are not who we thought they were? Should
we conclude that perhaps Ethan did not actually
win the final battle, or that Tom Cruise actually
played every role in the film?
Of course, the truth is that youíre a script doctor
these days, with more uncredited jobs on your
resume- many of them very good films- than
credited ones. So maybe the blame actually
lies with Brannon Braga and Ronald Moore,
whose previous story experience lies in the
STAR TREK: TNG movies. Maybe they handed
you an outline and said "make it work, Robert,
because we sure as hell canít." At least they
didnít put in the Riker Maneuver.
This movie crawls like Howard Hughes in the
desert. It is one of those sad cases where all
the best bits are in the trailer. Stretched out to
feature length, I was reminded of a much
higher-budget (but no more action-packed)
remake of MITCHELL starring Joe Don Baker.
On a side note, my sincere condolences to the
good people of Australia, who once again get
the bad end of a trade: they give us Thandie
Newton, all grown up and sexy since FLIRTING;
and we give them the primary location for this
movie. Thatís got to hurt.
I did not have high expectations, and MI-2
couldnít even meet the ones I had. The only
reason I went- literally, the ONLY reason- was
because Woo was directing; but thanks to this
and FACE/OFF, I have got to stop encouraging
the man. The international box office action
movie formula may work for the bottom line but it
is murder on the senses. Instead of satisfying
the mind, the eye, and the gut which would
normally respond viscerally to action, this film is
like the chinese food you get at the food court in
your local mall: bland, processed, and nothing
like the real thing. It may seem exotic in Iowa,
but once youíve had authentic Chinese, itís
almost better to go without than to choke down
Hong Kong Helper.
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