Mission: Impossible II
Director: John Woo
Writer: Robert Towne
Based on: The TV Series
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible
Cast: Tom Cruise, Thandie Newton, Dougray Scott, Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Serbedzija, William Mapother, Dominic Purcell
Seen on: 3.8.2015
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tasked with retrieving the stolen Chimera virus: a supervirus that kills within a short amount of time. To get it, he is supposed to recruit thief Nyah (Thandie Newton), but as it turns out not for her skill set but rather for the fact that she used to date Ethan’s former co-agent who is responsible for the theft of the virus, Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Ethan is uncomfortable involving Nyah in all of this, especially since he finds himself falling for her.
Holy fuck, I had forgotten how absolutely atrociously bad Mission: Impossible II is. It’s abysmal. It’s frankly astounding that they ever got to make another film in the franchise because this film was certainly bad enough to irrevocably kill it.
The first M:I film already wasn’t a film that was particularly good with its women. But M:I-2 is about 10 steps down from that. They barely have any women at all in the film. The film pretends that sexual tension comes from Hunt showing aggression towards Nyah. They establish that Nyah has an awesome skill set, but one she never really gets to use in any meaningful way. But all of that isn’t enough and it’s not even enough that Nyah becomes the passive damsel in distress. No, they even go so far as to turn her into a MacGuffin in distress, geared for ultimate Huntian manpain. It really is a staggering amount of sexism.
And it doesn’t help either that they thought the best way to frame the relationship between Ethan and Nyah would be to give them a flamenco theme and have them endlessly turning in circles around each other (literally) while staring meaningfully and silently at each other. I wanted to strangle somebody, preferably who responsible this, but I take what I can get.
But even apart from the sexism and the flamenco the film really has nothing to recommend it. The plot makes no sense whatsoever and you don’t even need to look closely at it to see all those plot holes. John Woo has a weird obsession with pigeons (the only fact that I remembered about the film before re-watching it) and slow motion. And it all culminates in one of the most uninspired, boring showdowns in the history of action cinema.
I knew that M:I-2 would be the nadir of my series re-watch, but I had honestly forgotten how low that point actually is. So low. So so so low. Should I ever re-watch the series again, I’m gonna skip it with vigour.