Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sit through the movie Mission: Impossible without wanting to kill one or more of the actors on the screen. The plot revolves around Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), the dashing and handsome young operative who has dedicated his life to saving the world. Things go terribly wrong for Hunt quite early on in the movie and we end up watching him try to save his name and reputation for the rest of the film.
The acting is stiff, mechanical and at times hardly believable. The majority of the cast is killed in the first half hour so we are left with Hunt and a few new friends that we never learn anything about. There is no character development. The good part about this movie is, of course, the special effects and the sound. There were moments when the sound was so powerful that you could almost feel it.
This is your typical spy thriller, complete with plot twists and suprises. Is it worth seeing on the big screen? Yes, but don't get your hopes up too high. And remember, if you or anyone in your party dies of either incredulity or boredom, the theatre will disavow any knowledge of your presence at the show.
The most impossible mission is putting someone you love in danger. This sort of cheese is all well and good, but it holds back Mission: Impossible 2 from being the great action movie that it could've been.
The first and final third portions of the movie are what make it worth watching. The first part sets the stage for the rest of the plot, which involves the acquisition of an highly destructive "chimeric" virus by an ex-IMF (Impossible Mission Force) agent, Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). This acquisition involves the first of many face changes seen in the film (which get tedious after a while) and culminates in a spectacular airplane crash. IMF star Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is then recruited while rock climbing in Utah to recruit Nyah Hall (Thandie Newton) (which he accomplishes by a car chase) and they both go after Ambrose to find out his true plans. This is when the movie really starts to slow down, as a lot of time is spent developing the emotional connection between Hunt and Hall and the risks Hall must take to earn the trust of Ambrose, who was her ex-lover. The final segment when Hunt and Ambrose both fight for control of the virus and the antidote is amazing, involving a great (albeit improbable) motorcycle chase sequence, the two motorcycles facing off each other, and a martial arts-style battle.
The film bears the distinctive and surrealist mark of Director John Woo: the choreographed ballet-style action sequences, the slow motion shots, the flying birds, and, of course, two-gun shootouts. Every time Woo does what he is best at, it is extremely thrilling to watch. However, he is clear not one to pick to direct any sort of a romance, and midway through the movie, one may well wonder "how did this turn into a syrupy love story"? Fortunately, the movie does leave Hall behind and focuses on the conflict between Hunt and Ambrose.
Cruise is a great actor, but there are times here when he clearly does not seem to be into the role. Thandie Newton smiles and looks great (which is all she needs to do). The actors playing the villains in general are terrible, and Ving Rhames is terribly under used. Aside from the romantic interlude, this movie is bogged down by the weak villains, neither of whom are convincing or threatening in any manner (and this, like the comments made repeatedly about the virus and the cure, reflects on how the hero is perceived).
There are some funny tongue-in-cheek statements, from the desire to acquire stock options instead of money, to a description by Ambrose of Hunt's modus operandi. The music is pretty good, including the classic theme song composed by Schifrin. The film gives up on the 4/4 version of the theme performed by Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton of U2 (which Sting once called "crap") and while the version here (performed by Limp Bizkit) isn't as good as the original, it still is better than one in Mission: Impossible. The gadgetry used is cool, though it is always amusing to see things like a "scanning electron microscope" or cells invading each other.
Mission: Impossible 2 is a great film and does have the provocative idea of a pharmaceutical company creating a disease just so it can profit by selling the cure at monopolistic prices. I highly recommend checking it out on the big screen.