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1/31/12

MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE II - REVIEW


A lot has been said about M:I 2.

Most of it... not good.

And yet it's always the first film that springs to mind when I think back to Tom Cruise's blockbusting franchise. The long hair, the motorbike, the slow-motion: THAT'S the ego-trip I'm talkin' about! Brian De Palma's slow-burning, tense first film and J.J. Abram's high-octane second sequel both great but somehow not quite as memorable as John Woo's overblown, over the top, super silly effort.

And boy is it silly.

From the offset, it's clear that The Cruiser has taken the idea of the ego-trip to a whole new level. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Cruise couldn't climb a mountain by himself, without any safety equipment whatsoever and I'm not saying that this isn't a fun way to spend one's vacation but...

Ok I'm saying that.

But I like when he throws his sunglasses at us!

In cornea-splittin' 2D!

This Mission:Impossible outing really is a guilty pleasure. It's all completely absurd and overblown but in a good way. So what if the film uses slo-mo like it means something? So what if Ethan Hunt shows off his radical circus-style bike-riding moves in the middle of an intense chase? And so what if it all ends in a fistfight so manly it makes Chuck Norris look like a Care Bear? (the pink one)

It's all great: tons of fun.

What it lacks, besides subtlety, is a truly great villain because Angry Scottish Guy (aka Dougray Scott) just doesn't cut it. He wears Tom Cruise's face well though, gotta give him that. Thandie Newton does a good job, it's just a shame that, as great a thief as she is (or so we're told), she's reduced to a damsel in distress (and a walking disease) for the bulk of the film. The cool supporting cast also includes Anthony Hopkins, Ving Rhames and Brendan Gleeson, all very welcome.

There are some classic moments to cherish: the first mask reveal is inspired, the motorbike chase is delightfully nuts, the sight of Cruise bursting through a fiery doorway preceded by a lame CGI dove is iconic and the early car chase... ok forget that last part. It's kinda stupid. But still, John Woo has a ball with the whole thing and as wacky and OTT as it all is, it's just a heap of fun. Good, macho, nonsensical fun.

Pretty much on a par quality-wise with last year's Ghost Protocol (debatable), M:I 2 is by far the dumbest entry into the franchise (not debatable) but it's a must regardless. The good bits are great, the bad bits are funny, it's all good.

Impossibly entertaining.

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