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Mission: Impossible 2 Mission: Impossible 2

Nobody does action films like Director John Woo.  Tom Cruise makes up for 1996's disappointing Mission Impossible with an exciting, if flawed, sequel.

Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is called by his boss (uncredited, Anthony Hopkins) from a rock climbing vacation in Utah, to go to Sydney, Australia so he can retrieve a deadly virus that was stolen by terrorists.

Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott - Ever After: A Cinderella Story) steals the Chinera virus from an Australian pharmaceutical company, hoping to make billions from its antidote.

Hunt is helped out by Nyah (Thandie Newton - Beloved) a beautiful jewel thief and ex-girlfriend of Ambrose.  She's to find Ambrose's hideout and the virus before it is let loose on the population.

Of course, Nyah and Hunt fall in love, so the two men not only are at odds over the stolen virus, but also the same woman.  It's an intriguing premise but, as lovely and photogenic as Newton is, there's no chemistry between her and Cruise.  In fact, whenever the plot relies on interaction between the characters the story drags; when the action takes over, its pretty good stuff.

Woo, who favors slow motion and still shots interspersed with action, pulls out all the stops.  His cameras circle speeding cars, hover above racing motorcycles, close in on explosions and freeze on a high flying kick to the face.

The scientist who discovered the virus says "Every search for a hero begins with what every hero requires, a villain."  As villains go, Scott is pretty good.  He sneers a lot and kills without remorse; a prerequisite for a bad guy.

One holdover from the original TV series that ran from the late 1960's to the early 1970's, is the use of disguises.  Masks and identities change here as quickly as their gun clips do.

Special effects are so realistic now, it is hard to tell what is an actual stunt and what is computer generated.  Cruise, who did most of his own stunts, is a believable action star - much to the determent of his acting, because no one in the film does much of that.

Except for a silly car chase with Nyah and Hunt, and an overlong ending, the action is the reason to see MI -2; and you won't be disappointed.

Mission: Impossible 2

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