Following on from the set pieces in the first big-budget, big box-office MI in 1996, it's clear (as Towne confirms) that the plot was developed around Woo- and Cruise-written action sequences. The film combines equal elements of romance and action, and is best when it features the stunning allure of Thandie Newton as Nyah, a master thief recruited by the sinewy charms of Ethan Hunt (a fit Cruise). Deeply in love after a passionate night, the couple must then combat MI nemesis (and Nyah's former lover) Sean Ambrose (Ever After's Dougray Scott). Ambrose holds hostage a virus and its cure, and offers them to the highest bidder.
Woo's famed mythic film making is far from subtle, with heroic Hunt frequently slow-motion walking through fire, smoke or other similar devices, replete with a white dove among pigeons to signal his presence. The emphasis on romance is an attempt to develop character and a more human side to superspy Hunt, but still the story proves a distraction from the exciting action sequences. John Polson (as an MI team member) is an Aussie talent to keep an eye on. --N.F. Mendoza
M:I-2 DVD Extra Features
With more and more DVDs coming out with an extra DVD full of features at a slightly more expensive price, it's nice every so often to see a disc that offers not only a great movie, but a bundle of features on it as well.
The M:i-2 DVD does just this, and features not only the widescreen presentation, but also a number of behind-the-scenes footage, a spoof documentary, breakdowns of some of the stunts and even a music video to boot.
Although the breakdown of scenes has that "Tom really did do it all, honest" feel to it, some of the elements are genuinely interesting. The biggest surprise of all though is the inclusion of the six-minute spoof documentary that was done for the MTV awards with Ben Stiller. All in all, a well presented disc and set of extra features. --Stuart Miles
The film's plot is, thankfully, much less complicated than the first film, which makes it easy to follow. The tone of the film is set stylishly with the much loved M:I genre, Tom Cruise being told he has a new mission while in the middle of a desert.
The plot has an original idea, but one that is drummed into viewers' heads constantly throughout the film, to the point of grating. It also drags on for far too long. Though the various plot twists just about cover it, the chase and fight between Hawke and Scott's character is hard to enjoy fully because it is too long, and we have already seen endless similar action. The sensual scenes between Scott and Newton are never really effective because they don't go anywhere.
The characters are interesting enough, but again, nothing extraordinary, and the use of masks becomes increasingly ludicrous as the agents begin donning masks that they could not possibly have had.
On the other hand, the movie's secret agent genre is deliciously enjoyable, and promotes a sort of futuristic James Bond feel to it.
The film itself is satisfactory, with many positive features, but it does have too much unneccessary padding and is often completely unrealistic. It may be good, but not half as good as the original.
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