Mission: Impossible II (marketed as M:I-2 and in the new Blu-ray release, Mission: Impossible 2) is a 2000 American action spy film directed by John Woo and starring Tom Cruise, who also served as the film's producer. It is the sequel to Brian De Palma's 1996 film Mission: Impossible and has Cruise reprising his role as agent Ethan Hunt of the IMF, a top-secret espionage and clandestine operation agency. The film is the second installment of the Mission: Impossible film series and was followed by Mission: Impossible III (2006), Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) .
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), while vacationing, is alerted by the IMF that someone has used his identity to assist Russian bio-chemical expert Dr. Vladimir Nekhorvich (Rade Serbedzija) of Biocyte Pharmaceuticals to enter the United States, but purposely crashed the commercial airliner en route. Nekhorvich, an old friend of Ethan, had forewarned the IMF of his arrival, planning to deliver a new virus, Chimera, and its cure, Bellerophon, both of which he was forced to develop by Biocyte, into the IMF's hands. With the crash of the plane, IMF is worried that the virus is out in the open, believing that rogue IMF agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) is behind the incident. IMF assigns Ethan to recover it. Ethan is told that he can use two members of his team to help him, but the third person to help him must be Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton), a professional thief presently operating in Seville, Spain, as she will be able to get close to Ambrose, being an ex-girlfriend.
After recruiting Nyah, Ethan meets his team--computer expert Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and pilot Billy Baird (John Polson) in Sydney, Australia, where Biocyte laboratories are located along with Ambrose's headquarters. As Ethan and the others stake out Biocyte, Nyah gets close to Ambrose and begins to find any information related to the Chimera virus. At a horse racing event, Ambrose quietly meets with Biocyte's CEO, John C. McCloy (Brendan Gleeson), and shows him a video of the Chimera virus affecting one of Nekhorvich's colleagues, taken from Biocyte, using the footage to force McCloy to cooperate with them. Nyah is able to pocket the video footage long enough to transfer it to Ethan and his team, who learn that the Chimera virus has a 20-hour dormant period before it causes death through mass destruction of the victim's red blood cells. Bellerophon can save the victim only if used within that 20-hour window.
The IMF team kidnaps McCloy and learns that Nekhorvich had actually injected himself with Chimera, the only way he could smuggle the virus from Biocyte, and had all the known samples of Bellerophon, now presently in Ambrose's hands. Ambrose has blackmailed McCloy to sell him the virus for £37,000,000 and promising to return the samples of Bellerophon. Ethan's team plans to break into Biocyte and destroy the virus. Ambrose, posing as Ethan, tricks Nyah into revealing Ethan's plan. Ambrose secures Nyah and prepares to raid Biocyte himself to secure the virus. Ethan is able to destroy all but one sample of the virus before Ambrose interrupts him, and a firefight ensues. Ethan learns that Ambrose is holding Nyah and stops firing, during which Ambrose orders Nyah to retrieve the last sample. When she does so, she injects herself with it, thus preventing Ambrose from simply killing her to get it. As Ambrose takes Nyah and Ethan escapes from the laboratory in the ensuing gun battle between Ambrose's men and Biocyte security, Ethan starts a 20-hour countdown before the virus takes over Nyah's body.
Ambrose opts to let Nyah wander the streets of Sydney in a daze, intending to trigger a Chimera pandemic in Australia and orders McCloy to effectively hand over enough control of Biocyte to make him the majority shareholder; Ambrose's plan is now to make a fortune when prices of Biocyte's stock skyrocket due to demand for Bellerophon. Ethan's team is able to locate and infiltrate the meeting, stealing the samples of Bellerophon while taking out many of Ambrose's men. Luther and Billy locate Nyah, who has wandered to a cliff side, intent on killing herself to prevent Chimera from spreading. As the two IMF agents bring Nyah to Ethan, he and Ambrose engage in a fist fight. With little time left on the 20-hour countdown, Ethan finally gains the upper hand over Ambrose and shoots him dead, and Luther injects Nyah with Bellerophon. IMF clears Nyah's criminal record, and allows Ethan to continue his vacation with her in Sydney.
- Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
- Dougray Scott as Sean Ambrose
- Thandie Newton as Nyah Nordoff-Hall
- Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell
- Richard Roxburgh as Hugh Stamp
- Roland Krönmeyer as Jon Tomson
- John Polson as Billy Baird
- Brendan Gleeson as John C. McCloy
- Anthony Hopkins as Mission Commander Swanbeck (uncredited)
- Rade Šerbedžija as Dr. Nekhorvich (as Radé Sherbedgia)
- William Mapother as Wallis
- Dominic Purcell as Ulrich
- Mathew Wilkinson as Michael
- Nicholas Bell as Accountant
- Cristina Brogers as Flamenco Dancer
- Kee Chan as Chemist
- Kim Fleming as Larrabee
- Sam J. Jones as Plane Passenger
- Tory Mussett (uncredited)
The studio expressed concern over the safety of filming Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise)'s entrance in the film, where he is free solo climbing in Moab, Utah's Dead Horse Point State Park. Cruise refused to drop the idea because he could not think of a better way to reintroduce the character. There was no safety net as he filmed the sequence, but he did have a harness. He tore his shoulder when performing Hunt's jump from one part of the cliff to another.
The first trailer to the film was released in November 1999 and was later shown before Pokemon: The First Movie.
- Main article: Mission: Impossible II (score)
The film's original score was composed by Hans Zimmer and features vocals performed by Lisa Gerrard. In addition, the film includes contemporary music such as Limp Bizkit's rendition of Lalo Schifrin's Mission: Impossible theme entitled "Take a Look Around" as well as Metallica's "I Disappear".
While vacationer Ethan is rock climbing, Zap Mama's remixed version of "Iko Iko" plays on the soundtrack. (Coincidentally, the same song, at that time performed by The Belle Stars, was used on the soundtrack of the opening scene of Barry Levinson's 1988 film, Rain Man, which also stars Tom Cruise.)
The film was a financial success. In its North American opening weekend the film grossed $57,845,297. The film eventually grossed $215,409,889 in its North American release and $330,978,216 in other territories, totaling $546,388,105 worldwide, the best performance of 2000.
Mission: Impossible II received generally mixed to positive reviews from film critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes indicates the film was certified as "Rotten" with overall approval rating of 57% based on 141 reviews, with an average score of 6/10. Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 60% based on 33 reviews.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said that "if the first movie was entertaining as sound, fury, and movement, this one is more evolved, more confident, more sure-footed in the way it marries minimal character development to seamless action." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly felt the film was a "throwaway pleasure" but also "a triumph of souped-up action." Ella Taylor of LA Weekly said that "every car chase, every plane crash, every potential drop off a cliff is a masterpiece of grace and surprise." Desson Howe of The Washington Post said that "[John] Woo [...] takes complete command of the latest technology to create brilliant action sequences." Lou Lumenick of the New York Post said, "Check your brains at the popcorn stand and hang on for a spectacular ride."
J. Hoberman of The Village Voice called the film "a vaguely absurd thriller filled with elaborately superfluous setups and shamelessly stale James Bond riffs." Dennis Harvey of Variety said the film is "even more empty a luxury vehicle than its predecessor" and that it "pushes the envelope in terms of just how much flashy packaging an audience will buy when there's absolutely nada inside." Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader said that "no hero or villain winds up carrying any moral weight at all."
Some fans considered Mission: Imposible II the darkest and weakest installment in the series, even though its predecessor received controversy over the fact Jim Phelps from the television series was revealed to be a traitor. While applauding Tom Cruise's performance and the fast-paced action scenes, many criticized the plot, dialogue, little resemblance to its source material and lack of substance. It was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards at the 2000 ceremony, including Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Supporting Actress for Thandie Newton.
A comedy short titled Mission: Improbable was shown during the 2000 MTV Movie Awards. It is a mockumentary of the behind-the-scenes stunts of Mission: Impossible II, and stars Tom Cruise, Ben Stiller and John Woo.
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