Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)

Genre: Action and Spy Running Time: 2 hrs. 3 min.

Release Date: May 24th, 2000 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: John Woo Actors: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Serbedzija, William Mapother, Dominic Purcell




t Biocyte Pharmaceuticals in Sydney, Australia, Dr. Vladimir Nekhorvich (Rade Serbedzija) has created Chimera, a potent virus that he injects into himself, creating a 20-hour window before he reaches the point of no return. After he boards a plane to Atlanta with his good friend Dimitri at his side, a sudden drop in cabin pressure forces the oxygen masks to drop – which is actually part of an elaborate plan by former IMF operative Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) and his criminal buddy Hugh Stamp (Richard Roxburgh) to steal the antidote (named Bellerophon), which the doctor also carries, before escaping and then crashing the plane into the side of the Rockies. Once the bioweapon is in the wrong hands, there’s only one man capable of stopping them.

And that man is IMF Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), who is assigned to retrieve Chimera before it can be used to destroy the world. He must select two additional team members (Luther Strickell [Ving Rhames] and Billy Baird [John Polson]) to help, plus expert thief Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton), whom he locates in Seville, Spain. But even the act of recruiting Nyah is fraught with danger – or idiotic oneupmanship, as the two race sporty cars along a vertiginous mountaintop in a seductive dance of daredevilry (not unlike James Bond’s automotive flirtation in “GoldenEye”).

With director John Woo at the helm, Ethan Hunt has essentially turned into a duplicate of 007 – starting with cocky recklessness, sex with the conspicuously attractive specialist, and then a cross-country adventure to save the planet. This plot is extremely far from original. Even with a considerable budget, a dependable action hero, and a standard premise for high-stakes spy games, Woo’s distinct, trademark additives tend to get in the way of straightforward excitement. Torturous abuse of slow-motion, a few too many birds, and the expected yet absurdly repetitive misuse of face mask disguises constantly work to disrupt more faithful routines.

The surveillance, reconnaissance, and infiltration measures have become slightly more believable, while the stunts – though limited – are also more earthbound. The overly confusing triple-crosses from the previous theatrical episode have comparably decreased; overall, this sequel is easier to follow and less outlandish. Even the technology is smarter, acknowledging satellite limitations, upgrading to self-destructing glasses rather than tapes, and focusing on modern notions of viral warfare. But the decision to repeat a rappelling exploit from the first film is silly rather than an effective homage, while the notion that both the antagonists and protagonists have masks (and voice-matching devices) of one another (as well as other useful associates) is downright nonsensical.

Despite the obnoxiously overdramatic nature of several sequences (and a weird need for Hunt to do extra flips and flourishes during fights and escapes, as if he’ll appear more awe-inspiring for them – instead of bizarre), there are still a number of amusing moments of action and a modestly competent emotional interaction or two. But Woo’s desire to keep pigeons at the ready and to employ slow-motion at all the wrong times weighs heavily on the potency of the climax. And the stunts grow exponentially more destructive and gratuitously intricate, culminating in laughably macho showdowns, a very pitiful flashback, and even more laughably macho showdowns.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10

The Mission: Impossible Franchise

Mission: Impossible (1996)

Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)

Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)