ⓘ Mission: Impossible 2


ⓘ Mission: Impossible 2

Mission: Impossible 2 is a 2000 American action spy film directed by John Woo and produced by and starring Tom Cruise. The sequel to 1996 film Mission: Impossible, it is the second installment in the Mission: Impossible film series. It follows Ethan Hunt as he is recruited by the Impossible Missions Force to find and destroy a dangerous biological weapon called "Chimera" from rogue IMF agent Sean Ambrose with the help of his new girlfriend Nyah Nordoff-Hall.

Mission: Impossible 2 was released in theaters worldwide on May 24, 2000 to strong box office results, and grossed over $546 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2000, and was the highest-grossing film in the series for 11 years. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the action sequences, performances, direction, score and dramatic depth, but took issue with the plot, dialogue and pacing. It was followed by Mission: Impossible III in 2006.


1. Plot

Bio-chemical expert Dr. Vladimir Nekhorvich sends a message to the IMF for Ethan Hunt, an old friend of his, warning that his employer, Biocyte Pharmaceuticals, forced him to develop a biological epidemic to profit from its remedy. He arranges to meet with Ethan to deliver the Chimera virus, and its cure, Bellerophon. With Ethan on vacation and incommunicado, the IMF sends agent Sean Ambrose disguised as Ethan to meet Nekhorvich on a passenger plane. Ambrose goes rogue, killing Nekhorvich and stealing Bellerophon before his men destroy the plane.

IMF Commander Swanbeck informs Ethan of the circumstances of Nekhorvichs death and they determine Ambrose is responsible. Swanbeck tasks Ethan with recovering the virus and its cure, and has him recruit Nyah Nordoff-Hall, a professional thief presently operating in Seville, Spain. Nyah was recruited as a part of the team to trace Ambrose and his team and kill them since she is Ambroses ex-girlfriend. Ethan reluctantly convinces her to spy on Ambrose.

Ethan assembles his team, computer expert Luther Stickell and pilot Billy Baird, in Sydney, Australia, where Biocyte laboratories are located and Ambrose is staying. As Ethan stakes out Biocyte, Nyah rekindles her former relationship with Ambrose and relays information to Ethans team. At a horse racing event, Ambrose meets with Biocytes CEO, John C. McCloy. He shows McCloy a memory card video of Chimera affecting one of Nekhorvichs colleagues before blackmailing McCloy into cooperating with him. Nyah steals the cameras memory card and delivers it to Ethan. They learn that Chimera has a 20-hour dormant period before it causes death by mass destruction of the victims red blood cells. Bellerophon can only save the victim if used within that 20-hour window. When Nyah discreetly returns the memory card to Ambrose, he notices it is in the wrong pocket of his jacket.

Ethans team kidnaps McCloy to force him to give up Bellerophon. However, the only Bellerophon samples were taken by Nekhorvich, and are now in Ambroses hands. Ambrose has the cure, but does not have the virus; unbeknownst to him at the time, Nekhorvich injected himself with Chimera to smuggle it out of Biocyte. Ambrose plans to exchange a sample of Bellerophon to McCloy for a sample of Chimera. Ethans team breaks into Biocyte to destroy the virus before the exchange can take place. Ambrose, posing as Ethan, tricks Nyah into revealing the plan, then captures Nyah and raids Biocyte to secure the virus. Ethan is able to destroy all but one sample of Chimera before Ambrose intervenes, and a firefight ensues, culminating in the sample being dropped on the floor between Ambrose and Ethan. Ambrose orders Nyah to retrieve the sample; she instead injects herself with it, preventing Ambrose from simply killing her after she retrieved it for him. Nyah insists that Ethan kill her to destroy the virus but Ethan is unwilling to do so. Ambrose takes Nyah away as Ethan escapes from the laboratory.

Ambrose releases Nyah to wander the streets of Sydney in a daze, intending to start a pandemic. He offers to sell Bellerophon to McCloy in exchange for stock options, to make him Biocytes majority shareholder. He predicts that the price of Biocytes stock will skyrocket due to demand for Bellerophon after the Chimera outbreak. Ethan infiltrates the meeting and steals the remaining samples of Bellerophon. While Ethan is pursued by Ambroses men, Luther and Billy locate Nyah, who has wandered to a cliff side, intent on killing herself to prevent the eventual outbreak. Ethan kills Ambroses men but Ambrose chases him to a beach where Ethan defeats him in a brutal fistfight. With little time left on the 20-hour countdown, Luther reaches Ethan at the beach. As Ethan is about to give Luther the Bellerophon canister, Ambrose recovers and points a gun at Ethan. Ethan throws the canister to Luther and jumps away from Ambroses shot while kicking up a gun from the sand which he uses to finally kill Ambrose. Luther injects Nyah with the Bellerophon in time to cure her.

IMF clears Nyahs criminal record and Ethan starts his vacation with her in Sydney.


2. Production

According to screenwriter Robert Towne several action sequences were already planned for the film prior to his involvement and before the story had been written.

The studio expressed concern over the safety of shooting Ethan Hunt Tom Cruises entrance in the film, where he is free solo climbing in Moab, Utahs 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 the jump from one part of the cliff to another. Most of the scenes were also shot in Sydney, Australia.


2.1. Production Music

The films original score was composed by Hans Zimmer and features vocals performed by Lisa Gerrard. In addition, the film includes contemporary music such as Limp Bizkits rendition of Lalo Schifrins Mission: Impossible theme entitled "Take a Look Around" as well as Metallicas "I Disappear".

While Ethan is rock climbing during his vacation, Zap Mamas remixed version of "Iko Iko" plays on the soundtrack.


3. Release

In its North American opening weekend, the film grossed $57.845.297, ranking at #1. It held on to the No. 1 spot for three weekends. 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 highest-grossing film of 2000. It is John Woos highest grossing film of all time, surpassing Face/Off, and was the highest-grossing film in the Mission: Impossible series at the time of release, holding the record for eleven years before being surpassed by Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

Mission: Impossible 2 was released on VHS and DVD on November 7, 2000, with a rare Japanese LaserDisc release following on March 4, 2001 released extremely late in the formats life, with a potential North American release of this LaserDisc being cancelled in mid-2001. A Blu-ray release followed on June 3, 2008, and an Ultra HD Blu-ray version was released on June 26, 2018.


4. Critical reception

Mission: Impossible 2 received mixed reviews from critics. Praise was aimed at the action sequences, emotional depth, John Woos direction, Hans Zimmers musical score, and the performances of the cast, but gave negative attention to the convoluted plot, weak dialogue, departure from its source material, lack of substance and slow pacing, particularly the lack of action for the films first hour and a half. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes indicates the film was certified as "Rotten" with overall approval rating of 57% based on 143 reviews, with an average score of 5.9/10. The sites critical consensus reads, "Your cranium may crave more substance, but your eyes will feast on the amazing action sequences". Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 59 out of 100, based on 40 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, down from the first films "B+".

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 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 theres absolutely nada inside." Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader said that "no hero or villain winds up carrying any moral weight at all."

In a retrospective commentary in 2012, Brad Brevet noted the film has significant similarities in plot and themes to Alfred Hitchcocks 1946 film Notorious.

Mission: Impossible 2 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 2, and stars Cruise, Ben Stiller, and Woo.