Director: John Woo
I loved the opening sequence, the music,.. and Tom Cruise was just badass cool!
Mission: Impossible 2 came out a bit long after the first film. 4 Years later to be exact. They wanted something that would separate it from the first film AND from films like James Bond. So they set out to reinvent Ethan Hunt, and went for straight-up big summer blockbuster action. I remember reading an interview once about Tom Cruise and how he basically sits down with his team, and comes up with every single element he would want on a project; scenes, character moments, action sequence, set pieces, plot element, etc. So basically he’d give the writers all these elements to come up with a story and script. It makes sense to me. In making a film or writing a screenplay, often creators look to other films and scripts; some of their inspirations for what they’re doing, and they take all the elements and moments they love, and they recreate these elements in a new way for a new story.
I think Tom Cruise wanted something to raise the stakes in the second film and decided on a love interest. Ethan, doing all these impossible things, would have to now consider the life of someone specific. I think he wanted moments where his character would have to make difficult choices regarding his mission in relation to the love interest, to cause tension. Oh the tragedy!
He picked John Woo as the director, so he also played to Woo’s sensibilities; action set around a lot of dramatic tension. Many of Woo’s films have these slow-mo, drawn out action sequences that make the star look super cool, and the sense that the scene was very heavy. All of Woo’s trademarks are in this film. His trademark dove, …
…. the slo-mos that I mentioned, and those crazy over the top action sequences, like all the ones with motorcycle gymnastics; …..
…. the drama, double-fisted gun totting, and aerial gun-slinging dives while shooting off both guns, etc. Even Cruise’s mannerisms in some scenes seem to evoke some Hong Kong action film heroes. I know for a fact that the end hand-to-hand fight scene, Cruise expressed to Woo, that he was going for a very Bruce Lee feel. And you can tell, from the music change, adding some drums; the fighting sequence that seemed to match the famous fight scene in Enter the Dragon, with the foots sweep and kicks, and when he gets slashed in the face,..
… and the dancing around like a boxer; doing his best Bruce Lee yell, and facial expressions during a particularly strenuous attack, ending with a high-flying dramatic kick, putting the villain down.
When I saw this film, I fell in love. For me, it hit all the right notes!
The music, was sooooo good! Probably one of the reasons why I love Hans Zimmer so much. I have worked out to the track “Injection,” it’s awesome, and one of my favorite scores EVER!
It’s so dramatic and beautiful, and tragic, when you recall the scenes where they were used.
Oh, and also love the Limp Bizkit track, Take a Look Around!
Also, the characters, were great. So classic. Dougray Scott played such an awesome villain
….. and Thandie Newton, was so perfect in her subtle and understatedness.
On top of that,.. Cruise’s character was like a comicbook action hero come to life, specifically, one of my favorite comicbook characters, Grifter, a.k.a. Cole Cash from Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.s!
This film was probably one of my favorite action films for a long long time! I still love it,.. but, did it hold up in 2015? Yes, I guess so, I suppose some of the ridiculousness of the action sequences aren’t all that different from say some of the stuff we see in modern-day Fast and Furious films. In fact, because Cruise insists on doing his own stunts, and seemingly to have as much practical effects as possible, that the film does hold up, cause the effects are solid, and not dated by old technology.
Not a perfect film, but one of my favorites!
What’s John Woo up to these days? Looks like he’s stayed away from Hollywood.