On this day in film history, sixteen years ago, Mission Impossible 2 was released to theaters. This sequel to the original finds Ethan Hunt in pursuit of a bioterrorist and former IMF agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) who is planning to unleash a powerful bioweapon named Chimera (which becomes fatal if not cured within 20 hours of exposure) while a pharmaceutical company will rake in a fortune by being the only group to possess the known cure: Bellerophon.
To help take this agent down, Ethan is forced to recruit a thief named Nyah Nordoff-Hall (who also happens to be Sean’s ex-girlfriend). Working together, they plan to seize and destroy the only samples of the virus and take the cure as well, but unfortunately, Sean is suspicious and while posing as Ethan, tricks Nyah into revealing everything (this is yet another example of how those lifelike masks can play a huge part in the Mission Impossible stories). In an insane turn of events, Nyah becomes infected with Chimera and Ethan has less than 20 hours to save her!! Will he make it? (You know he will, but naturally there is a lot of fighting and chasing to be done first, else this wouldn’t be a proper Mission Impossible movie).
I’ve heard from many friends that Mission Impossible 2 is the weakest film in the series, and I’m inclined to agree. It’s not that the stakes aren’t worthy of the franchise, it’s more that the entire film REEKS of “cinema circa-2000.” From the electric guitar riffs, to Ethan’s sunglasses, the overall style is severely dated, especially after 16 years. The original Mission Impossible (I feel) was only dated by it’s technology, but this first sequel, the camera angles, the music, everything is badly dated. Though, on a positive note, that opening climbing sequence with Ethan IS pretty cool.
This film also begins a brief pattern where Ethan’s hairstyle changes from one film to the next. First film: Ethan has short hair. This film: Ethan has long hair. Third film: Back to short hair. Fourth film: Long hair (sadly Rogue Nation broke the pattern because he kept the long hair in that one).
Thankfully, instead of signalling a downward trend, the series has only gone up from this point, and even though it IS the weakest film, it is still worth watching. -Bex
*image is the property of Paramount Pictures
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