A John Woo film
Starring: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Thandie Newton, Dougray Scott, Rade Serbedzija.
Ethan Hunt and his team of IMF agents are back to save the world from the latest madman on the run, Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott), an ex-agent who gets his hands on some nasty biological weapon and is looking to cash in by selling it to the highest bidder. The relationship between Hunt and Ambrose reminds you of that between Bond and Trevelyan in GoldenEye. And that's not the only place where the Bond similarities come across Ethan seems to have developed more of a lothario presence that's filled with Bond-like one-liners. With Tom "Johnny Charisma" Cruise returning as Hunt, you can almost hear the females in the audience sighing.
Hunt has a knack for attracting deviant females, and this time, it's no different. In order to nab Ambrose, Hunt enlists the services of the female super-thief, Nyah (Thandie Newton). Their exchanges are witty (including a sweet bathtub episode that displays Hunt at his smoothest) with enough of a sexual undercurrent to keep it cooking. But before you know it, the pair go all mushy on each other, as Hunt's desire to keep Nyah from harm's way affects his judgment, at times throwing his personal safety into jeopardy. Problem is, you're never fully convinced that these two are that crazy about one another. Sure they get it on, but to risk life and limb, you've gotta be convinced that they have something special.
In place of the double-crossing Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), Hunt's new IMF boss is the cool and curt Swanbeck (Anthony Hopkins). Swanbeck's lines were tailor-made for Hopkins, coming across as a veteran spy who knows what Hunt has to go through, but still isn't willing to take his crap.
It'll be interesting to see how Dougray Scott pulls of Ambrose, a decent baddie, but not anyone who'll knock your socks off. He's pretty much the evil version of Hunt. For someone who's as elusive and crafty as Ambrose is proclaimed to be, he's a bit too easily duped. The climatic showdown between Hunt and Ambrose ain't quite as crafty as Phelps and Hunt's finale in the first flick, but it's still solid stuff.
What does John Woo have up his sleeve to match the ultra-slick Chunnel sequence from the original M:I? How does a bad-ass, shoot-em-up, aerial acrobatic high-speed pursuit sound? And, as you'd gather from the trailer, Hunt gets plenty of time in this ten-page sequence to show off his motorcycle expertise. Rumor is that Tom Cruise did a lot of his own stunts in this flick, but some of the moves described in the script defy logic. Then again, with CGI, nothing really defies logic.
Hunt has more than a few new tricks up his sleeve. Aside from sporting a new do, Ethan has also developed quite the martial arts and acrobatic repertoire clearly added to his character to make him a better fit for the Woo approach. Luther (Ving Rhames) is back as the baddest computer hacker this side of Mafiaboy. And then there's the stoner agent, Billy, who, despite word to the contrary, is likely to be portrayed by the ever-zany Steve Zahn (Out of Sight, Happy, Texas). While his character doesn't really serve any purpose, he does bring some needed humor and offsets Hunt's tight-ass nature.
Thandie as Nyah is pure delight and Cruise is, well, Cruise. And that means some serious cool-guy posturing.
Make no mistake, this film has its cringe-inducing moments. If Hunt's super-cockiness doesn't bug you, the fact that Luther's computer won't work when he needs it will.