Losing My Virginity: Mission Impossible II


[Losing My Virginity articles are reviews written by someone who still hasn’t seen an incredibly popular movie after all these years. LMV reviews are interesting in that they can offer the perspective of a person who’s untainted by the cloud of commonness that surrounded a famous film of the past, and also show how well it has stood the test of time.]

Last week, I chose to accept a very important mission: watch the first three Mission: Impossible films in preparation to see the latest installment, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. The mission, though daunting, was largely a success. Due to an unfortunate series of circumstances, primarily holes appearing in the space-time continuum, I found myself out of time to review the first three films before posting Ghost Protocol. After a globe-trekking adventure with a crack team of top men, I am finally able to present you with my take on the whole damn Mission: Impossible franchise. We’ve gone from an excellent film with Mission: Impossible that saw such sights as a four-man team break into Langley and a climax on the top of a train that has a flipping helicopter tethered to it in what may be the world’s longest tunnel to a film that will take us straight into the heart of darkness. Kiss your families good bye, get into the chopper, and join me as we delve into the most ludicrously action-packed two hours in the franchise with Mission: Impossible II.

Plot: Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott), a former IMF agent who used to impersonate Ethan Hunt for some reason infiltrates a plane disguised as Hunt and abducts a bio-chemist. Then we find the real Ethan Hunt free-climbing a giant mountain because why not, and upon reaching the top some IMF guys find him and give him a new mission: stop the Ambrose from releasing the bio-chemist’s virus, known as “Chimera.” How, exactly, is he supposed to stop him? By convincing Ambrose’s professional thief ex-girlfriend Nyah (Thandie Newtown in one of the most boner-inducing roles of her career) to pretend to get back together with him and be IMF’s eyes on the inside. That’s about it, really as the rest of the movie is a blur of John Woo-isms. 

Team quality: Meh. Ving Rhames’ Luther is back, of course, but since he’s in each film I can’t include him in the rankings after the first film. Nyah is smokin’ hot but I’ll go on about her below. That leaves pilot Billy Baird (John Poulson, director of Swimfan and Hide and Seek). He wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t very good. He was just kind of blah. Also he directed Hide and Seek. Sigh.

Babe quality: I would put a ring on it. How did I not realize until watching Mission: Impossible II last week that Thandie Newton should’ve been in all of my teenage self’s wet dreams? Holy crap, she exudes sexuality in this film and I’d posit that’s largely in part to the fact that she’s rocking rock-hard nipples for a large part of it. Grossness aside, Newton’s Nyah is a gorgeous, capable woman who kicks her own fair amount of ass and is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. She was the silver lining in an overly adrenaline-fueled cinematic endurance contest.

Villain quality: Meh. Dougray Scott was a very blah villain. He used to work for IMF and impersonate Ethan Hunt sometimes (which I guess they use to explain why he had an Ethan Hunt mask?) but now he just wants to make millions on the stock market once Chimera is released unto the world and people give all of their monies to Biocyte, who will be the only company with the cure, or whatever. On the bright side, at least Sean Ambrose has an evil plan and isn’t just betraying his country because he’s disillusioned like Jon Voight in the first film. On the other hand, however, Jon Voight had way more charisma and is also Jon Voight.

Best part: Thandie Newton. I’ve pretty much said all I can say about Ms. Newton without slapping a Parental Advisory warning on this article, so I decided to just post another picture of her to make my point for me.

Worst part: The climax. I haven’t seen a lot of John Woo’s movies (mainly just Face/Off and Paycheck), but I know his trademarks: lots of bullets, ridiculous stunts, and doves. This movie had all of that and then some. It started out a little goofy, with Cruise free-climbing a giant mountain in the desert. The shootout over the last remaining vial of Chimera? That was dope. Then the last half hour or so (it feels like it was so much longer) happened. At one point, there were a bunch of pigeons chillin’ out as Tom Cruise infiltrates Ambrose’s evil lair and I joked that they were standing in for the doves. Then, there’s one lone dove. I started laughing so hard I almost peed my pants. Then, Hunt blows open the door to the bad guy’s inner sanctum and the most ridiculous thing happens (so far, mind you): the dove flies across the door way as Hunt strides by in slow-mo, looking in at the bad guys. Does he go in, jump through the air, and fire a hail of bullets? No. He just swaggers by, taunting them. I was flabbergasted. In the fourteen or so months I’ve written for this site, I don’t think I’ve ever used ‘flabbergasted.’ Anyway, that moment is about when you can shut your brain off because it’s going to only get sillier. The rest of the movie is a blur of machismo, doing endos on motorcycles, and manly grunting. Mission: Impossible has a ludicrous climax, but it was the fun kind. Mission: Impossible II was agonizing. I described it to my trusty sidekick Sidekick Pat concisely: “It’s like a little kid playing with action fingers in the sandbox directed this.” Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against John Woo, but two dudes endo-ing towards each other on motorcycles then jumping off of them and grappling in midair? Ugh.


Is Mission: Impossible II a bad film? No, not by a long shot. Is it the weakest installment in the series? Certainly. One super-hot chick is not enough to make up for a weak villain (especially compared to the next installment’s bad guy), a groan-inducingly ridiculous and lengthy climax, and Tom Cruise’s hair. But that’s okay because the next film is markedly better on all accounts! See you tomorrow!