Review Mission Impossible 2 is probably the worst action film ever made. No small claim in a world which has sired Universal Solidier: The Return and anything with Chuck Norris. Jimmy Gutterman & owen O'Donnell in 'Slipped Discs: The Worst Rock 'n' Roll Records Of All Time' wrote: (I'll subsitute records or albums were necessary) 'The criteria for being considered one of the worst films of all time are quite strict. The two elements are control and stature. The writer/director/actor must have at least passively condoned the project, and the work must be by a "major" writer/director/actor (any schlub can make a bad film).' Taking all this into account, Mission Impossible 2 must rank as the worst dreck. The fact that John Woo took the project says more about how dwarfed he is in Hollywood, than how a good a director he is. What we get here is almost a Woo parody as he uses shots, effects and images which have been copied by everyone since they saw Face Off. Personally, I thought Broken Arrow was the better movie, but we'll move on. Tom Cruise seems to be so pissed that he missed out on 'The Matrix', that he's decided to try and copy both the image and style of that movie and pass it off as his own. This might have worked if 'The Matrix' had been some small Czeckoslovakian picture, but we're talking about one of the biggest grossing films of all time. People saw it. So to try and re-appropriate it instead of bringing something new to the party makes him look foolish. But that's just the top of the liners. What about the film. M:I was a good film. Not great. It didn't run with the team concept much and failed to understand who in the cast the audience might actually like and would accept as being a bad guy (Jean Reno what were you thinking?). But if there were enough great moments, and everyone in the cast was given something resembling a character. M:I 2 dispenses with anything resembling characters and people to root for. Ethan Hunt is unrecognisable from the first outing. Poor old Ving Rhames is a shadow, vapour, wasted. John Polson is saddled with the worst piece of stereotyping this side of Love Thy Neighbour. Thandie Newton, luminous in Bertolucci's 'Besieged' is wallpaper here. Dougrey Scott does his best with a seriously awful and badly written role. Hopkins gets his pay check. Some of the visuals are OK. But lets face it, the opening shot is not actually that spectacular. Joe Brown climbing up the 'Old Man of Hoye' at Christmas. That was exciting. All Tom's doing here is reprising the opening titles of Star Trek V, which is never a good place to be. And on whose shoulders should we saddle the blame for this over budget over schedule piece of crap. Well we can start with Ron Moore and Brannon Bragga, Star Trek writing stalwarts who came up with the story, the most convoluted annoying and clichéd idea this side of Star Trek:Voyager (which Bragga Exec Produces - are we seeing a pattern people?) But the real criminal is Robert Towne. I mean has he not learned anything about his trade after nearly forty years in the business? If he'd bothered to read William Goldman's 'Adventures in the Screen Trade' he'd know that all screen plays are 'structure'. All three acts of it. Here we get a Bond like opening scene which give the audience what it wants, Cruise, then removes him in what they think is a fun way but actually shits in our faces. Then there is the aformentioned and pointless climbing sequence. We find out who the team is - two guys who'll probably sit around and make Tom look good for the whole film and your love interest. Of course Towne dresses it up in dialogue but that basically what you get. Then we get nearly half an hour of people sitting around having a chat. Now in most films this would be a good time for us to find out about our characters, who they are. What makes them tick. Got that in M:I. Here? Ooh lets talk about the mission A LOT. And get Thandie in some slick move which we think looks really sexy but is actually quite sad (which was a problem with Cruise then. Because he wore his marriage on his sleeve all the time you couldn't watch him falling in love without thinking 'I wonder if Nicole is watching this' - kind of like Andy watching Mel on Big Brother I.) When the film actually gets going nothing seems to work. You can't put your finger on why - then you realise - I don't care about the characters. In fact, I don't even know who they are really. I can't identify with any of them. There is no one to root for. This thing will probably resolve itself anyway -edge of the cliff. And they want to make another one. Madness. Can I have that job at Sight and Sound now please?
[Yes it's an old review of an old film. But I don't think you've read it before, it's a bit funny, and I'm too tired to think of anything original. Look back a few days to were there is a good bit with a cook book that Anthony 'Giles' Head edited. And a picture of Edwina Currie]