Mission: Impossible II 0.0 stars

Mission: Impossible II movie poster

It was perhaps understandable, after the barbs from critics and stand-up comics alike over the plotline of the previous entry (not so much unfollowable as unswallowable), that the series might want to make a fresh start under another director: John Woo in place of the bilious Brian De Palma. It was perhaps less understandable to pick one who has a style so radically different, so distinctive, so idiosyncratic, so cheaply Hong Kong: the circling and swooping cameras, the continual down-shifts into slow-motion, the magnifying-glass closeups, the fluttering birds, the flying sparks, the firing of handguns while sliding across the floor or diving through the air. And it is still less understandable to have picked one who, in the plotline of his own Face/Off, set a new standard in plain, simple, and utter stupidity. If anything, he here surpasses it. Or at least the repeated false-face gimmick -- whereby an actor who is unmistakably Tom Cruise (for example) will suddenly peel off his mask in one clean computer-generated swipe, and reveal himself to be another cast member altogether -- surpasses the stupidity of the surgically swapped faces of Face/Off. And who can care whether these two stupidities, put together, add up to a Personal Obsession or a Pet Theme? With Thandie Newton, Dougray Scott, Ving Rhames, Anthony Hopkins. 2000.

Duncan Shepherd

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