Mission: Impossible Flashback Part Two – “The Mother Of All Nightmares”


With the release of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation just around the corner, Donna Kelly takes a look back at the Mission: Impossible series that has spawned five films grossing more than $2 billion worldwide for ScreenRelish.

Yesterday we took a look back at Brian De Palma’s Mission: Impossible. The original movie was a critical and commercial success and the third highest-grossing film of 1996. No surprise then that director John Woo had a lot to live up to with the release of Mission: Impossible II.

Mission: Impossible II (2000) sees Tom Cruise reprise his role as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. The plot centres around a genetically created disease called ‘Chimera’. Hunt leads his IMF team on a mission to retrieve and destroy the deadly disease but a former IMF agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) has already managed to steal the cure called ‘Bellerophon’ and now needs ‘Chimera’ to complete his grand plan of infecting the whole world. With time running out, Hunt must destroy the disease before the terrorists get their hands on it and find the cure to save his love interest Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton), who has already become infected.

Disappointingly, Mission: Impossible II is considered by critics and fans to be the darkest and weakest installment in the series. Despite its strong thematic similarities with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 spy thriller Notorious, the film boasts barely any plot to speak and was described as “confusing”, “insulting” and “Mission: Implausible” by most movie critics.

On the plus side, Mission: Impossible II boasts plenty of Bond-esque gun battles, high-speed chases and fast-paced action sequences. Director John Woo brings his own blend of Hong Kong-style martial arts to the film, commanding the latest technology (and doves) to create some amazing slow motion action sequences. Along with the climatic fight scene, one of the best sequences in the film is the jaw dropping opening in which Cruise hangs off the edge of a cliff. Cruise insisted on doing the majority of the cliff work himself, with director John Woo reportedly too scared to look through the viewfinder. A true masterclass in how to start your blockbuster film with a bang. Check it out below:

Despite its mixed reviews in the press, Mission: Impossible II was a financial success, grossing $546,388,105 worldwide, the best performance of 2000. No wonder Tom and the team came back with a third instalment…

Join us tomorrow for look back at Mission: Impossible III.

This feature was originally written for ScreenRelish