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Mission: Impossible 2

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Tom Cruise wonders why he didn't invest in Blue Blockers.

2000, Paramount Pictures
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It's a tale as old as time. The all around good guy meets the right girl at the wrong time, in the wrong place and almost kills himself (either literally or through emotional turmoil) trying to make it work. "Mission: Impossible 2" (Imdb listing) once again revives this blockbuster formula that has proven successful for Tom Cruise in such movies as "Top Gun," "Cocktail," "Days Of Thunder" and "Jerry Maguire." Apparently a smart move, if one believes "M:i-2's" box office numbers, which already top $100 million worldwide since the May 25 release.

This may not be the story one would expect to find at the center of an action packed super-agent drama directed by John Woo. But Cruise once again pulls off the impossible. He makes women swoon in their theater seats with his rugged-but-still-oh-so-gorgeous looks in those tight, black jeans, the leather jacket and three-day stubble, while the movie's action sequences are bound to elicit one-syllable declarations of awe from male viewers.

Secret agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is summoned to Seville, Spain, by his boss (Anthony Hopkins), when he chooses to accept yet another impossible mission. Hunt and his team have to track down former-agent-turned-bad-guy Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott), who is in the possession of both a chemically engineered virus, Chimera, that methodically destroys the cells of the human body after 20 hours in the bloodstream, and it's counteragent. The task: to relieve Ambrose of these priceless possessions and bring back a sample for the good guys.

The 'in' is Nyah Hall (Thandie Newton), Ambrose's former girlfriend and an internationally renowned thief. At first a reluctant recruit, she quickly discovers her undying (and of course reciprocated) love for super agent Hunt and agrees to help out by making up with Ambrose and providing the good guys with inside intel.

As the plot thickens and takes a few interesting and some rather predictable turns, John Woo gets down to business. The director, infamous for his action sequences (most recently in films such as "Broken Arrow" and "Face/Off"), blatantly shows off his talents and blasts the audience away with an array of impressive explosions, incredible stunts, almost impossible fight scenes, and ingenious spy-maneuvers.

The "M:i-2" cast pulls off a fine set of performances; from Cruise, who has the inadvertent-sex-symbol thing down to an art, to Ving Rhames (returning as team member Luther Stickell), who was last seen in "Out Of Sight" and "Entrapment." British actress Thandie Newton, who already worked with Cruise in "Interview with a Vampire," also has some noteworthy moments. Most notably though is Dougray Scott. The Scottish actor, vividly remembered as the Prince Charming in "Ever After," does a completely convincing 180, portraying the perfectly horrible, evil-to-the-core Ambrose.

At times walking a thin line between emotional chick flick and hard-core action thriller, "M:I2" comes out a winner by mixing up that dependable blockbuster formula with Woo's action expertise. And, of course, there's always Cruise in those tight jeans. Sigh.

Filmfodder Grade: B+

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