Mission: Impossible 2

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Mission: Impossible 2
Mission Impossible II.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Woo
Produced by
Screenplay by Robert Towne
Story by
Based on Mission: Impossible
by Bruce Geller
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography Jeffrey L. Kimball
Edited by
Distributed by Paramount Pictures [1]
Release date
  • May 24, 2000 (2000-05-24)
Running time
123 minutes [2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$125 million [3]
Box office$546.4 million [3]

Mission: Impossible 2 (stylized as M:i-2) [1] is a 2000 American action spy film directed by John Woo and produced by and starring Tom Cruise. The sequel to 1996 film Mission: Impossible , it is the second installment in the Mission: Impossible film series. It follows Ethan Hunt as he is recruited by the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) to find and destroy a dangerous biological weapon called "Chimera" from rogue IMF agent Sean Ambrose with the help of his new girlfriend Nyah Nordoff-Hall.

Action film is a film genre in which the protagonist or protagonists are thrust into a series of events that typically include violence, extended fighting, physical feats, and frantic chases. Action films tend to feature a resourceful hero struggling against incredible odds, which include life-threatening situations, a villain, or a pursuit which usually concludes in victory for the hero. Advancements in CGI have made it cheaper and easier to create action sequences and other visual effects that required the efforts of professional stunt crews in the past. However, reactions to action films containing significant amounts of CGI have been mixed, as films that use computer animations to create unrealistic, highly unbelievable events are often met with criticism. While action has long been a recurring component in films, the "action film" genre began to develop in the 1970s along with the increase of stunts and special effects. Common action scenes in films are generally, but not limited to, explosions, car chases, fistfights, and shootouts.

The spy film genre deals with the subject of fictional espionage, either in a realistic way or as a basis for fantasy. Many novels in the spy fiction genre have been adapted as films, including works by John Buchan, le Carré, Ian Fleming (Bond) and Len Deighton. It is a significant aspect of British cinema, with leading British directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and Carol Reed making notable contributions and many films set in the British Secret Service.

John Woo Hong Kong film director, screenwriter and film producer

John Woo SBS is a Chinese-born Hong Kong filmmaker, writer, and actor. He is considered a major influence on the action genre, known for his highly chaotic action sequences, stylized imagery, Mexican standoffs, frequent use of slow motion and allusions to neo-noir, ‘’wuxia’’ and Western cinema.


Mission: Impossible 2 was released in theaters worldwide on May 24, 2000 to strong box office results, and grossed over $546 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of 2000, and was the highest-grossing film in the series for 11 years. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the action sequences, performances, direction, score and dramatic depth, but took issue with the plot, dialogue and pacing. It was followed by Mission: Impossible III in 2006.

<i>Mission: Impossible III</i> 2006 film by J. J. Abrams

Mission: Impossible III is a 2006 American action spy film co-written and directed by J. J. Abrams, co-written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, and co-produced by and starring Tom Cruise in the role of IMF agent Ethan Hunt. It is the third installment in the Mission: Impossible film series, following 2000's Mission: Impossible 2. In the film, Ethan (Cruise) has retired from field work for the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) and trains new recruits. However, he is sent back into action to track down the elusive arms dealer Owen Davian.


Bio-chemical expert Dr. Vladimir Nekhorvich sends a message to the IMF for Ethan Hunt, an old friend of his, warning that his employer, Biocyte Pharmaceuticals, forced him to develop a biological epidemic to profit from its remedy. He arranges to meet with Ethan to deliver the Chimera virus, and its cure, Bellerophon. With Ethan on vacation and incommunicado, the IMF sends agent Sean Ambrose disguised as Ethan to meet Nekhorvich on a passenger plane. Ambrose goes rogue, killing Nekhorvich and stealing Bellerophon before his men destroy the plane.

Impossible Mission Force or, simply, IMF, is a fictional agency in the Mission: Impossible franchise. The television version is an independent espionage agency while in the film series it is an agency of the United States government. The IMF was introduced in the TV series Mission: Impossible that was broadcast from 1966 through 1973, and featured in the revival TV series shown from 1988 through 1990. Since 1996, the IMF has been featured in a number of motion pictures starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt.

Ethan Hunt Fictional character from the Mission: Impossible films

Ethan Matthew Hunt is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Mission: Impossible film series. He is portrayed by Tom Cruise in all films to date.

A chimera virus is defined by the Center for Veterinary Biologics as a "new hybrid microorganism created by joining nucleic acid fragments from two or more different microorganisms in which each of at least two of the fragments contain essential genes necessary for replication." The term chimera already referred to an individual organism whose body contained cell populations from different zygotes or an organism that developed from portions of different embryos. In mythology, a chimera is a creature such as a hippogriff or a gryphon formed from parts of different animals, thus the name for these viruses. Chimeric flaviviruses have been created in an attempt to make novel live attenuated vaccines.

IMF Commander Swanbeck informs Ethan of the circumstances of Nekhorvich's death and they determine Ambrose is responsible. Swanbeck tasks Ethan with recovering the virus and its cure, and has him recruit Nyah Nordoff-Hall, a professional thief presently operating in Seville, Spain. After recruiting Nyah and romancing her, Ethan finds out that she is Ambrose's ex-girlfriend and he reluctantly convinces her to spy on Ambrose.

Seville Municipality in Andalusia, Spain

Seville is a Spanish city, the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated on the lower reaches of the Guadalquivir River, in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Seville has a municipal population of about 690,000 as of 2016, and a metropolitan population of about 1.5 million, making it the largest city in Andalusia, the fourth-largest city in Spain and the 30th most populous municipality in the European Union. Its Old Town, with an area of 4 square kilometres (2 sq mi), contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. The Seville harbour, located about 80 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean, is the only river port in Spain. Seville experiences high temperatures in the Summer, with daily maximums routinely above 35 °C (95 °F) in July and August.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Ethan assembles his team, computer expert Luther Stickell and pilot Billy Baird, in Sydney, Australia, where Biocyte laboratories are located and Ambrose is staying. As Ethan stakes out Biocyte, Nyah rekindles her former relationship with Ambrose and relays information to Ethan's team. At a horse racing event, Ambrose meets with Biocyte's CEO, John C. McCloy. He shows McCloy a memory card video of Chimera affecting one of Nekhorvich's colleagues before blackmailing McCloy into cooperating with him. Nyah steals the camera's memory card and delivers it to Ethan. They learn that Chimera has a 20-hour dormant period before it causes death by mass destruction of the victim's red blood cells. Bellerophon can only save the victim if used within that 20-hour window. When Nyah discreetly returns the memory card to Ambrose, he notices it is in the wrong pocket of his jacket.

Sydney Metropolis in Australia

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,230,330 and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Horse racing Equestrian sport

Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys over a set distance for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, as its basic premise – to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance – has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity.

Ethan's team kidnaps McCloy to force him to give up Bellerophon. However, the only Bellerophon samples were taken by Nekhorvich, and are now in Ambrose's hands. Ambrose has the cure, but does not have the virus; unbeknownst to him at the time, Nekhorvich injected himself with Chimera to smuggle it out of Biocyte. Ambrose plans to exchange a sample of Bellerophon to McCloy for a sample of Chimera. Ethan's team breaks into Biocyte to destroy the virus before the exchange can take place. Ambrose, posing as Ethan, tricks Nyah into revealing the plan, then captures Nyah and raids Biocyte to secure the virus. Ethan is able to destroy all but one sample of Chimera before Ambrose intervenes, and a firefight ensues, culminating in the sample being dropped on the floor between Ambrose and Ethan. Ambrose orders Nyah to retrieve the sample; she instead injects herself with it, preventing Ambrose from simply killing her after she retrieved it for him. Nyah insists that Ethan kill her to destroy the virus but Ethan is unwilling to do so. Ambrose takes Nyah away as Ethan escapes from the laboratory.

Ambrose releases Nyah to wander the streets of Sydney in a daze, intending to start a pandemic. He offers to sell Bellerophon to McCloy in exchange for stock options, to make him Biocyte's majority shareholder. He predicts that the price of Biocyte's stock will skyrocket due to demand for Bellerophon after the Chimera outbreak. Ethan infiltrates the meeting and steals the remaining samples of Bellerophon. While Ethan is pursued by Ambrose and his men, Luther and Billy locate Nyah, who has wandered to a cliff side, intent on killing herself to prevent the eventual outbreak. Ethan kills Ambrose's men but Ambrose chases him to a beach where Ethan defeats him in a brutal fistfight. With little time left on the 20-hour countdown, Luther reaches Ethan at the beach. As Ethan is about to give Luther the Bellerophon canister, Ambrose recovers and points a gun at Ethan. Ethan throws the canister to Luther and jumps away from Ambrose's shot while kicking up a gun from the sand which he uses to finally kill Ambrose. Luther injects Nyah with the Bellerophon in time to cure her.

Pandemic global epidemic of infectious disease

A pandemic is an epidemic of disease that has spread across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic. Further, flu pandemics generally exclude recurrences of seasonal flu. Throughout history, there have been a number of pandemics, such as smallpox and tuberculosis. One of the most devastating pandemics was the Black Death, which killed over 75 million people in 1350. The most recent pandemics include the HIV pandemic as well as the 1918 and 2009 H1N1 pandemics.

IMF clears Nyah's criminal record and Ethan starts his vacation with her in Sydney.



According to screenwriter Robert Towne several action sequences were already planned for the film prior to his involvement and before the story had been written. [5]

The studio expressed concern over the safety of shooting Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise)'s entrance in the film, where he is free solo climbing in Moab, Utah's Dead Horse Point State Park. [6] Cruise refused to drop the idea because he could not think of a better way to reintroduce the character. There was no safety net as he filmed the sequence, but he did have a harness. He tore his shoulder when performing the jump from one part of the cliff to another. [7] Most of the scenes were also shot in Sydney, Australia.


The film's original score was composed by Hans Zimmer and features vocals performed by Lisa Gerrard. [8] In addition, the film includes contemporary music such as Limp Bizkit's rendition of Lalo Schifrin's Mission: Impossible theme entitled "Take a Look Around" as well as Metallica's "I Disappear". [9]

While vacationer Ethan is rock climbing, Zap Mama's remixed version of "Iko Iko" plays on the soundtrack.


In its North American opening weekend, the film grossed $57,845,297, ranking at #1. It held on to the No. 1 spot for three weekends. The film eventually grossed $215,409,889 in its North American release and $330,978,216 in other territories, totaling $546,388,105 worldwide, the highest-grossing film of 2000. [3] It is John Woo's highest grossing film of all time, surpassing Face/Off , and was the highest-grossing film in the Mission: Impossible series at the time of release, holding the record for eleven years before being surpassed by Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol .

Mission: Impossible 2 was released on VHS and DVD on November 7, 2000, [10] with a rare Japanese LaserDisc release following on March 4, 2001 [11] (released extremely late in the format's life), with a potential North American release of this LaserDisc being cancelled in mid-2001. [12] A Blu-ray release followed on June 3, 2008, and an Ultra HD Blu-ray version was released on June 26, 2018. [13]

Critical reception

Mission: Impossible 2 received mixed reviews from critics. Praise was aimed at the action sequences, emotional depth, John Woo's direction, Hans Zimmer's musical score, and the performances of the cast, but gave negative attention to the convoluted plot, weak dialogue, departure from its source material, lack of substance and slow pacing, particularly the lack of action for the film's first hour and a half. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes indicates the film was certified as "Rotten" with overall approval rating of 57% based on 143 reviews, with an average score of 5.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Your cranium may crave more substance, but your eyes will feast on the amazing action sequences". [14] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 59 out of 100, based on 40 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [15] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, down from the first film's "B+". [16]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said that "if the first movie was entertaining as sound, fury, and movement, this one is more evolved, more confident, more sure-footed in the way it marries minimal character development to seamless action." [17] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly felt the film was a "throwaway pleasure" but also "a triumph of souped-up action." [18] Ella Taylor of LA Weekly said that "every car chase, every plane crash, every potential drop off a cliff is a masterpiece of grace and surprise." [19] Desson Howe of The Washington Post said that "[John] Woo [...] takes complete command of the latest technology to create brilliant action sequences." [20] Lou Lumenick of the New York Post said, "Check your brains at the popcorn stand and hang on for a spectacular ride." [21]

J. Hoberman of The Village Voice called the film "a vaguely absurd thriller filled with elaborately superfluous setups and shamelessly stale James Bond riffs." [22] Dennis Harvey of Variety said the film is "even more empty a luxury vehicle than its predecessor" and that it "pushes the envelope in terms of just how much flashy packaging an audience will buy when there's absolutely nada inside." [23] Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader said that "no hero or villain winds up carrying any moral weight at all." [24]

In a retrospective commentary in 2012, Brad Brevet noted the film has significant similarities in plot and themes to Alfred Hitchcock's 1946 film Notorious . [25]

Mission: Impossible 2 was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards at the 2000 ceremony, including Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Supporting Actress for Thandie Newton. [26]

A comedy short titled Mission: Improbable was shown during the 2000 MTV Movie Awards. It is a mockumentary of the behind-the-scenes stunts of Mission: Impossible 2, and stars Cruise, Ben Stiller, and Woo.[ citation needed ]


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<i>Mission: Impossible</i> (1966 TV series) Television series 1966

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<i>Face/Off</i> 1997 American science fiction action film by John Woo

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<i>Mission: Impossible – Operation Surma</i> 2003 video game

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<i>Mission: Impossible 2</i> (soundtrack) 2000 soundtrack album by Various Artists

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<i>Mission: Impossible 2</i> (score) 2000 film score by Hans Zimmer

Mission: Impossible 2 is an original score album by Hans Zimmer for the 2000 film Mission: Impossible 2. Lisa Gerrard provided contralto vocal cues for certain tracks in her second collaboration with Hans Zimmer in the same year along with Gladiator.

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