8 April 2013

Let's Get Lost

Mission Impossible 2 starts with Agent Hunt hanging dangerously high up on the side of a cliff face. When I was in school, I rarely tried during physical education classes because I didn't give a shit and I'm allergic to pain. However there was this one time that they got some ropes out and tried to make us climb up to the ceiling. I watched the little fuckers in my class showing off by scuttling up them and so decided I'd prove just how easy it was. I jumped up at the rope, grabbed on and began to heave myself up. The teacher presumably shocked by my sudden effort began to cheer me on in a bid to encourage me to keep going. Genuinely surprised at how well I was doing I started climbing higher and higher and higher. Sadly though this boost in confidence was short lived and things suddenly got difficult. Deciding I'd proved my point, I gave up and like a fucking idiot just completely let go of the rope.

I hovered in mid-air for about a second which was enough time to realise that I was probably meant to climb down safely... and then I began to fall. As I plunged towards certain death I was preparing for the inevitable splatter of my exploding corpse when to my surprise I landed comfortably on my feet. Despite having just performed an almost superhuman display of rope climbing it turned out I'd actually only gotten about four inches off the ground before thinking, 'fuck this', and attempting suicide. This is just one of the many reasons that I am not Tom Cruise.

...Something has gone wrong..
People think that Cruise is mental because he worships aliens and belongs to a mad cult. But in reality he's actually mental because as this opening sequence proves he's clearly got a fucking death wish. Despite the success of the first film it's obvious that the main reason for Agent Hunts return is so that Cruise can see just how far he can push himself before being killed in some horrific accident. I say it's obvious as his him doing a few stunts is pretty much the only thing that's carried over from the first film. This has a different cast, director, belongs to a slightly different genre and also unlike its predecessor, it’s massively shite. If the first movie was a great night of cheap cider and mystery-meat kebabs then this second one is very much the next mornings miserable ritual of puking into your hands because the toilet's too far away.

After the twisty, complicated story of Mission Impossible, the sequel sadly decided to dumb itself down so that anything advanced enough to grow fingernails would be able to follow it. I know action films can be stupid but this seriously makes The Transporter Series look like KieĊ›lowski's Three Colours Trilogy in terms of its importance and ambition. The story this time involves a rogue IMF agent stealing a lethal disease called Chimera and that's pretty much it. Presumably because Chimera sounds like a particularly itchy STD, Hunt is tasked with retrieving it which turns out to be about as exciting as watching an old man attempt a four hour yawn whilst scratching his balls.

"Numbers go up to three-hundred?"
In order to accomplish the mission, Thandi Newton is recruited because she's the bad guy’s ex-girlfriend and IMF wants her to fuck the answers out of him. Newton plays a master thief who is so painfully thin that her stealthiness has to be attributed to the fact that she's ninety-percent nonexistent. Also speaking of the villain, he is played by Dougray Scott who here displays about as much acting range as a wet turnip that's been rolled around a barber shop floor. Imagine Gerard Butler but after he's screamed out all of his charisma and had a bump on his already lobotomised head and Dougray Scott is pretty much what you'll be left with.

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it..."
Whilst we're listing cast members it's also worth noting that in the last Mission Impossible blog I pointed out that the idea of spies constantly ripping realistic masks off  their face was a bit Hannibal Lector. Well it turns out I was right as everybody’s favourite psychopath turns up here as Ethan Hunts boss. To be honest I guess being a secret agent would explain how Lector was able to escape a maximum security prison and remain on the run for years afterwards. Hannibal wasn't a genius but rather trained and possibly being protected by the fucking Government. With his youth and skill on his side, if Jason Bourne ever got the taste for face then I think we'd all be fucked.

The film itself was directed by John Woo who’s had a bit of a schizophrenic career over the last few decades. On the one hand he's the director of such action classics as Hardboiled and The Killer but then on the other he also helmed such forgettable clag-nuts as Paycheck and Windtalkers. Sadly Mission Impossible 2 falls into the crappy half of his portfolio and I think I've figured out why. All of his good films where made in China whereas the rubbish ones began when he started working in Hollywood. The problem with this film isn't the action which, as expected from him, is all very fast paced and over the top. It's how long it takes set pieces to turn up and how boring the bits in between are. Like all of Woo's American films, the script is just fucking dull. Maybe- and this is just a theory... but maybe he just can't read English very well. Perhaps this looked like a good script because he only recognised words like, “bang” and “punches”. Perhaps he also misunderstand stage directions such as, “an unbelievable fight scene” and took it very much at face value. Not that I'm slagging him off as I couldn't even attempt to read Chinese with each of their words just looking like a dodgy market version of a sportswear logo.

But where did the dog turd go?
Ultimately though the biggest sin of Mission Impossible 2 is in what it seeks its inspiration from. The previous film clearly borrowed elements from Hitchcock whereas this one unforgivably takes notes from Michael Bay. If ever a film is destined to fail then it's when it aspires to meet the offensively low standards achieved by Bay’s turgid back catalogue of braindead bollocks. There's no doubting that Mission Impossible 2 feels more like Armageddon than North by Northwest which is a huge shame. For proof of that just check out the overly dramatic scene near the end when Hunt confronts the bad guy and you'll see what I mean. He walks into the room following a glowing white dove whilst the villain’s eyes reflect a fire in the room. The scene has all the subtly of a kick to the tits and is sadly more forced than a quick fist up the poop-hoop. If this franchise was an act on a talent show then the sequel would be like watching someone follow Penn and Teller by making some dog shit disappear by eating it. After two long hours the last line of the film is Cruise turning to Newton and romantically saying, “Let's get lost”. Considering that by now they have physically bored the nipples off me, I actually couldn't agree more.

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