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  Mission Impossible 2  
  John Woo  
  Tom Cruise  
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I really wanted this movie to blow me away. It didn't, but I still don't thik it was a waste of time and/or money. I did spill nacho cheese on my shoes on the way into the theater as I was trying to juggle nachos, drink, and ticket stub, but such is life.

John Woo directed this movie. Don't worry if you forget that; he'll remind you every opportunity he gets. Seriously, the movie is stylized to the point where sometimes it seems like a very long trailer. Woo wanted to make an action film that was pretty. I found it a very visually appealing movie. Many times I was just sitting with my mouth agape over the artistry over which the different shots were constructed. Composition is evidently very important here, and every few minutes you're handed a real treat.

Of course, sitting in the middle of all this violence-as-surrealism (and forgive me from straying from the Joe Six-Pack mindset here, but I'm referring to surrealism as a direct connection between images and the base cortex of the brain the way dreams grab hold of you, and not surrealism in the context of the "Why did the chicken cross the road?" "Frothy!" silly nonsensical sense of the word) is a scientologist ferret by the name of Tom Cruise. He doesn't really drag the movie down, but he just seems to be the center of attention for too many scenes. A couple of times during the movie I entertained myself by trying to piece together a chain of events that would end with him in this super-secret spy thriller in Australia, but began with his character in Risky Business.

Please understand, in order to clear the deck for Woo's creation of pretty scenes, the plot had to get watered down to the point of being the cinematic equivalent of broth. Everything is determined in the first ten minutes of the movie, and after that you're just along for the ride, like a roller coaster. The sequence of events is locked in place, it's just going to be a sensory assult on the way there.

The heroine was one of those creepy-big-eyed girls that you might see on velvet paintings of crying clowns, so not even the bombshell was allowed to get in the way of the directing. I guess that was a good thing. I didn't want to be distracted from the action-ballet, so not getting someone too pretty was a tactical move again on Woo's part.

I wouldn't urge people to see this in theaters, except for the fact that a lot of the reason for seeing this movie (well, the only reason, I guess) is going to be lost on the small screen. If you want to lower your expectations, you'd probably really enjoy this film.

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