It’s time to look at the next Mission Impossible film. Unfortunately this is the weak link of the series as it lost its way and became your average James Bond film. No worries it’s still classier than that series but even going to that level at all is unfortunate. I suppose it would probably have been tough to follow up such a strong first film in general though.
The film starts with Ethan climbing a mountain as part of his vacation. Unfortunately the government finds him and tells Ethan that they have a new mission for him. Someone has stolen a bunch of military items and is planning to do something big. Ethan has to recruit a thief to help him break into the villain’s lair. After he brings her to the team the IMF reveals that they actually just need Nyah because she is the villain’s ex and she will be in change of recovering the documents. Ethan isn’t thrilled about this but because he has lost his edge in his film he agrees to his corrupt plan. Too bad it was super obvious and the villain knew from the start. Can Ethan find a way to turn the tables?
This film went south right away so let’s talk about the negatives. For starters the film really focuses on the 007 angle as I mentioned with Ethan quickly going past the friend zone with a lady he has only known for about an hour. Seems a little out of character if you ask me. Then Nyah is ordered to use her charms on the villain as well and is stuck with him for a very long time while the heroes twiddle their thumbs. The IMF makes it clear that she is expendable and up til now they had at least been portrayed as relatively heroic. Too bad they turned out to be just as villainous eh? It really comes out of left field because up til now they had been reasonable. (One film, but still) Mission Impossible cycles through the bosses very quickly as they change in almost every film. It makes sense because the bosses tend to be evil or at least someone inside is a mole. I think they should all be checked a little more thoroughly at this point. Back to the film though. The whole situation is too bad because Nyah seemed like a reasonable character but the film completely dropped the ball with her. Most of her screen time ends up just being completely unnecessary fanservice. That’s basically the entirety of her first scene despite it being a way to supposedly show you how skilled she is. This doesn’t change throughout the film.
Then we have the constant slow-mo scenes and zoom ins. These scenes don’t add anything to the film and if anything they are just distracting the whole time. If you’re going to use those techniques then use them wisely at select moments to really make the experience more memorable. If you start using this everywhere then it loses the point. Almost every time it was used incorrectly and so this film easily has the worst camera work. We get some decent cuts like Ethan walking through the fire, but on the whole it just dropped the ball as well.
Due to the terrible plot even the characters suffered. As I mentioned, Ethan doesn’t look good here since he was on board with this plan. Naturally he talks tough about how he doesn’t support it, but that doesn’t mean anything if he’ll allow it to happen anyway. He also has a lot more trouble with all of the villains here than usual as his attacks just don’t seem to have their normal weight behind them. It takes him probably around 30 hits to take out his final opponent. While this was most likely just a cinematic excuse so we could see him pull off those moves, it’s still something that you can’t help but notice. Ethan gets the job done, but he’s a shell of his former self.
I’ve already discussed Nyah quite a bit so there is not much more to say about her. Good concept for the character, but the execution just wasn’t there. Luther is still a fun ally like in the first film. In comparison he doesn’t get a whole lot to do here but he’s around as always to help out. He is probably the only guy that Ethan can really trust so if I was the lead I’d definitely do my best to keep that guy out of harms way.
Then we have the main villain Ambrose who is pretty generic. At the end of the day he’s just a normal guy who sad that he got rejected by Nyah and doesn’t take it too well. The film does its best to show us what a mean fellow he is by giving us several scenes of him making life miserable for everyone. The scene where he clips someone was definitely a bit much though and the kind of scene that the film should skip. Ambrose always comes across as more petty than likable. Even when he comes up with a counter plan to Ethan’s which was actually handled well, it’s too late for him to really rank with the better cinematic villains.
As far as the positives go, the film’s pacing is air tight as usual. While it does slow down a bit for the romance scenes, they don’t pop up enough to really derail the film. For the most part there is always something happening here and we do get many fight scenes. There’s even a prolonged motorcycle chase scene at one point where we see Ethan take on quite a few fighters at once. This might be the best moment to quickly point out that Ethan’s hair style did not age well here at all though. It’s just really bad tbh, but it could have been worse. Back on topic, the fight scenes are solid. The film is definitely going for a slower, more martial arts type approach than Ethan’s usual quick barrage style. It works pretty well.
The soundtrack is still good as well. I really enjoyed the opening theme remix when the film’s opening scene concluded. It’s more rock based which is always a good thing and gets you pumped for the film. In general the soundtrack is very high energy and it works well for this film since that’s the approach that the movie was going for as well.
Overall, It’s just a shame that this film wasn’t better than it was. It just lost focus as to what makes the series so great. It tried to add a lot of extra gusto to the series which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it targeted all of the wrong demographics here. The series doesn’t need to be edgy or have Ethan Hunt be over the top suave as he gets everyone to fall for him. What made the first film great was the writing and the interesting plot. This one basically ditches all of that. Considering that this film is basically the definition of filler as nothing of importance happens here, you’re probably better off jumping from the first film to the third one and bypassing this entirely. It’ll keep the series in a positive light for you.