John Woo raises the action bar in this violent, romantic sequel to Brian De Palma's 1996 original. Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt, this time battling wits with rogue IMF agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Hunt is ordered to recruit Ambrose's former lover, Nyah Hall (Thandie Newton), to infiltrate his hideout. But Hunt never expected to fall for the lovely young thief he must use for bait. The romantic triangle that ensues gives the film a unique emotional balance that is unusual (and most welcome) for an action picture. Ambrose is after the killer Chimera virus and its antidote, Bellerophon; in the old days Ambrose would have been after world domination, but in this new world order of day trading and Internet stocks, all he wants is to corner the market and make a fortune.
Woo outdoes even himself with a flurry of martial-arts fights, fiery shootouts, thrilling mountain climbing, and blazing motorcycle chases that lead from the beautiful peaks of Utah through the busy streets of Sidney. All of this is set to a booming hard-rock soundtrack that battles with the explosions and blasting guns for ear space. And he doesn't fail to include his trademark birds fluttering like peaceful interludes in the most threatening of moments.
Theatrical release: May 24, 2000.
Filmed at Fox Studios and on location in Sydney & Broken Hill, Australia, and filmed at Los Angeles Center Studios and on location in Moab, Utah, and Los Angeles, California.
The film grossed more than $210 million at the domestic box office and more than $430 million worldwide.
John Woo told Mr. Showbiz that the love story in M:I-2 was inspired by the spy love story between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Alfred Hitchcock's NOTORIOUS.
Tom Cruise insisted on performing virtually all his own stunts, against director John Woo's wishes.
Tom Cruise had never before fired a gun in any his previous films.
Oliver Stone was at one time attached as the director of this film.
Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames are the only returning cast members from the first film.
Metallica's music video for "I Disappear," from the M:I-2 soundtrack (the song appears over the closing credits), features scenes mimicking BULLITT, DIE HARD, and NORTH BY NORTHWEST, in addition to a final shot of Cruise. This is the first song Metallica has written specifically for a motion picture.
When John Woo was growing up, his favorite types of films were musicals and westerns.
Anthony Hopkins's appearance in the film is uncredited.
The theme song "Take a Look Around (Theme from 'M:I2')" by Lalo Schifrin & Fred Durst is performed and produced by Limp Bizkit.
"...Tons of action....The most spectacular film Woo has ever directed..." Hollywood Reporter, p.87
"...[John Woo] directs action the way others stage Wagnerian operas..." -- 3 out of 4 stars - 06/16/2000 USA Today, p.11E
"...Woo generates explosive excitement....Cruise sizzles in a killer blast of thrills, suspense and delicious sin..." - 06/22/2000 Rolling Stone, p.139-40
"...Cruise's rock climbing antics set your blood pumping early..." - 08/01/2000 Total Film, p.80
"...[Woo] is a master of movement and chaos....Woo's marvelous visual sense is always an asset..." - 05/24/2000 Los Angeles Times, p.C1
"M:I2 is a heady triumph of adrenaline over common sense." - 08/01/2000 Uncut, p.115