This week, this summer's big blockbuster, MI:2 has hit the shelves on video and DVD. The Hobbit is deeply disturbed as he had had some slim hope that perhaps studio execs would come to their senses and set fire to this horse pucky and bury it deep in the ground alongside Battlefield Earth and the Lindbergh baby. No such luck.
MI:2 was intended to be the sequel to the first highly successful and highly enjoyable Mission Impossible movie. The difference this time though it that it was directed by a Mr. John Woo, highly successful Hong Kong director, and fighting scene king extraordinaire with a cult following to rival that of just about any other director on the scene.
But John Woo was not directing a John Woo movie, he was directing Mission Impossible, an established franchise with established rules and established roots. This Hobbit is afraid that Woo never really understood that and instead decided to make whatever he wanted.
If Woo wants to just do whatever he wants, then he shouldn't agree to do films based on established storylines. MI:2 was NOT a Mission Impossible movie, it was a John Woo Hong Kong movie, and that is not what it should have been. I want to see Mission Impossible, not John Woo Kung Foo Magic. It seems to me that he is incapable of doing anything except his standard Hong Kong fair. Tom Cruise is not to blame for MI:2, John Woo is. He screwed it up by trying to turn it into a Hong Kong flick, then he screwed it up even more by throwing in a bunch of Matrix/Hong Kong effects for no other reason than that they "looked cool" and might sell tickets. Effects and fight scenes that exist only for their own sake do not a good movie make.
Hong Kong flicks are nice, but they have their place. Everything is not a Hong Kong flick. And when Woo tried to make something else, he turned it into a Hong Kong flick without any reasoning or accountability behind it.
I along with most of the people in the theatres went because it was Mission Impossible, NOT because it was John Woo. Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed some of John Woo's work, and while I'm not a huge fan, I can appreciate what he is capable of.... but even now I hear people making excuses, the current one is that Woo didn't have full control over what he was doing and was forced into making MI:2 into something other than what he wanted it to be. But the truth is if John Woo didn't like what they were having him do on MI:2 he should have quit the film. As he didn't, he bears at least some level of responsibility
Lets talk special effects. The Matrix had more effects than just bullet dodging... yes some of those effects were not created only for the Matrix, but the whole floating fighting, camera panning, other worldly thing only became popular after the Matrix and has been overused and stuck in films just because the effect looks cool. The effects in the Matrix were used to make it look like the characters had super powers... Tom Cruises' character in MI:2 did not have super powers, thus why did they use Matrixesc effects that made him look like he did?
If MI:2 is indicative of John Woo's work then apparently Woo does not care about cohesive plot, believable dialogue, or realistic characters, and instead is only interested in fight scenes. What a coincidence, so is my teenage brother. I prefer to think that he is a director with more substance than that, who just made a horrible horrible mistake.
Reviewed By: Joshua Tyler