Mission Impossible 2 (or M:i-2 – if you like maths!). Ethan Hunt is sent to Sydney by the IMF to find and destroy the mysterious “Chrimera”. This film totally reeks of John Woo’s direction: there’s at least one slow-mo shot in most scenes, sparks everywhere, superhuman sliding, birds, white dove… and some crazy, crazy action. Unfortunately, there’s a ridiculous level of focus on the love story / personal angle – which is riddled with clichés and makes you doubt how professional a spy Mr Hunt really is – not to mention it feels forced and cheesy. Despite a fairly average spy story clunking along for the most part, the final half hour is absolutely beautiful (other than the love interest and random shots of the sea), and undoubtedly the best part of the film. There’s a few bizarre lines in the script such as “This is not missions difficult, it’s mission impossible; difficult should be a walk in the park” (Hopkins) – and the seemingly accidentally left in “put a sock in it”, a Scottish-ism by Dougray. Other than a stupid emo haircut, lots of face masks and flamenco guitar (so you know you’re in Spain) there’s not a lot to write home about. Mission Impossible II has plenty of stand-alone memorable and ‘cool’ bits to enjoy, but as a whole film, it’s average at best.
The Matrix: Action. Adventure. Sci-Fi. Technology. Love story. Tragedy. Mythology. Drama. Explosions. Chases. Fighting. Guns. Lots of Guns. Style. Homage. Technological Advances. Solid acting. Vision. Betrayal. Great characters. Fantastic Soundtrack & OST. Tight script. Mouth-watering visuals. Slick editing. Stunning concept… Absolutely everything about The Matrix is pitch perfect, right down to Reeves’ vacant, and emotionally retarded acting – it just fits the film so well! (Will Smith/Nicholas Cage were first choices for Neo!) Hugo weaving is also brilliant as the borderline pantomime baddie. The fight scenes are outstanding, especially given that none of the actors are martial artists. Unlike 99% of films out there The Matrix is absolutely all killer – every single scene has a purpose. It’s been a career-defining film for everybody involved, and rightly so: cast, directors, tech teams etc. Even over ten years on everything about this is still so, so, so cool. It’s a modern Alice in Wonderland, but where Alice cartwheels while firing a machine gun and bends some spoons with her mind! The film also raised the bar for action / sci-fi and special effects, and the wider cultural impact is enormous. Despite an unhealthy number of viewings over the years (guessing at least 40) this film never gets boring and never loses the awe-factor. I’m struggling to find a single fault in it!