Mission: Impossible 2 (aka M:I-2 – 4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Todd Doogan
  • Review Date: Jun 22, 2018
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Mission: Impossible 2 (aka M:I-2 – 4K UHD Review)

Director

John Woo

Release Date(s)

2000 (June 26, 2018)

Studio(s)

Cruise/Wagner Productions (Paramount Pictures)
  • Film/Program Grade: B-
  • Video Grade: A-
  • Audio Grade: A
  • Extras Grade: C

Mission: Impossible 2 (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)

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Review

[Editor’s Note: The film portion of this review is by Todd Doogan, edited from a look at the original 2000 DVD release. The 4K and disc-based portions are by Bill Hunt.]

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would have a problem with Mission: Impossible 2. The plot here is so simple that it could have been pulled from a kindergarten filmmaking class project. What if a rogue spy from the IMF seized a powerful laboratory-created superflu that already had a vaccine and sold it to the highest bidder? If that superflu could kill in 27 to 34 hours, then the vaccine would be worth millions, maybe even billions. If a handful of innocent people were struck by said superflu, the disease makes world news and everyone lines up to inoculate themselves. Whoever held the virus and the vaccine would be kings of the world. That’s it. That’s the story, folks... conceived, at least in part, by Ronald Moore and Brannon Braga (of Star Trek fame). But it’s a frickin’ action movie. Just because Robert Towne scripted it doesn’t mean it’s going to be Chinatown 3: The Two Jakes and a Baby. Still, it’s an action movie with a very high pedigree.

John Woo, visual poet and bullet maestro, directs and gives us exactly what he promises – a romantic action film. Tom Cruise makes love to the camera and Thandie Newton too. The acting is all good, with Dougray Scott playing the baddie, Ving Rhames reprising his computer expert (Luther) role, and Anthony Hopkins showing up to wrap his accent around some juicy one-liners. And guess what – the whole thing works. This is in no way a great movie, nor is it a bad movie. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to flush it. It’s... an... action... film, fer christsakes. It’s a glorious piece of eye-candy, wrapped in shiny foil, and set upon a paper plate, meant to be eaten after a nice meal of potato salad and hot dogs. Don’t give it any delusions of grandeur and it won’t disappoint you. There you go – short, sweet, and to the point.

Mission: Impossible 2 was shot on 35mm film using Panavision and Arriflex cameras with anamorphic lenses. It was finished on film, scanned for this release in full native 4K (presumably from the original camera negative), graded for high dynamic range in both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and is presented here on Ultra HD at the proper 2.39:1 theatrical aspect ratio. As was the case with Paramount’s Mission: Impossible UHD (reviewed here), the film exhibits a major increase in fine detail and texturing over the previous Blu-ray. Grain levels are light to moderate, depending on the scene, but that’s appropriate and consistent with the film’s vintage. Once more, the image benefits strongly from HDR and wide color gamut, with intense blacks, strong highlights, and vibrant coloring, all greatly improved over the HD version. The film does have a few more instances of optically soft focus and, again, the visual effects were rendered at a lower resolution. So this is not a perfect 4K image. It is, however, an impressive step up from the previous Blu-ray and DVD.

Audio on the 4K disc is included in another new English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless mix that’s also an upgrade from the previous Blu-ray’s lossy Dolby Digital. The soundstage is huge up front, with much more active surrounds, and greater dynamics. Bass is robust, panning is smooth and lively, dialogue is clean, and Hans Zimmer’s score – with its hints of Gladiator-esque vocal touches – sounds terrific. Additional audio options on the 4K disc include English Audio Description, 5.1 Dolby Digital in German, Spanish, Latin Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese, and 2.0 Dolby Digital in Brazilian Portuguese. Optional subtitles include English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, German, Spanish, Latin Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian, Brazilian Portuguese, Finish, and Swedish.

The 4K disc itself includes one extra:

  • Audio Commentary by director John Woo

The package also includes the film in 1080p HD on Blu-ray (the same disc released previously), which also has the commentary and adds the following bonus features all in SD (as they were produced for the film’s original DVD special edition):

  • Behind the Mission (14:28)
  • Mission Incredible (5:12)
  • Impossible Shots (11 segments – 34:17 in all)
  • Metallica’s I Disappear Music Video (4:33)
  • Alternate Title Sequence (:37)
  • Excellence in Film (9:15)
  • Generation: Cruise (3:36)

As with the first film, it’s decent content, but you don’t get the film’s trailers or TV spots and it’s a shame that the last two featurettes are duplicated on the Blu-ray for the previous film. Note that you also get a Digital Copy code on a paper insert in the case, which comes in its own cardboard slipcase.

John Woo’s Mission: Impossible 2 is bananas, but kicks much ass. This is the Die Another Day of the M:I franchise, and not in a bad way. Check your brain at the door and get ready for a fun movie viewing experience. Like the original film in UHD, Paramount’s new 4K presentation is by far the best the film has ever looked and sounded. Recommended for fans and casual Ultra HD viewers alike.

- Todd Doogan and Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

 

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