Your Credulity Will Self-Destruct; Mike Davies Takes a Look at the Week's Cinema Releases. M:I-2 Cert 15. 123mins

The Birmingham Post (England), July 7, 2000 | Go to article overview

Your Credulity Will Self-Destruct; Mike Davies Takes a Look at the Week's Cinema Releases. M:I-2 Cert 15. 123mins


Is it a Tom Cruise movie or a John Woo movie? Both really. Tom gets to have his way with some extra plotting and lots of close-ups, John gets to do his usual shopping list. You know the routine, slo mo firefights, double handed gunplay, doves.

Called back from holiday (hanging from mountains by fingertips, the usual Judith Chalmers stuff), Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is given the task of recovering a 'monster' virus, gone missing when its creator (Rade Sherbedgia) is killed in a deliberate plane crash en route to deliver it to I:M. Seems it's been stolen by renegade agent Sean Ambrose (a snarlingly bland Dougray Scott) and his non-specifically accented sidekick (Richard Roxbury) who appears to be striking a deal with a corrupt pharmaceutical tycoon (Brendan Gleason) over the deadly Chimera and its antidote.

But then again may be just mad enough to infect the world, well, Sydney anyway, to boost his stock options. Whatever, Hunt's ordered to recruit Ambrose's ex, cat burglar Nyah (Thandie Newton, looks great, can't do wooden dialogue) so she can be implanted with a tracker device and return to her jealous but fortunately trusting former boyfriend and, well, do what exactly?

Certainly nothing Hunt couldn't manage on his own, but then where's the plot in that? And plot is what lets this down. Clunkily scripted (or more accurately shuffled and annotated from committee notes with some spare Hitchock tacked on) by Robert Towne, once past the cliffhanger opener, it spends virtually an hour setting things up with a sluggish tedium that even the as high speed car chase as foreplay sequence can't alleviate.

And then, having tied itself and the audience in knots, it hands the reins over to Woo to try and sort the mess out. Faced with a screenplay that requires Nyah, caught between former and current boyfriends with the only remaining sample of virus, to do noble self-sacrifice, that involves not one but four peeling off rubber mask scenes (apparently wearing someone else's latex face also changes your physical height and build) and climaxes with the old the villain's dead, oh no he's not routine, Woo just turns up the heat in the hope nobody notices the implausibilities, cliches and plain duel on motorbikes silliness.

An uncredited Anthony Hopkins is in all of two scenes and can barely contain laughing at the thought of all that old rope he can now afford; Ving Rhames returns as Luther but is given little to do but watch a screen and shout messages to Hunt's earpiece, while John Polson gets the thankless 'g'day cobber' job as the Australian third fiddle member of the team.

Still, Cruise does the invincible action hero with panache (considerably more convincing than his sexual chemistry with Newton) and has some really cool shades and the sort of well groomed flowing hair that looks great in slow motion.

But there's not much suspense, there's certainly no character depth, and a lot of it's so confused it makes the original movie look the definition of clarity. But if all you're after is things going boom, over the top stunts and martial arts showdowns hammered out in a series of visceral, visually buffed up set pieces that resemble nothing more than Nike commercials, then you should choose to accept it.

THE BIG TEASE

Cert 12. 90mins

Receiving an invite from the World International Hairdressing Federation to compete for the prestigious Platinum Scissors in the World Freestyle Hairdressing Championships, queening Glasgow hairdresser Crawford MacKenzie (Craig Ferguson) heads out to LA, accompanied by laconic BBC reporter Martin Samuels (deadpanning Chris Langham) and his fly on the wall documentary crew. However, following a small matter involving an overextended credit limit in his swank hotel, Crawford discovers there's been a slight misunderstanding and, rather than a competitor in the mane event, he's merely been invited to watch on the fringe. …

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