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Mission Impossible 2

Mission Impossible 2
A Paramount Home Video Release
2000, 123 Minutes, Color, Rated PG-13 (14A in Canada)

Starring:  Tom Cruise, Dominic Purcell, Matt Wilkinson, Nicholas Bell, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Ving Rhames, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, Rade Serbedzija, William Mapother
Director:  John Woo
List Price:  $29.99 USD, released 11/07/00
Packaging:  Keepcase, Region 1 NTSC
Disc Format:  Single Sided, Dual Layered (DVD-9)
Aspect Ratio:  2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio Formats:  English DD 5.1, French 2.0 Surround
Subtitles:  English
Closed Captioning:  English
Features:  Director’s Commentary, Featurettes, Interviews, Music Video, Spoof, Scene Selection, DVD-ROM content.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is back on another seemingly impossible mission to complete. This time he’s teamed up with a beautiful catburgler, Nyah Hall (Thandle Newton), to stop a rogue IMF agent who’s planning to seize a powerful laboratory-created supervirus and sell it to the highest bidder. The virus, referred to as "Chimera", can kill in just over a day and is only curable by the matching "Bellerophon" cure. But time is running out – Ethan must infiltrate the laboratory where Chimera is being stored before the rogue team does. And when he does, more than just the fate of the world will be held in his hands. While the original Mission Impossible movie suffered from an overabundance of plot, MI:2 manages to hum along on the barest semblance of one. But if you’re looking for action, daring stunts and lots of artistic fight sequences, MI:2 has that in copious amounts.

One thing this disc certainly can’t be faulted on is its technical merits. The widescreen 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer is crisp and clear without any film grain or dirt whatsoever. The rich, vibrant colors are some of the best I’ve seen, with solid black levels, deep shadow detail and good brightness overall. This could essentially be called a "reference disc" – one with a transfer so nearly perfect that it could be used as an example when people look for the "absolute best". The dual-layered disc features the movie split into just 17 chapters, but packs over 8 gigabytes of data. The layer change occurs at 5.05 into chapter 9, or 1:10.09 into the entire movie. Static scene selections screens are available from the "index" menu.

John Woo’s trademark "heavy handed" audio track style comes through with glorious bass, bass and more bass – if your subwoofer needs dusting off this disc will be much more effective than a mere cloth. As for the rest of the soundtrack (which can be heard at times through the thick bass), the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is recorded at a fairly high level and features good use of the surrounds, a powerful dialogue track with only the barest of background hisses, plus a fully encompassing orchestral score. This is one of only a few Paramount discs I’ve seen where they dropped the superfluous (and normally forced) English 2.0 surround mixes in favor of 5.1 only. The disc does feature a French 2.0 track, plus English subtitles and Closed Captioning information.

MI:2 includes one of the more interesting menu systems to come out of Paramount, with quick-acting animations that are actually pleasant to use. The "Mission Database" menu option is where you’ll find all of the bundled goodies. First is "Behind the Mission", a 14-minute featurette with interviews with the cast and crew on their experiences and thoughts on MI:2. Next is "Mission Incredible", a 5-minute look at some of the stunt sequences combined with a little bit of behind-the-scenes technical information. But if you really want to know how it was done you’ll look to "Impossible Shots", a whole section dedicated to how they accomplished 11 of the amazing stunt sequences, featuring interviews with John Woo and stunt coordinator Brian Smrz, All told there’s over 34 minutes of footage in this section alone.

Next is the full Metallica "I Disappear" music video and, along the same vein, the "Mission Improbable" spoof from the MTV video awards. A lively full length commentary track with director John Woo is also available. Finally, there’s an alternate film title sequence that was never used. For those with DVD-ROM systems, additional supplemental information includes a mission briefing section with agent dossiers, information on the mission locations, data on Chimera and a look at the various technical tools Ethan used in the movie.

Paramount’s Mission Impossible 2 is somewhat of a mixed bag. The DVD unquestionably contains a fantastic reference-quality video transfer, sub-thumping audio and good selection of supplemental material, but some viewers may get frustrated with a movie that ends up being more style than substance.

- Reviewed by Daniel Tonks on December 1, 2000.


Movie:
Video Quality:
Audio Quality:
Supplements:
1-Poor 2-Fair 3-Good 4-Excellent
System Equipment
Sony DVP-S500D DVD Player
Sony STR-GA8ES 5.1 Receiver
Sony 32" XBR250 WEGA TV using Component
Nuance Spatial Baby Grand 3E & StarSat

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