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Mission accomplished!

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Movie: Mission: Impossible II
Grade: B+
Starring: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Brendan Gleeson and Ving Rhames. Directed by John Woo. Rated PG-13 (violence, some language, implied sex). 126 min. In wide release.


Although M:I-2 stands for the second Mission: Impossible feature, the movie itself looks more like a James Bond flick. But at least it looks like the best of Bond.

The new movie is a dizzyingly enjoyable retro rollercoaster, with exotic locations, great stunts and dialogue that's frequently punchy but occasionally faux cute.

It's also got Tom Cruise, who carries the movie admirably on his freshly buff shoulders. If the Mission: Impossible TV series and first movie spotlighted a group effort by a network of agents, M:I-2 is virtually a one-man show. As secret agent Ethan Hunt, Mr. Cruise has the confidence and charisma of Sean Connery's James Bond, minus the Connery smugness.

But M:I-2 really has two heroes; the other is director John Woo. He orchestrates the action sequences like the grand maestro he is, sometimes teasing us with hints of what's to come but always making certain the scenes are worth the wait.
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