Hollywood, USA
July 6, 2000
Neue Ruhr Zeitung

So Tom Cruise is still at it. Climbing, running, sailing down from dizzying heights at lightening speed, driving car and motorcycle like the devil and doing it the day long with an impish smile, he has not forgotten how to do any of that. One would almost forget that he was once capable of doing all that. At that time, four years ago, in the first nearly impossible Mission under the production of Brian De Palma. Cruise became a hero, a box office hit and a mega-star with the highest pay in the business and the most flattering choice of roles.

He used that for a project to which everyone paid due respects although nobody knew how it happened to him, but it sounded bad after an impossible fusion: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur Schnitzler and Tom Cruise. Then it was quiet as a church mouse for two years, so much so that his fame escaped him like a vacation tan in winter and even his membership in Scientology was forgotten. Then at the end of it all, after much ballyhoo and grief about Kubrick, "Eyes Wide Shut," a grandiose, honorable - flop.

So one cannot not accuse Tom Cruise of wanting to go back to the top. That is what he is advertising for. Surely the preview for "Mission: Impossible-2," "M:I-2" for short, was postponed for longer than usual. But one also has to see the product in action. Better, faster, bigger and stronger than ever. For this purpose Cruise, the provider of the product and producer of the film, sought out John Woo, conceivably the best choreographer for a martial background. Known as the duke of choreographers among action producers, he let Cruise hang agilely from cliffs, swing from ropes and deftly drive motorcycles like James Bond, effortlessly smiling the whole time.

These physical feats are loosely strung together with a simple story: a deadly virus, including the antidote, has fallen into the wrong hands and now must be put into the right hands. The hero is helped by Anthony Hopkins, whose charisma Cruise can build on, and by Thandie Newton, the sweetly and fragile girl who lays open the soft core in the hard man. Yes, ladies, Tom Cruise cries. But only to afterwards be able to proceed even more wildly determined against the villains, who, however, are being attacked more strongly by the film script.

But can one really be accused of putting his product in the possible light in a preview. Really no. But one just should not get "M:I-2" mixed up with a good film.

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