Writter: Bruce Geller, Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga, Robert Towne
Tom Plays: Ethan Hunt
Status: ON DVD
A secret agent is sent to Sydney, to find and destroy a genetically modified disease called “Chimera”
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Continuity: In the final motorcycle chase both bikes start off with road tires. Later in the chase when they go off road, at least one bike has switched to knobbly off-road tires.
Continuity: Luther’s full name in the movie and in Mission: Impossible is “Luther Stickell”. The end credits, however, list his name as “Luther Strickell”.
Continuity: Headlights on Ethan Hunt’s bike no longer shot out during bike chase.
Factual errors: When Ethan shoots at Ambrose during the bike chase, the windshield of Ambrose’s bike shatters. Sportbike windshields are high-impact plastic, and would not shatter.
Continuity: In the bike chase scene during the end of the movie. Both bikes have street tires during the street chase but when they hit the dirt the tread is thicker and deeper, essentially dirt tires.
Factual errors: During the car chase in Spain between Ethan and Nyah, the cars are supossed to be spanish, but the cars have wrong number plate (in Spain they should be ‘XXX OOOO’ or ‘XX-OOOO-XX’ where X=Letter O=Number)
Errors in geography: When Ethan uses the tracking unit to locate Nyah in Sean’s villa right on the waterfront of Sydney Harbour, the coordinates on screen are given as 33Â°52’48″S 151Â°13’10″E. This puts the house in the middle of the nightlife suburb Darlinghurst, nowhere near the harbour.
Crew or equipment visible: During the motorcycle chase, when Ethan smokes the cars chasing him, right before he enters the intersection, the fog machine is visible on the right side of the screen.
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): The villains use nitrous oxide to knock out (not kill) the people on the plane. However, Sean tells his sidekick to disconnect the “NO2 tank”, both on-screen and in the closed-captioning. However, nitrous oxide is “N2O”. “NO2” is Nitrogen Dioxide, a poisonous, smelly gas that would be immediate noticeable, and would kill the passengers, not quietly knock them out.
Crew or equipment visible: When Ethan is climbing up the side of the Biocyte island, crew trailers can be seen on the island.
Continuity: When Ethan comes out of the room where he destroyed the chimera in the Petri dishes, and takes the protective mask off, the top section of his hair is obviously clipped back, but wasn’t clipped back earlier, or in the next shot.
Continuity: When, at the end of the movie, Ethan sees Nyah, he does not have a scar on his right cheek anymore. When he then hugs her, the scar is back.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: When Ethan Hunt destroys the Chimera virus in the lab, the computer confirms “Organisms exterminated”; while viruses may not be considered by some to be “organisms,” experts in the field often refer to them as such. In any case, the lab might be using software that isn’t specific to viruses.
Crew or equipment visible: When Ethan Hunt gets his mission objectives by the sunglasses the camera can be seen in them.
Factual errors: The Triumph bike ridden by Hunt in the chase scene would have quickly and easily outrun the 4-wheel-drive vehicles driven by his pursuers.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: Photos of the effects of the virus shown on the digital camera display undamaged skin at the 20 hour point, so the fact that Nyah’s skin shows no ill effects near the end of the film is consistent.
Factual errors: While red blood cells don’t have a nucleus, they can still be infected by viruses, causing haemolysis, which can be fatal. However, *not* by an influenza-based virus; influenza viruses can only attach to surface receptors causing clumping, or haemagglutination.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: When Ethan Hunt blows up the door of the facility where Sean Ambrose is bargaining for the money (the place where you see all the doves), a crack in the wall appears to look like a support wire.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: In the car chase between Ethan and Nyah, Ethan makes an obvious point of trying to fasten his seat belt (though not succeeding), and the belt is off and on again numerous times throughout the chase. Ethan never successfully put on his seat belt and it only got as far as his shoulder because it locked. Thus, it appears and disappears as though it was never completely done up.
Errors in geography: The Spanish popular feast Fallas, where wooden figures are burned in the streets, is not celebrated in Seville, as is shown in the movie, but in Valencia. Anyway, the figures never represent saints, but celebrities from politics, sports, society life, etc.
Continuity: After the fight with Ambrose, when Hunt is looking at Nyah the blood on his cheek and upper lip changes.
Continuity: During the final showdown between Hunt and Ambrose, the number of clouds in the sky frequently changes between shots.
Errors in geography: As Hunt’s aides are arranging the sequence to the opening and closing of the vents in the Biocyte Tower, they place a street map in front of their computer. This is a street map of London (UK), whereas the events portrayed are supposed to take place in Sydney (Australia).
Continuity: When we are shown the satellite positioning itself over Australia ready to home in on Nyah, there are no clouds at all over Sydney. However, in the next shot (taken from the ground), the sky is littered with them.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: Nyah is infected late at night (11 P.M. when the generators go off), Ethan has 20 hours to find the antidote, he is running out of time but it is bright sunshine when he injects her. That would make it 7 P.M., and particularly during summer time, that’s feasible.
Errors in geography: The cliffs Nyah is about to jump off are east of Sydney but Luther and Billy fly west over the city to get there. Further, they are much more than the stated two kilometers away.
Continuity: The windscreen on Ethan’s motorbike fixes itself in some later shots.
Factual errors: The Darling harbor area where Sean drops Nyah off is closed to automotive traffic.
Revealing mistakes: When the Triumph bikes are landed after being “wheelied” (driven on the rear wheel), the front suspension does not compress at all, when in fact the fork would compress by several inches.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: When Hunt overtakes Nyah in the car chase, his car is on her right, thus putting her on the wrong side of the road. This is because she is taking evasive action.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: When the pilot is trying to avoid crashing into the mountains, he pushes the handle forward, instead of pulling it towards him. That’s because he’s pushing the throttle.
Factual errors: Genes cannot be spliced into influenza viruses as the genome is segmented.
Continuity: During the car chase with Nyah, some footage of Hunt’s Porsche appears reversed: the driver and damage are on the wrong side, the license plate is reversed, etc.
Continuity: During the bike chase Ethan shoots a plastic panel on the bike Sean is riding making an irregular fracture. Later, the panel is seen with a perfect zigzag circular hole.
Revealing mistakes: The scene where Luther and the pilot are shot by automatic fire, and are forced to steer clear of the fire, is obviously used two times.
Continuity: During the “morning after” when Nyah and Hunt are talking in bed, Ethan leans into her and is practically nose to nose with her and in the next shot is propped up on his arm almost 7 or 8 inches from her, then, in the next shot, they are close again.
Factual errors: In the biomed facility, the air should be extremely clean. Hence we should not be able to see the laser.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: When Hunt hits the car with his motorcycle and grinds to a halt, he kicks down his right foot. That’s the rear brake, not (as some thought) the gear.
Audio/visual unsynchronized: At the scene where Hunt’s convincing Nyah of going back to Ambrose, Nyah’s lips move well before we hear her.
Continuity: During the car chase with Nyah, we can see shadows from the front window frame on Ethan’s face. They disappear in close-ups.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: During the big chase sequence, when Ethan Hunt shoots the windshield of Sean Ambrose’s motorbike, the angle of the bullet might be sufficient to hit Sean Ambrose, but it also might be sufficiently deflected by the windshield.
Continuity: A close up shows Ethan smoking the motorcycle’s tires to cloud the following car’s vision. Same shot from further shows rider with helmet and tinted visor down not at all like worn by Ethan.
Continuity: When Ethan and Nyah are looking at each other through binoculars at the horse races the position of Nyah’s hair changes from behind her ear to over her ear a couple times.
Continuity: While much is made of the 40 seconds available to get Hunt into the Biocyte building and get the cable out again a NATURAL LIGHT SHAFT MANUAL-OVERRIDE alarms systems safety notice appears on the computer screen Luther is looking at. The notice declares: In accordance with city safety code 24395 if the light shaft aperture malfunctions and opens outside of daylight hours, after a period of 20 seconds has elapsed the state emergency services will be alerted.
Continuity: Toward the end of the movie, the amount of ransom asked was 30 million pounds. The amount shown on the computer screen during the bank transfer is $30,000,000 (dollars instead of pounds). Also, banks generally use abbreviations (GBP, USD) instead of symbols for international transactions.
Continuity: When Hunt shoots the man in the white car in the shoulder, his gun runs out of ammo. In the next camera angle, the gun is fully loaded again, ready for him to shoot the petrol tank of the car.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: Ethan changes gears while holding the wheel and a cell phone because the Porsche he is driving has a “Tiptronic” transmission that allows changing gears from the steering wheel.
Continuity: The license plate of Ethan’s motorcycle when he first starts to ride is ND69 but later appears to be NI69.
Crew or equipment visible: In the Ethan/Nyah road chase, a shadow belonging to the helicopter’s skid can be seen on the road in front of them.
Errors in geography: An infected Nyah is dropped off in “downtown” Sydney. Fifteen minutes later (at most) she has made it to the edge of North Head, a 30 minute drive followed by a 10 minute walk.
Revealing mistakes: Most of the cars that were smashed or involved in accidents were already damaged before filming, and had been patched up to disguise this fact. This left the front or rear of some vehicles noticeably short or unproportioned.
Revealing mistakes: The car which is blown off the bridge to the Biocyte compound as Hunt escapes on the motorcycle clearly has no engine.
Continuity: The bullet holes on the side of the helicopter change locations.
Continuity: Climbing chalk is visible on the rock before Ethan Hunt actually climbs up to that level. This could not be left over from another climber as the other parts of the route did not show such evidence.
Factual errors: Digital still cameras for cell destruction video are not capable of movie playback or recording (KODAK DC290 or DC280).
Factual errors: Injected tracking device would not be effective within the building without clear lines to orbiting satellites.
Crew or equipment visible: Explosive apparatuses for use in stunts are clearly visible on overturned vehicles.
Continuity: The mirror on the red motorcycle is crushed when it is first wrecked, but is intact in every scene afterword.
Revealing mistakes: During the final motorcycle chase, when Ethan dismounts his bike while riding alongside to avoid being shot, you can clearly see wheels on the bottom of his shoes.
Continuity: When Nyah is riding the boat to Sean’s compound, she does not have her long scarf the very first time the boat is shown. She does have the scarf in subsequent shots.
Factual errors: The influenza virus attacks white blood cells, not red blood cells as shown in the film. Chimera would not cause massive bleeding as shown in the movie.
Factual errors: Ambrose forces the CEO to sell all of his stock to buy options in the company. CEOs of public corporations are not allowed to liquidate a single share without first filing with with the appropriate governmental agency (SEC in the US).
Continuity: In the opening sequence, the crew of the airliner radios the control center, identifying the airline verbally as “Trans Pacific.” In the shot of the plane, the markings say “Pan Pacific.”
Continuity: Shots of Nyah standing on the cliff show the city at different distances in the background. In other words, more than one cliff was used for the shots.
Continuity: When Ambrose and Ethan are facing each other on the motorcycles just before they jump off, Ambrose accelerates with his right hand while Ethan accelerates with his left hand.
Errors in geography: The car chase in Spain is supposed to happen near Seville, but there aren’t any similar mountain roads nearby.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: At the end, Ethan tosses the antidote canister to Luther in the helicopter, but he also stole a canister of infected blood, which he is seen holding later.
Continuity: When Nyah walks away from Sean at the races (after taking the envelope) she swings her arms and has not got the envelope under it, but in the next shot you see her drop it down to her hand after Sean says “Hold on.”
Revealing mistakes: Stunt double clearly visible in bike chase.
Errors in geography: When for the first time Nyah is tracked using the injected tracking device, Ethan’s associates say Sydney but the satellite map on laptop shows somewhere between Cairns & Darwin.
Continuity: When Nyah walks out of the jail in Seville before heading to Sydney, she is seen in reflection in Ethan’s sunglasses. But the image is not reversed. Note her handbag is on her right side both in the unreflected and reflected images.
Continuity: When Ambrose receives the final kick to the head on the beach, his head lands against the rock facing the right. When Hunt crawls over to him, preparing to punch him again, Ambrose’s head is facing to the left. In the following shot, it’s facing the right again.
Revealing mistakes: Right after Ethan escapes with the antidote and the guard shoots at him and the helicopter, he clearly lands on something very soft, like a crash mat covered with a little dirt
Continuity: The airliner in the beginning is clearly a 747-400, but the cockpit is definitely not that of a 747-400.
Continuity: At the end of the motorcycle scene when both men leap off their bikes, the bikes pass each other on the ground. In the next shot, the bikes collide in the air.
Continuity: When Hunt is getting rid of the Chimera, he shoots them into a tube, after he does the first two, you can see that they have re-appeared with the chimera still in, in the background behind his arms.
Ethan Hunt: You turned around.
Nyah Nordoff-Hall: What are you going to do? Spank me?
Ethan Hunt: She’s got no training for this.
Mission Commander Swanbeck: What? To go to bed with a man and lie to him? She’s a woman. She’s got all the training she needs.
Mission Commander Swanbeck: Ms. Hall and Ambrose had a relationship which he took very seriously… she walked away and he’s been wanting her back ever since. We believe he’s our surest and quickest way of locating him.
Ethan Hunt: And then what?
Mission Commander Swanbeck: Make sure she continues to see him, gets him to confide in her, and report to you.
Ethan Hunt: You made it sound as if I was recruiting her for her skills as a thief.
Mission Commander Swanbeck: Well then I mislead you, or you made the wrong assumption. Either way, we are asking her to resume her prior relationship – not do anything she hasn’t already done… voluntarily, I might add.
Ethan Hunt: No. She’s got no training for this kind of thing.
Mission Commander Swanbeck: What? To go to bed with a man and lie to him? She’s a woman she’s got all the training she needs.
Sean Ambrose: You know, that was the hardest part about having to portray you, grinning like an idiot every fifteen minutes.
Mission Commander Swanbeck: Good morning, Mr. Hunt. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves the recovery of a stolen item designated “Chimera.” You may select any two team members, but it is essential that the third member of your team be Nyah Nordoff-Hall. She is a civilian, and a highly capable professional thief. You have forty-eight hours to recruit Miss Hall and meet me in Seville to receive your assignment. As always, should any member of your team be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions. And Mr. Hunt, the next time you go on holiday, please be good enough to let us know where you’re going. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.
Ethan Hunt: If I let you know where I’m going, I won’t be on holiday.
Ethan Hunt: We just rolled up a snowball and tossed it into hell. Now lets see what chance it has.
Ethan Hunt: Don’t you think we should wait a decent interval?[steps in sheep droppings] Luther Stickell: Shit.
Nyah Nordoff-Hall: Who wants to be decent?
Ethan Hunt: Yes it is. [Nyah is standing right in front of Ethan] Luther Stickell: [over radio] Ethan, Nyah’s in the building. Do you copy?
Ethan Hunt: [dryly, into radio] Thank you.
Ethan Hunt: We’ve got 19 hours and 57 minutes. I’ll get Bellerophon into your system by then. Just stay alive. I’m not going to lose you.
Ethan Hunt: Clear the bridge for me.[Ethan approaches Ambrose with a knife] Sean Ambrose: Go ahead, Hunt. Use it. It’s not a bad way to go. A lot better than the way that bitch is going to die.
Mission Commander Swanbeck: You were under specific instructions to bring back a living sample of the Chimera virus. I’d be very interested to know how, after you’d managed its recovery intact, it subsequently got destroyed.
Ethan Hunt: By fire. That’s the best way, really.
Dr. Nekhorvich: Well, I’ve heard…
[takes off mask of Dr. Nekhorvich to reveal Ethan] Ethan Hunt: …all I need to hear.
According to Robert Towne, much of his script was written around action scenes that director John Woo told him he wanted to able to direct in the movie.
The role of Nyah was written with Thandie Newton in mind.
The song playing during the rock-climbing scene at the beginning is “Iko Iko”, which also plays over the opening credits of Rain Man, also starring Tom Cruise and scored by Hans Zimmer.
Inflicting injury by cigar-cutter, and disguising one of the bad guys as the hero so that other bad guys will kill him, are devices in this film that both previously appeared in Darkman.
Shipped to theaters under the fictitious name “Doll House” to deter potential thieves.
During the shoot out at the Biocyte Towers, Ethan orders Nyah to “stay alive” and promptly dives out of the building through a hole in the wall. This appears to be an homage to the scene in Last of the Mohicans when Daniel Day-Lewis orders Madeleine Stowe to “stay alive” before promptly diving off the cliff through a waterfall.
Dougray Scott was originally slated to play Wolverine in X-Men, but had to pull out when M:I2 shooting went overtime.
Oliver Stone was the first director attached to this film in the period after the first film’s release. He reportedly wrote a treatment but backed out due to scheduling conflicts due to Tom Cruise’s prolonged stint on Eyes Wide Shut.
For the “knife-in-the-eye” scene, Tom Cruise insisted that a real knife be used, and that it stop exactly one quarter inch from his eyeball, instead of somewhere vaguely near his eye, as John Woo suggested. The knife itself was connected to a cable that was measured carefully in order to achieve the effect and Cruise insisted that Dougray Scott use all his strength in the ensuing struggle.
Two references to Stanley Kubrick: The sentence “so you are sorry and I am sorry” (the president’s phone call in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) and the killing of the virus, with light and display warnings, like the killing of the hibernating astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Sean Ambrose’s line about the perils of imitating Ethan Hunt (“grinning like an idiot every 15 minutes”) is reminiscent of dialogue exchanged between Castor Troy and Sean Archer, who both disguised themselves as each other in Face/Off.
Nyah Nordhoff-Hall is named after writers Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, who are famous for their based-on-a-true-story novel “Mutiny on the Bounty”.
Anthony Hopkins’ character becomes the first person in any Mission Impossible episode or movie to actually use the phrase “mission: impossible”. Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga also wrote the screenplay for Star Trek: First Contact which featured the first use in dialogue of the phrase “star trek”.
The part of Mission Commander Swanbeck was originally offered to Ian McKellen. He was not able to accept the role, due to a prior theatre engagement in London and the part eventually went to Anthony Hopkins.
Luther Stickell’s line “It’s that simple, huh?” after hearing Ethan Hunt’s explanation of what he thinks “Chimera” is was a joke about Mission: Impossible, which was widely criticized for having an overly complicated plot.
Tom Cruise’s then-wife Nicole Kidman suggested Thandie Newton (Kidman’s co-star in Flirting) as the love interest for Ethan Hunt. She was cast before the script was written.
The scene where Ethan meets Nyah for the first time is inspired by a similar scene in West Side Story where everything blurs away except for the two main characters, staring at each other. Time slows down and, for a moment, it seems like the lovers are the only two people in the room.
At Hunt’s meeting with Anthony Hopkins, Hopkins offers him an espresso or cappuccino. At the preliminary meeting with Jim Phelps in Mission: Impossible, Hunt asked if they could get a cappuccino machine.
Both Tom Cruise and John Woo attended a test screening of this movie in Warrenville, IL.
Director Trademark: [John Woo] [guns] Ethan Hunt uses a gun in each hand.
Director Trademark: [John Woo] [slow motion]
Andrew Lesnie was the film’s original cinematographer. He left less than a month into shooting, due to “stylistic differences” with director John Woo.
The famous rock climbing sequence was filmed at Dead Horse Point in Utah. Tom Cruise was on cables which were then digitally removed. Ron Kauk was the climbing double and the overhang stunt was performed by main stunt double, Keith Campbell. John Woo was so scared each time but “Tom insisted on doing it”.
Directors Trademark (John Woo):[Doves]
Directors Trademark (John Woo):[rainbow]
Stuart Baird did uncredited re-editing work on this film and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider for Paramount in order to get the job of directing Star Trek: Nemesis.
Triumph Motorcycles supplied the Speed Triple and Daytona models used as Tom Cruise and Dougray Scott’s rides respectively.
John Woo’s final cut of the film clocked in at 3 1/2 hours. The studio balked at this length and told him that the final length could not exceed 120 min. This could explain why there are so many plot holes and continuity errors in the theatrical cut.
This was is the first movie that the band Metallica ever agreed to write a song for. The band also contributed a song to the soundtrack of South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut, which was released before MI:2.
The scene where Tom Cruise “peels off his face” to reveal Dougray Scott was achieved in one shot by shooting both actors against a green screen. Cruise, not wearing a mask, was simply told to place his hand in a pre-arranged position under his chin then pull his hand across his face. Scott wore a plain mask with sensors that could provide a computer with a three-dimensional view of his face. He then peeled off this mask to finish the scene. Cruise’s face was superimposed on the mask as it is pulled away and the two images morphed together in the computer; the background of the 747 cabin was added in to replace the green screen. (Watch the scene with frame advance and you will see a slight transitional ‘swirl’ on the mask halfway through the scene). Kevin Yagher contributed some more traditional latex mask effects for other face-peeling scenes.
The movie initially was rated “R”, but was re rated “PG-13” after many action scenes were cut and the violence was trimmed down considerably.
Picture editor Tony Ciccone was badly injured in a motorcycle accident on his way to work and was unable to finish the movie. It took almost a year of physical therapy for him to regain full use of his hands.