||John Woo raises the action bar in this violent, romantic sequel to Brian De Palma's 1996 original. Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt, this time battling wits with rogue IMF agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Hunt is ordered to recruit Ambrose's former lover, Nyah Hall (Thandie Newton), to infiltrate his hideout. But Hunt never expected to fall for the lovely young thief he must use for bait. The romantic triangle that ensues gives the film a unique emotional balance that is unusual (and most welcome) for an action picture. Ambrose is after the killer Chimera virus and its antidote, Bellerophon; in the old days Ambrose would have been after world domination, but in this new world order of day trading and Internet stocks, all he wants is to corner the market and make a fortune.^Woo outdoes even himself with a flurry of martial-arts fights, fiery shootouts, thrilling mountain climbing, and blazing motorcycle chases that lead from the beautiful peaks of Utah through the busy streets of Sydney. All of this is set to a booming hard-rock soundtrack that battles with the explosions and blasting guns for ear space. And he doesn't fail to include his trademark birds fluttering like peaceful interludes in the most threatening of moments.