Love or (foolishly) hate the movie, M:I-2 unquestionably boasts one of the coolest action scores of the 2000s
New from Mondo, one of the greatest action scores of all time finally makes its way to turntables in expanded form! Hans Zimmer’s Mission: Impossible 2, from the film by John Woo, is finally here and in vinyl form. Even if you dislike the film, a controversial entry in the M:I canon, please don’t extend those feelings toward the thrilling, varied, and evocative music which makes up its accompanying soundtrack.
Unboxing the Package
The LP jacket has a full tracklist on the back side. An informative U-card (spine cover), typical of Mondo releases, is also included.
The cover image comes from one of the film’s most iconic scenes, but the overall design feels flat and plain, especially compared to many Mondo editions with beautifully illustrated poster-style art. However, to put this into perspective, it is in perfect keeping with the theme established by the prior Mission: Impossible release. Viewing these side by side, you can immediately see where they’re going with this, and probably even map out the next four entries in your head. Big points for design consistency!
Anyway, here’s a better look at the packaging:
The records come in both standard black and an explosive “Fire” variant. No surprises on the black edition of course, but the Fire edition shows a lot of variety between the sides. Even the flipsides of the same records are quite different, and certainly not merely mirror images of each other. Sometimes colored vinyl choices are a stretch, but not this one — the explosive orange appearance perfectly captures John Woo’s aesthetic for the film.
Label include full Track Listings for all four sides.
Hans Zimmer’s score to Mission: Impossible 2 is a personal favorite of mine. The film incorporates Woo’s heightened sense of melodrama, and the score wholeheartedly embraces that choice, delivering a magnificent, opulent saga of pain and passion.
A great deal of variety is featured in the music. In keeping with the globetrotting nature of the narrative, the traditional orchestral themes are augmented with international flavors — swelling choruses, Spanish guitars and flamenco, crunchy guitar-driven rock, organic percussion, funk, and even a bit of electronic flair, not to mention what remains to date the heaviest version of Lalo Schifrin’s iconic Mission: Impossible theme, variations of which appear on a handful of different tracks.
The story and character of Nyah (Thandie Newtown) is very much at the center of much of the score, and the music does such a magnificent job of relating the turmoil of her inner state, from her conflicted romance with Ethan and fearfully dangerous espionage mission to her contemplation of suicide.
In its CD form, M:I-2 has already been one of my favorite film scores for the two decades since its release, and it’s immensely exciting that this new expanded edition, spanning across 2 LPs, brings much more to the table, “for the first time in any format… Hans Zimmer’s complete score sourced from the original master tapes”, including several new tracks. As a score that I know pretty well inside and out, it’s exciting to hear these new additions.
There are a couple casualties in the transition. The album’s cover image features an iconic rock climbing scene set at the film’s opening — an ironic choice, as this scene in the film is set to Zap Mama’s catchy rendition of Iko Iko, which does not appear on this album. That song is technically not part of Zimmer’s score so “no foul”, but it was included on the prior score album so in that context the omission is noteworthy.
A considerably bigger letdown is a change in the handling of the score’s single best composition, Bare Island, which accompanies one of the film’s biggest emotional climaxes. That piece is greatly expanded here, which is wonderful to have, but… the change-up rearranges the music in a fashion that eliminates its very best key moment, an epic choral crescendo that should immediately launch into a fist-pumping guitar riff of the M:I theme (which is how the piece unfolds in both the prior score album and in the film itself). Instead, the new reworking simply ends the piece precisely at that moment, depriving the listener of the payoff. It’s truly a regrettable choice.
To me, this one small but major caveat is really the only thing holding this back from being an ideal score album, because in all other ways, it’s excellent.
Disc One Side A
01. Hijack (5:32)+
02. Mission: Impossible Theme (0:36)
03. Seville — Part I & II (2:07)
04. The Heist (2:40)
05. Sunset Ride (0:38)*
06. Seville — Part III (1:52)
07. Nyah (Film Version) — Hans Zimmer feat. Heitor Pereira (2:42)
08. Nekhorvich’s Message (1:18)*
09. Nyah’s True Mission (2:27)*
Disc One Side B
01. The Bait (2:51) +
02. Ambrose Welcomes Nyah (4:08)*
03. The Chimera Myth (1:30)*
04. Finger Cutting (0:47)*
05. At The Race Track (7:06)*
06. McCloy Gets Gas / Nyah Tries To Escape (5:21)*
Disc Two Side A
01. McCloy In Hospital / Ambrose Knows (2:46)*
02. Breaking Into Biocyte (3:02)+
03. Chimera — Part I (3:25)+
04. Bio-Techno (1:51)
05. Injection (4:28)
06. Chimera — Part II (6:18)+
Disc Two Side B
01. Bare Island — Part I (2:24)
02. Bare Island — Part II (3:02)
03. Mano A Mano — Part I (4:15)
04. Bare Island — Part III & IV (7:29)+
05. Mano A Mano — Part II (5:17)+
+ Expanded Tracks
* Previously Unreleased in any format
An incredible expanded release of one of the greatest and most underrated action scores of all time, unfortunately marred by a rearrangement that inadvertently neutralizes its greatest moment.
Get it at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2BVjCCp
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