PG-13 Dir: Brian de Palma | Paramount | 1h 50min
Plot: What’s it about?
Back in the early to mid 1990’s Tom Cruise was king of the box office. And as of this writing (in 2018) many would agree that he still is. He’s taken some risks with his roles and at one point in time he had five films in a row all top the $100 million mark. That’s a feat that’s easier accomplished today, but at the time it was unprecedented. For those that are wondering, they were A Few Good Men, The Firm, Interview with the Vampire, Mission: Impossible and Jerry MaGuire. Mission: Impossible was met with mixed critical results, but nevertheless managed to churn quite a profit. It would be four more years until the second installment and six more until the one after that. The franchise was nearly terminated, but in 2011 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol gave the series new life. Much like The Fast and the Furious films, it took a while (and them to keep making movies) but the Mission: Impossible films have finally found their groove.
The story starts out with long time IMF operations leader Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), receiving orders for his next assignment, should he choose to except it, sorry. So Jim assembles his most trusted and experienced team for the task. Ethan Hunt played by Tom Cruise, is the teams point man or captain if you will. Jim’s wife Claire played by Emmanuelle Beart covers transport. Jack Harmon played by Emilio Estevez (although he’s not listed in the credits) is the team’s computer hacker and equipment specialist. And there’s a few more that are not to important. The teams mission, wait for a certain IMF member, who is also a trader, to steal the second half of the NOC list, document him doing it, trail him and apprehend him. Now the first half of the NOC list has already been stolen, this half is a list of all IMF members’ code names, the list that will be stolen tonight is the second half that will match the member’s code names to their true names. There’s only one problem, this whole mission is actually a mole hunt (an operation to find a corrupt agent on the inside) and it cost Jim and his team their lives to find out that the culprit was not any of them, yep they all pretty much get axed (some literally) except for our story’s hero Ethan. Ethan soon realizes what’s going on and oh boy does he want answers. And there are a lot of questions and answers in this film that’s the beauty of a spy movie.
Over two decades later, I still can’t make out the plot of the film. Ok, that’s a lie. But I have to give this franchise credit: it’s still plugging along with a sixth installment and the films actually keep getting better. How’s that for “impossible?” Cruise and his team have changed over the years, but it’s an odd thing to say that after all the films Tom Cruise has been a part of, the role he might be most identified with is Ethan Hunt. Is that right? Looking back at the original, it’s a bit amusing to see some of the “tech” that was, at the time, so cutting edge. Computer generated effects and the little devices that are so prevalent in the films have long been a part of the movies, but it is a throwback to the mid 90’s age of technology. The action is there and after having seen some of the newer films in the series, watching Mission: Impossible was pure joy.
Video: How does it look?
Mission: Impossible was among Paramount’s first DVD releases way back in 1998 and was one of the titles that they managed to eek out in the short time the HD-DVD format was around and it had a concurrent release on Blu-ray. Flash forward a dozen years and now we’ve got this on Ultra HD/4K and it looks, simply, the best it ever has. There’s an immediate uptick in detail, colors seem to have a bit more life and “pop” to them thanks to the HDR. It’s not the shining example that some of the newer 4K titles are, but it’s an improvement over the previous editions, for sure.
Audio: How does it sound?
Though some of the later entries in the series feature a Dolby Atmos track, this first entry contains the same Dolby TrueHD audio track as the Blu-ray. I’m a big fan of the iconic score and the film runs the gamut as far as audio is concerned. It’s a bit disappointing that a new mix wasn’t created, but what we’ve got here serves its purpose. All five channels are used to great extent and the ending train scene is one of the better examples of how sound is used in home theater. Dialogue is clean and natural and I noticed a LOT of LFE during the course of this movie.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This was to be expected, but there are no new supplements to be found here. Rather this is the 2007 Blu-ray and the new 4K disc. All of the features from the Blu-ray are still intact with none appearing on the 4K version.
- Mission: Remarkable – 40 Years of Creating the Impossible – Probably the most robust feature on the disc is this one in which we see the transition of the television series to the big screen.
- Mission: Explosive Exploits – Tom Cruise did a lot of his own stunt work for this film and we get to see some behind the scenes footage as well as some of his physical preparation for the role.
- Mission: Spies Among Us – If an IMF was to exist (and who’s to say it doesn’t), we get a look at some real-life spies and how it would all play into this organization.
- Mission: Catching the Train – If there was one stunt to remember from this film, it was the train sequence. This is dissected and we get a good sense as to how some of the scenes and CGI were put to good use.
- Mission: International Spy Museum – Located in Washington, D.C. this is something I need to check out. Some pretty cool (or scary, depending on your point of view) items are profiled.
- Mission: Agent Dossiers – Some in-character profiles are shown.
- Excellence in Film: Cruise – Basically a montage of Cruise films after he received the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film.
- Generation: Cruise – If, by this point, you haven’t gotten enough of Tom Cruise, here’s four more minutes of idol worship.
- Photo Gallery – Some publicity stills from the movie are shown.
The Bottom Line
It’s hard to believe that this franchise started back in the mid 90’s and is still going strong over two decades later. There’s no denying the marketing push behind this release, but it does merit us a better-looking version of the film. Die hard fans will want to pick this one up, though if you’re happy with the Blu-ray I don’t see the need.