Action Adventure

'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' Blu-ray Review: Cruise's latest mission hits the action-thriller bullseye

December 15, 2015Ben MK

Following up the Impossible Mission Force's last assignment, 2011's Ghost Protocol, may seem like a tall order, but that doesn't stop the series' fifth and latest installment. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation more than lives up to expectations, thanks to Tom Cruise once again reprising his role as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, a man with a habit of getting himself into situations where the odds are overwhelmingly against him.

This time, it's no different, as Ethan's efforts to stop a shadowy terrorist organization known as the Syndicate have led CIA head Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) to shut down the IMF, leaving Ethan with only one option: to go rogue to complete his mission. On the lam and tirelessly hunted by the CIA, Ethan enlists the help of his cohorts (Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg) to track down the Syndicate's elusive mastermind, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris). Luckily, their mission is made a little less impossible with some help from the mysterious Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a femme fatale who may or may not be playing both sides.

What follows is by no means a mind-blowing reinvention of the nearly-two-decade-old film franchise, but that doesn't mean it isn't a helluva lot of fun to watch. The point is, if you come to Rogue Nation seeking thrills, you won't be exiting the theater disappointed. But even during its less-bombastic moments, the movie isn't one to leave audiences wanting. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the storyline delivers all the high-tech hijinks and international intrigue viewers have come to expect from the M:I franchise. But perhaps more importantly, it never once forgets to inject a heaping dose of fun into the proceedings.

Cruise's ability to sell the film's implausible action while cracking a half-smile is unparalleled. And he's a huge part of what makes the whole endeavor work. That's what separates Rogue Nation from films like the ultra-gritty James Bond and Jason Bourne movies. In an age where we as moviegoers have become all but desensitized to the tricks of Hollywood's big budget spectacles, here is a summer blockbuster franchise that defies expectations by remaining deliriously entertaining, even four sequels in. It just goes to show that with the right actors in front of the camera and the right talent behind it, nothing is impossible.

From the bright lights and cityscapes of London, Washington and Vienna to the desert dunes of Morocco, fine detail abounds in Rogue Nation's exceptional and impressive Blu-ray transfer, which is defined by its light film grain, vivid colors and rock-solid contrast and black levels. Audio-wise, it's a similar story, as hand-to-hand brawls, knife fights, hails of bullets and explosions all sound great through the disc's booming Dolby Atmos soundtrack. No doubt about it, viewers can expect complete and total immersion with this sound mix, especially when it comes to the set-piece action sequences, which fill the room with the roar of plane engines, the sound of a massive water vortex and the revving of motorcycle engines.

Paramount's two-disc Blu-ray release include an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy and a DVD copy of the film, plus the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Commentary by Tom Cruise and Director Christopher McQuarrie - The pair recount stories about the shoot and talk about such things as the homages to other films, the locales, the stunts, the visual effects, the cast and their performances, the lighting and cinematography, the production design, the score and more.
  • Lighting the Fuse (5:57) - Cruise and McQuarrie discuss the origin and the evolution of the film's story and its characters, and how they're shaped by the actors' performances and the action sequences.
  • Cruise Control (6:33) - A piece about Cruise's very involved role as a producer on the franchise and his dedication to delivering what the audience wants.
  • Heroes... (8:06) - A featurette focusing on Rogue Nation's team of protagonists: Benji Dunn, Ilsa Faust, Luther Stickell and William Brandt.
  • Cruising Altitude (8:23) - A behind-the-scenes look at the planning and the execution of the movie's opening action set-piece, which has Cruise hanging onto the outside of an Airbus A400M.
  • Mission: Immersible (6:45) - A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film's extended underwater sequence, for which Cruise and Ferguson learned to hold their breath for up to six minutes at a time.
  • Sand Theft Auto (5:35) - A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Moroccan car/motorcycle chase, touching on the design of the sequence, the camera work, the visual effects and the stunt work.
  • The Missions Continue (7:08) - A broad look at the M:I franchise as a whole and at what has made the series so successful, from the films' directors and the IMF technology to the humor and the action sequences.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is available from Paramount Home Entertainment as of December 15th, 2015. The Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 11 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on July 30th, 2015.

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