Action Adventure

‘Mission: Impossible’ 4K Ultra HD Review: The Fuse is Lit on the Long-Running Espionage Action Franchise

July 2, 2018Ben MK

If there's one thing Liam Neeson and Tom Cruise have in common, it's that they're both regarded as action superstars, even though it wasn't always the case for either. And for Cruise, of course, the movie that helped launch his status as one of the genre's most bankable actors was Mission: Impossible.

In director Brian De Palma's thrilling big screen adaptation of the 1960s television series, Cruise takes on the role of Ethan Hunt, an Impossible Missions Force agent tasked with recovering the stolen half of a top-secret NOC list, a highly classified computer file containing the true identities and aliases of all of the IMF's undercover agents. But when he's framed for the deaths of his fellow team members, Ethan must go on the run. Pursued by a top-level CIA agent named Kittridge (Henry Czerny), Ethan joins up with a whole new team, including hacker Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and disavowed IMF agent Franz Krieger (Jean Reno), as he sets out to clear his name, uncover the identity of his betrayer, and complete his mission.

Now, going on 22 years since its release, Mission: Impossible has spawned not one, but four sequels, with a sixth entry in the franchise, Mission: Impossible - Fallout, on the way. It's a testament not only to the caliber of filmmaking talent behind the movie, but also to the foresight of Cruise and his production partner Paula Wagner; for as Cruise himself has gone on the record as saying, this is a series that could conceivably go on forever. And it seems like it's certainly on track to do so.

Mission: Impossible makes its 4K debut with a stunning technical presentation that showcases how far video and audio encoding techniques have come in the last decade or so. Just as the best Blu-rays were leaps and bounds beyond their DVD counterparts, Mission: Impossible's 2018 4K release blows its 2007 Blu-ray predecessor out of the water, trading in a 1080p transfer and a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix for a 2160p upgrade, an HDR color palette and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio. Suffice to say, the result is a noticeable improvement in almost every way imaginable, from the increased image detail and bolder hues to the richness it brings to the film's sound design, especially composer Danny Elfman's modern rendition of Lalo Schifrin's classic Mission: Impossible theme song.

Paramount's two-disc 4K Ultra HD release includes an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy and a Blu-ray copy of the film. There are no special features on the 4K disc, but the following extras can be found on the Blu-ray:

  • Mission: Remarkable - 40 Years of Creating the Impossible (11:26) - A look at the appeal of the original TV show and the making of Mission: Impossible, M:I-2 and M:I-III.
  • Mission: Explosive Exploits (5:09) - A look at Tom Cruise's proclivity for doing his own stunts.
  • Mission: Spies Among Us (8:40) - A look at some of the IMF's real-life counterparts and their missions.
  • Mission: Catching the Train (2:39) - A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie's climactic action sequence.
  • Mission: International Spy Museum (6:31) - The International Spy Museum's Executive Director Peter Earnest gives viewers a tour of the Washington, DC museum.
  • Mission: Agent Dossiers - Character profiles for Ethan Hunt, Jim (James) Phelps, Sarah Davies, Claire Phelps, Jack Harmon, Hannah Joan Williams and Luther Stickell.
  • Excellence in Film (9:15) - A montage of Cruise's work, as shown during the 2005 BAFTA Awards.
  • Generation: Cruise (3:36) - Another montage of Cruise's work, this time from the 2005 MTV Movie Awards.
  • Photo Gallery - A gallery of 40 stills from the film.
  • Mission: Marketing (7:05) - Two trailers ("Mission: Impossible Teaser" and "Mission: Impossible Trailer") and nine TV spots ("Expect the Impossible," "Keep Your Cool," "Only the Mission Matters," "Teaser," "Very Upset," "What You're Missing," "Going to Do It," "Impossible Happens" and "One Man").

Mission: Impossible is available from Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment as of June 26th, 2018. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 50 min.

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