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Brian De Palma
Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart, Henry Czerny, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave, Dale Dye
Writing Credits:
Bruce Geller (television series), David Koepp (story and screenplay), Steven Zaillian (story), Robert Towne

Expect the Impossible.

In Mission: Impossible, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is a member of the Impossible Missions Force who must prevent a secret list of covert agents from getting into the hands of an international arms dealer.

Box Office:
$75 million.
Domestic Gross
$180.965 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 6/3/2008

• “Mission: Remarkable – 40 Years of Creating the Impossible” Featurette
• “Mission: Explosive Exploits” Featurette
• “Mission: International Spy Museum” Featurette
• “Mission: Spies Among Us” Featurette
• “Mission: Catching the Train” Featurette
• Agent Dossiers
• “Excellence in Film: Cruise” Featurette
• “Generation: Cruise” Featurette
• Trailers
• TV Spots
• Photo Gallery


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Mission: Impossible [Blu-Ray] (1996)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 7, 2015)

Nearly 20 years on, the Mission: Impossible movie franchise continues to thrive. In the original 1996 film, we meet “Impossible Mission Force” (IMF) agent Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) and his team. They go to Prague to stop the theft of a computer file that will allow baddies to connect agents to their real names.

Unfortunately, the operation goes awry and most of the personnel – including Phelps – dies. Only Phelps’ right-hand man Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and Phelps’ wife Claire (Emmanuelle Beart) remain alive.

Matters get worse for Hunt. He meets with another IMF agent named Kittrick (Henry Czerny) who informs him that a second team tracked Phelps’ squad. They did so due to suspicions that a mole worked from the inside. Since Kittrick doesn’t know of Claire’s survival, he sees Hunt as the sole person to make it out of the botched operation, and that seems to brand him as the mole.

Hunt devotes the rest of the movie to an attempt to work both sides of the fence. He connects with the underworld to exploit their knowledge of the mole while he attempts to keep away from IMF forces that seek to capture him. Plenty of twists and turns come along the way.

Though not so many twists and turns that we become confused and/or lose interest. Between viewings of the film, I didn’t recall a whole lot about it, though I seemed to remember that the plot was a bit convoluted.

It remains moderately murky, but not atrociously so. If you boil it down to its basics, it’s a simple Hitchcockian tale of a guy unjustly accused of being a baddie who tries to clear his name. It echoes other flicks like The Third Man as well, and it occasionally threatens to become buried under its own machinations. However, if you focus on the greater picture and worry less about the details, it’ll make more sense.

For the most part, the plot feels a bit superfluous. It does little more than act as a setting for the various action scenes, and those usually don’t disappoint. The movie’s signature sequence comes when Hunt dangles above a protected room at the CIA remains quite tense and dramatic, and the climactic battle on the Bullet Train also roars to life well.

How about the rest of the flick? Well, it doesn’t soar, but it keeps us interested enough to sustain us between set pieces. The presence of a strong cast helps, though not all of them prosper. Cruise seems only sporadically convincing as super agent Hunt. Much of the time it feels like he tries too hard to be a badass. Cruise can’t pull off that attitude, and he comes across like a little boy in a man’s suit. He never falters enough to harm the movie, but he doesn’t add to it either.

On the other hand, Vanessa Redgrave provides a wonderful – though too brief – spin as one of the baddies. She chomps the scenery with relish as she turns in her work. On the surface, Redgrave seems like an odd person to show up in an action flick, but she displays no signs of discomfort or the impression she feels she’s slumming. She makes her brief sequences a consistent delight.

In the end, there isn’t a whole lot to say about Mission: Impossible. Brian De Palma directs it with just enough flair and gusto to make it work, but he never quite brings out any true personality. The movie entertains and remains enjoyable; it simply lacks enough distinctiveness to become memorable.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Mission: Impossible appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a lackluster presentation.

Sharpness was one of the image’s issues. Some parts of the movie exhibited fairly good delineation, but others looked soft and tentative. This led to a mostly positive but inconsistent sense of definition.

Jagged edges and shimmering created no problems, and edge hallows didn’t becomevisible. As for source flaws, I noticed periodic specks through the movie. Maybe two dozen of these small marks cropped up; that was enough to cause sporadic distractions but not any enormous issues.

Colors were also up and down. Colored lighting seemed a bit thick, and flesh tones were erratic, as they could be accurate and then turn ruddy or flat. Overall, the hues seemed acceptable but bland. Blacks were a bit inky, and shadows tended to be somewhat murky. This remained a watchable image but no better than that.

The film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundfield was nicely open and broad. Music showed excellent stereo imaging, while effects were well-placed and neatly integrated. Elements moved smoothly and connected in a concise manner. Some directional dialogue opened things up a little more.

The surrounds contributed to the sense of atmosphere, though they didn’t get as great a workout as I expected. Nonetheless, they kicked into high gear for the action sequences; the bullet train scene offered excellent material.

Audio quality was always terrific. Music fared especially well, as the score sounded bright and dynamic. Effects were concise and clean, with solid low-end response. Speech came across as accurate and crisp, with no edginess or other problems. This was a consistently satisfying soundtrack.

How did the Blu-ray compare with the Special Collector’s Editon release from 2006? Audio was identical, as the absence of a lossless option here meant both discs offered the same soundtracks.

Visuals improved with the Blu-ray, but not as much as I’d like. The Blu-ray was too lackluster for it to become a strong upgrade over the DVD. It’s better but not to a substantial degree.

The Blu-ray includes most of the 2006 DVD’s extras. These start with an 11-minute and 26-second featurette entitled Mission: Remarkable – 40 Years of Creating the Impossible. It mixes movie and show clips with comments from producer Paula Wagner, actor/producer Tom Cruise, screenwriter Robert Towne, directors Brian De Palma, John Woo and JJ Abrams, and actor Jon Voight.

They discuss the influence of the TV series on the first movie and connections between the two. We also hear about the film’s plot and story complications, finding its director and his impact, and locations. From there we get notes about the sequel’s story and director, and then we find some tidbits about the third film in the series as well as hints that the franchise could continue.

Chalk up “Remarkable” as a disappointment. I hoped it’d be a full examination of all the different Impossible incarnations, but instead it simply offers minor information about the various movies. We learn very little in this glossy featurette.

Next we find Mission: Explosive Exploits. This five-minute and nine-second featurette includes notes from Wagner, Cruise, De Palma, stunt coordinator Greg Powell and actor Henry Czerny. The show looks at two stunts in the first film. We get decent reflections on the challenges caused by these scenes, but don’t expect a lot of depth. Instead, we mostly find praise for Cruise.

In the six-minute. 31-second Mission: International Spy Museum, we hear from International Spy Museum executive director Peter Earnest. He takes us on a tour of the establishment and tells us about various spy gadgets and techniques. This proves moderately engaging and likely will entice some folks to visit the museum in Washington DC.

Mission: Spies Among Us goes for eight minutes, 40 seconds. We discover statements from Earnest, CIA senior operations officer Chase Brandon, special intelligence operations expert Dr. Derrin Smith, Rand Corporation senior analyst Gregory Trevorton, US Army Special Forces MSG (Retired) Carl Donelson, and CIA former senior disguise specialist Robert Barron. They discuss the reality of life as a spy. The program presents an interesting little primer about the various issues and concerns.

During Mission: Catching the Train, we hear from De Palma, Cruise, visual effects supervisor John Knoll and associate visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri. The two-minute and 39-second program looks at the creation of the film’s climax. A few nice insights and behind the scenes bits appear, but the featurette’s brevity means it doesn’t shed a lot of light on the topic.

Seven Agent Dossiers appear. These offer biographies for seven of the movie’s characters. They add a fun note to the disc.

The next two pieces connect to the same event. Excellence in Film: Cruise is a nine-minute and 15-second compilation of clips from Cruise movie’s created to precede his receipt of an award. It doesn’t seem especially interesting.

For more praise of the actor, we get a three-minute and 36-second montage called Generation: Cruise. It serves the same purpose as the “Excellence in Film” collection and presents shots from the actor’s flicks. Yawn.

Two trailers appear, as we get both the teaser and theatrical trailers for Impossible. In addition to nine TV Spots, we find a lackluster 40 image Photo Gallery comprised mostly of publicity shots.

Although I enjoyed Mission: Impossible, I can’t say it made much of a mark on me. The movie packed enough action and drama to keep me interested, but it lacked a certain spark that would have made it more memorable. The Blu-ray offers mediocre visuals and supplements along with fairly good – though lossy – audio. This isn’t a poor release, but the movie could use an upgraded reissue.

To rate this film, visit the original review of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE