This Mission: Impossible “Extreme Blu-ray Trilogy” is hardly extreme and in fact is underwhelming. Each of the discs is merely repackaged with the same features and for the third film, actually removed a second disc full of features. The audio and video transfers are alright but could’ve been better, although the third film does fare the best.
Genre(s): Action, Thriller
Paramount | PG13 – 358 min. – $39.99 | December 6, 2011
MOVIE INFO (Mission Impossible):
Directed by: Brian De Palma
Writer(s): Bruce Geller (created by); David Koepp and Steven Zaillian (written by), David Koepp and Robert Towne (screenplay)
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Beart, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames
Theatrical Release Date: May 22, 1996
MOVIE INFO (Mission Impossible II):
Directed by: John Woo
Writer(s): Bruce Geller (created by); Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga (story), Robert Towne (screenplay)
Cast: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Ving Rhames, Anthony Hopkins
Theatrical Release Date: May 24, 2000
MOVIE INFO (Mission Impossible III):
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Writer(s): Bruce Geller (created by); Alex Kurtzman & Robert Orci & J.J. Abrams (written by)
Cast: Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ving Rhames, Billy Crudup, Michelle Monaghan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell, Maggie Q, Simon Pegg, Laurence Fishburne
Theatrical Release Date: May 5, 2006
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen AR
Subtitles: English SDH
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1996) — 4.0/5
Secret Agent Ethan Hunt (TOM CRUISE) is framed for the deaths of his espionage team. Fleeing from government assassins, breaking into the CIA’s most impenetrable vault, clinging to the roof of a speeding bullet train, Hunt races like a burning fuse to stay one step ahead of his pursuers…and draw one step closer to discovering the shocking truth.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II (2000) — 3.5/5
Ethan Hunt (CRUISE) partners up with the beautiful Nyah Hall (THANDIE NEWTON) to stop renegade agent Sean Ambrose (DOUGRAY SCOTT) from releasing a new kind of terror on an unsuspecting world. But before the mission is complete, they’ll traverse the globe and have to choose between everything they love and everything they believe in.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III (2006) — 4.25/5
Lured back into action by his agency superiors (LAURENCE FISHBURNE and BILLY CRUDUP), Ethan Hunt (CRUISE) faces his deadliest adversary yet – a sadistic weapons dealer named Owen Davian (PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN). With the support of his IMF team (VING RHAMES, JOHNATHAN RHYS MEYERS and MAGGIE Q), Ethan leaps into spectacular adventure from Rome to Shanghai as he races to rescue a captured agent (KERI RUSSELL) and stop Davian from eliminating his next target: Ethan’s wife, Julia (MICHELLE MONAGHAN).
The Mission: Impossible franchise has produced three good yet still stylistically distinct films thanks to changing the director – and subsequently DPs – and even different composers; as dated as it sometimes sounds, I still prefer Larry Mullen/Adam Clayton’s theme over Hans Zimmer and Michael Giacchino’s versions, although Giacchino takes a close second.
In any case, the soul of the theatrical releases is of course Tom Cruise who, despite some hammy moments (mainly in M:I-2), has the charisma and physique to carry the lead role even after all these years. I also enjoy the variety of supporting cast the franchise has produced from fellow IMF members (Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Maggie Q, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg) to the villains (Jon Voight, Dougray Scott, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Crudup), all great casting choices albeit I have to think IMF’s recruiting needs to be shored up given the number of traitors/defectors is alarmingly high.
All things considered, I think this franchise is a bit underrated and while indeed each film has more than a few flaws, each one is unique enough on their own that it never feels stale or a “been there, done that” kind of vibe.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
The set contains 3 Blu-ray cases (one for each movie) inside a sturdy and embossed outer case. The Blu-rays, and UPCs, are the same as the previously released versions so they are not new printings, though the artwork is new and updated to match one another. HOWEVER, I should note that only the first disc on M:I-3 has been included (more below).
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — 2.5/5
Mission: Remarkable – 40 Years of Creating the Impossible (11:26) – This featurette covers the history of Mission: Impossible taking it from the television series to the big screen. It features interviews with Tom Cruise, producer Paula Wagner, director Brian De Palma and various others.
Mission: Explosive Exploits (5:09) is a behind-the-scenes featurette covering the stunt work much of which done by Tom Cruise himself as well as showing the set-up of the action sequences (including the aquarium).
Mission: Spies Among Us (8:40) – This featurette takes a look at the real life games of spies including an interview those who have worked within the intelligence agency.
Mission: Catching the Train (2:39) show how the end sequence was accomplished via behind-the-scenes footage and a look at the visual effects.
Mission: International Spy Museum (6:31) is a cool featurette where you can see the various spy tools that have been used in the past.
Mission: Agent Dossiers – Here you can look at the profiles for Ethan Hunt, Jim Phelps, Sarah Davies, Claire Phelps, Jack Harmon, Hannah Williams and Luther Stickell and get their backgrounds/history.
Excellence in Film (9:15) is a tribute footage shown at the 2005 British Academy of Film and Television Arts where Tom Cruise was honored with the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film.
Generation: Cruise (3:36) is footage shown from the 2005 MTC Movie Awards where Cruise was also honored.
Finally there’s a photo gallery and a variety of TV Spots and Theatrical Trailers.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II — 3.0/5
Commentary by Director John Woo – Woo provides an interesting and expansive track offering up insights into style, story and his vision for this sequel. I do think having a partner in the booth would’ve made for a more dynamic track, though.
Behind the Mission (14:28) is your typical making-of featurette where they go through how the sequel came about with interview sound bites with the cast and crew. Really, it’s nothing special but you do get an idea about the process of filming the movie.
Mission Incredible (5:12) tackles the John Woo trademarked action sequences and Cruise’s eagerness to take it to the limit (sorry, had to).
Impossible Shots (TRT 34:17) is a selection of 11 action sequences featured throughout the film and taking a look at how they were accomplished with comments by John Woo.
Finally we get the Music Video (4:33) for “I Disappear” from Metallica, an Alternate Title Sequence (0:37) and the Excellence in Film and Generation: Cruise tribute footage.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III — 1.5/5
Feature Commentary – Tom Cruise and Co-Writer/Director J.J. Abrams sit down for an amiable track where they cover different topics about the movie though it’s more like a couple of friends chatting than anything in-depth.
Yep, that’s everything. Left off is an entire second disc with several featurettes, deleted scenes and trailers. Also not included, and at this point still an HD-DVD exclusive, is the enhanced picture-in-picture commentary where Cruise and Abrams stopped the film to expand further…
VIDEO – 3.75/5
All three Mission: Impossible films are the original MPEG-2 encoded releases, so Paramount has not done any new transfers for this release, though this is hardly a surprise.
Comparatively speaking, M:I-1 is the worst of the three with some blotchy areas at times and a few dust marks sprinkled here and there. No doubt this HD transfer is probably better than its DVD counterpart but it’s not a transfer that exactly pops out or anything. – 3.5/5
M:I-2 fares a bit better and at times looks fantastic capitalizing on John Woo’s visual flares and abundance of stark colors. For instance, the scene where Ethan steals the last remaining strain of the Chimera virus shows off some natural film noise and providing a good amount of detail level. – 3.75/5
M:I-3 is the best of the three which isn’t surprising since it’s only 5 years old. With this transfer, we get what is now considered styling’s of J.J. Abrams visuals. From the opening scene there’s a good amount of oversaturation going on and darker scenes which lends it to showing some film noise and grain. – 4.0/5
AUDIO – 3.5/5
And since we get the old discs, anyone who knows the prehistoric Blu-ray releases (when they were competing with HD-DVD), lossless audio was not the norm. Nope, no DTS-HD Master Audio tracks, just the standard but tried-and-true Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks for all three movies. Now, the tracks are certainly suitable and even acceptable showing off some of the action sequences with a modest boom. While the first two films sound OK (3/5 and 3.5/5 respectively), I think M:I-3 sounds the best (3.75/5) though I still would prefer an HD track, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon…
OVERALL – 3.25/5
Overall, this Mission: Impossible “Extreme Blu-ray Trilogy” is hardly extreme and in fact is underwhelming. Each of the discs is merely repackaged with the same features and for the third film, actually removed a second disc full of features. The audio and video transfers are alright but could’ve been better, although the third film does fare the best. If you don’t already own any of the films on Blu-ray then maybe it’s worth picking up at a discount, otherwise just skip it altogether.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.