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Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

Paramount Home Entertainment
4K UHD Released: 12/4/2018

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/11/2018

Tom Cruise has been in the movie industry for nearly 40 years, and during that time, he's worked with several different filmmakers on multiple occasions. He's made two films with Steven Spielberg, two with Tony Scott, and two with Ed Zwick, just to name a few. But, in recent history, Cruise has really tied himself to Christopher McQuarrie, who is perhaps best known for winning an Oscar for writing The Usual Suspects. Since first working together on 2008's Valkyrie (on which McQuarrie was the screenwriter), they have worked together five times, with McQuarrie taking the reins of the last Mission: Impossible film, Rogue Nation. They have now teamed up yet again for the latest installment in this franchise, Mission: Impossible - Fallout, a film which raises the question, is it time to put this franchise to bed?

As Mission: Impossible - Fallout opens, the IMF -- Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) -- have been tasked with recovering stolen plutonium for fear that scientist and anarchist Nils Debruuk (Kristoffer Jones) will use it to create nuclear bombs. They fail at their mission, as the plutonium is stolen...again, but they are able to interrogate Debruuk. Thus begins a trip to Europe to again attempt to get the nuclear material. However, CIA Director Erika Sloane (Angela Bassett) insists her operative, August Walker (Henry Cavill), accompany Hunt and his team. Once in Paris, Hunt attempts to lay out a plan to ensnare those seeking the plutonium. But, he soon finds himself facing an old nemesis (Sean Harris) and an old flame (Rebecca Ferguson), in a game which quickly spirals out of control. With the threat of a nuclear blast at stake, Hunt must travel the world in order to stop the bombs.

If you're old enough to recall the Academy Awards broadcast from 1997, then you may remember a moment in the show's opening montage where Host Billy Crystal asked Tom Cruise to explain what Mission: Impossible was about. This joke was funny because it was true. The films in this series are known for their dense (for lack of a better term) stories and Mission: Impossible - Fallout certainly falls in-line. The opening sequence is straight-forward enough, but within the first 30 minutes, a slew of characters and ideas are introduced. How confusing this becomes is debatable, but two things are certain. First, the movie goes so far out of its way to be complex that things get boring. As Joe Bob Briggs used to say, "The plot gets in the way of the story", and the movie becomes bogged down in a section where it should be drawing the viewer in. (My wife has seen all of the other films in the series, but she bailed on the first act of this one.) Secondly, this entry assumes that we've memorized the other movies in the series, as it brings back some old characters. Yes, I saw Rogue Nation, but I didn't memorize it, so I didn't instant recall everything about Solomon Lane. Things become more transparent in the second half of the film, but it's here that things become overly cliched. Really, in 2018, we're going to watch characters debate about which wire to cut on a bomb? That premise became obsolete in 1992 when "grab the cat" became the only viable option.

Of course, we're here for the action and Mission: Impossible - Fallout does deliver in that respect...sort of. There's a fine line between giving the audience what they expect and what they've seen before. The sixth film in the series treats us to a car chase through the streets of Paris, which doesn't do much to differentiate itself from the other pursuits which we've witnessed in the past. The use of a truck is a bit different, but Ethan ends up on a motorcycle, as usual. Things do get shaken up somewhat with a foot chase which offers some great sights in London. Another interesting change is a brawl which takes places in a restroom. While we've seen fights in a locale like this before (True Lies), this bare-knuckles fight does have a brutality which feels new to these films. The finale brings us a combination of aerial chase and fight-fight which offers some suspense.

Brian De Palma. John Woo. J.J. Abrams. Brad Bird. Those are the individuals who directed the first four Mission: Impossible films and that's quite a line-up of game-changing filmmakers. (Although, it's always odd to look back and remember that De Palma helmed the first one.) Does McQuarrie measure up to this crew? Based on the last two films in the series, the answer is no. They sort of look and feel like the earlier movies, but they are lacking soul. Also, at 2 1/2 hours, I could have easily cut 30 minutes out of this latest film. I appreciate how McQuarrie and Cruise wanted to tie up some loose ends from earlier in the series, but the story suffers for this and we get a mixture of seen-it-before and dull.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout offers what may be the smallest IMF yet on 4K UHD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an HEVC 2160p transfer which runs at an average of 70 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is very impressive, as we can make out textures on objects, and the depth works quite well. This isn't the best looking 4K which I've seen, but it comes pretty close. The Disc carries a Dolby Atmos audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 6.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This is a powerful track and as one would expect, each punch and explosion hits with a thud in the subwoofer. The surround and stereo channels are kept plenty busy with the cars and bullets zipping by and sound moves very smoothly from the front to the rear and back.

The Mission: Impossible - Fallout 4K UHD contains three AUDIO COMMENTARIES. The first is from Director Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise. The second features McQuarrie and Editor Eddie Hamilton. The final chat has Composer Lorne Balfe. The remainder of the special features are found on Blu-ray Disc 2. "Behind the Fallout" (54 minutes) is a seven-part featurette which examines many facets of the movie and its production. We are treated to comments from McQuarrie, the cast, and other members of the creative team, as well as a wealth of on-set footage. The piece looks at the stunts, the locations, and the big set-pieces. "Deleted Scenes Montage" (4 minutes) is a brief selection of cut scenes which can be watched with commentary by McQuarrie and Hamilton. "Foot Chase Musical Breakdown" (5 minutes) has Balfe walking us through the score choices for a certain scene, breaking the piece down to its core components. "The Ultimate Mission" (3 minutes) is a reel of stunts and action moments from the film, which Cruise offering commentary on how much of the action is real. The extras are rounded out by STORYBOARDS for three scenes and a THEATRICAL TRAILER.

Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long