Review for Mission Impossible
A mission to Prague to prevent a list of spies getting into the wrong hands goes horribly wrong when an IMF team is wiped out, with Ethan Hunt the only apparent survivor. There’s obviously a mole on the inside, and through process of elimination, Ethan Hunt is the prime suspect. That doesn’t bode well for his immediate future. His only choice is to go rogue, steal the list himself, and try to sell it in order to smoke out the real traitor. But he can’t do it alone. He’s going to need some help, some disreputable help.
Mission Impossible gets a 2.35:1 widescreen 1080p transfer on this disc. It’s a fair transfer, which given all the little white fleck and pops on the print, was probably taken from the same source as the DVD. The image is clear and sharp for the most part, colour reproduction is decent, and there is certainly the impressive upgrade in detail that you’d expect from an HD presentation. Having said that, detail levels could still be better, while there are moments of softness, apparent certainly in the mid-distance shots, while I did notice some compression on a foggy Prague riverbank at night.
Things are a little more disappointing in the audio department, as the only choices here are lossy, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround English, German and French, albeit at 640kbps, along with subtitles in those languages. The surround is adequate; the action comes across well, although it isn’t a particularly immersive or dynamic sound design. Explosions are meaty enough though, and the iconic music comes across well.
There are extras on this disc, which presents its content with an animated menu. Most of them are film appropriate featurettes alternating with little snippets on actual spy-craft.
Mission Remarkable – 40 Years of Creating the Impossible lasts 11:26, looks at the first three Mission Impossible films with interviews with the cast and crew.
Mission: Explosive Exploits lasts 5:09 and looks at stunts in the first film.
Mission: Spies Among Us lasts 8:40 and looks at real life intelligence agents.
Mission: Catching the Train lasts 2:39.
Mission: International Spy Museum lasts 6:39.
Mission: Agent Dossiers offers some textual character bios.
Excellence In Film (9:15), and Generation: Cruise (3:36) are a couple of tributes to Tom Cruise.
There is a Photo Gallery, and in Mission: Marketing, two theatrical trailers and 9 TV Spots.
All except the two theatrical trailers are presented in 480i SD format.
The Mission Impossible movie is still a fun piece of entertainment, an enjoyable way to while away a couple of hours. But now more than ever it seems such a schizophrenic movie. It’s the epitome of dumb-smart entertainment. You have stylish and strong direction from Brian De Palma, and you have a well put together, engaging thriller storyline, typical spy antics with crosses and double-crosses, misdirection and obfuscation, lies and twisted truths, and with no one being what they appear to be. But when the movie gets dumb, it gets dumb really fast, first committing the usual Hollywood crime of not knowing how computers work at all, except as how the plot requires them to, and the utter embarrassment of getting the Channel Tunnel utterly wrong, two years after it actually opened.
One of the smartest things that Mission Impossible does is that it casts recognisable names and faces for the team at the start of the film. It’s not such a big deal now, 20 years down the line, but back when I first saw it in the cinema, and was introduced to a team consisting of Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Beart, Kristin Scott Thomas and Emilio Estevez, alongside Tom Cruise, I expected that kind of star power to have some legs to it, only by the end of the opening act, Tom Cruise is the last one of his team left, and he’s on the run. It’s a development that really does wrong-foot you the first time you see the film.
The characters are strong in a story that makes sense. You can imagine the disillusionment of an intelligence agent who might see his career winding down, indeed his whole business winding down with the end of the cold war, and how that might motivate someone to turn against his country in order to fund a retirement plan. How this film sets up the characters, and how they interplay as the plot’s twists and machinations unfurl make this a very watchable film. But just when the characters really grab you, the film does something stupid to throw you off. The often parodied CIA break-in is one example, Hollywood computers at their most wrong, and to top it off the Channel Tunnel climax is the silliest note to end the film on.