There was a brief period of time in my life back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s where I just wasn’t a fan of Tom Cruise. Maybe it was his relationship with Katie Holmes, or maybe it was all his scientology crap, I don’t know, but I just couldn’t watch his films for awhile (with the exception of Minority Report). I remember catching Mission: Impossible III one late night on a Dell Latitude laptop (yuck!) while working third shift in a data center, but other than that I had no idea what I was missing out on. Then came news of Tom scaling one of the tallest buildings in the world in Dubai in the fourth entry of this series, and that was all it took. My butt was definitely in a theater chair to see that. Ever since that Tom Cruise can do no wrong in my books churning out incredible flicks left and right like Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow, just to name a few.
So here we are. It’s 2015. Who could have ever predicted this franchise go beyond three films, nonetheless the fifth one we are gathered here today to talk about. Well it’s true. There is a fifth Mission: Impossible film (and there will be a sixth one too), believe it or not, and it’s dubbed Rogue Nation. It’s written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie and I for one am glad to see Brad Bird not returning to the chair this go around. After Tomorrowland he should be making movies with the Wachowski brothers, but I digress.
In my opinion, what makes all the difference in the world here is the fact that the fictional character of IMF Agent Ethan Hunt is back and played by none other than the ageless vampire, Tom Cruise, and that they didn’t do a switcharoo like they did with us in the Bourne films. I can definitely get behind that! Thank you fellow filmmakers and Tom Cruise. And fret not fellow Mission: Impossible fans. Word on the street has a sixth picture in the franchise already being developed. Wow!
The cast of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation rounds out with the likes of Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, America Olivio and more. However, let’s not kid ourselves. Sure the chemistry of the cast is important for a good time in these adventures, but what makes these films are the death defying stunts Mr. Tom Cruise puts himself in. Who needs a stunt double for a vampire? I know, right! All you need is a huge insurance policy and Mr. Cruise will hang out of windows of planes for you. I kid you not. Let’s talk about that some more because if nothing else than a casual fan of the series, these death defying stunts that Cruise performs are really what draw me in. I’m not going to lie. I’m a sucker for these.
So yes, Tom Cruise hangs out of a real moving airplane that’s REALY taking off. And yes, that’s him hanging from the airplane up in the air. Alright, there’s plenty of cables and harnesses secretly holding him in like Spider-Man, but that’s actually the vampire of the hour here performing his own stunts, not a double. The word impressive doesn’t even come close to describing how remarkable Tom is. I don’t even want to think about how much scenes like this cost to insure. I did not do any research to see what kind of agreement Tom commits to when doing these kind of death defying stunts, but the man is crazy. He has to be to do something like that with all his fame and notoriety going for him. And then there’s another scene too where Tom defies life itself once again. It’s rumored that Tom trained with diving specialist Kirk Krack to learn how to hold his breath for over five minutes straight. I don’t know how possible that really is, but there is an underwater sequence here which supposedly was filmed in a single long take. If true, the word impressive doesn’t even cut it again.
I don’t know how to sugar coat my next statement so I guess I’m just going to come right out and say it. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is exactly the kind of movie I wish the two Bond films were post Casino Royale. It has it all: charm, action, wit, adventure, a whiff of romance, a mad, crafty villain and most importantly, humor and infused fun. And best of all for me, as I mentioned up above, no energy zapping, which Brad Bird did to me in the movie title that shall not be mentioned anymore. I stayed awake for this one and wow did the motorcycle chase ever put me on the edge of my seat. Bravo, Mr. McQuarrie. Bravo! That was heart pounding. When Tom scrapes his knee leaning into a turn I feel it. This is by far the most action packed flick behind Mad Max: Fury Road. Therefore, I dub Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation the “#2 Action Movie of the Year.”
So let’s do this. Let’s spend a paragraph talking about what it’s all about. Then I’ll go into what I loved and didn’t like too much about the film, which SPOILER ALERT — isn’t a lot in the latter category. Finally, we’ll cap things off with a nice summary of everything covered here. How does that sound to you? Sound like a plan? Good! I’m glad! Now let’s get started!
The IMF agency we have all come to know and love over the past four films has now, I guess you can say once again, come under threat yet again (yes I know I used the same word twice in a sentence). This time it’s from the Syndicate, a “mythical” organization of assassins and rogue operatives who were thought to be deceased, killed in action, MIA or all of the above. This makes Ethan Hunt (Cruise) a fugitive. Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg’s characters on the other hand are now working with the CIA to track Ethan down. But are they really? Are they really on the side of the CIA or are they out to help their best friend, Ethan? Meanwhile, Ethan surfaces and needs help in bringing the Syndicate down and obviously needs to avoid being caught by the CIA too. Therefore, he assembles his rogue team for what could be their final and most difficult IMF mission. They desire to not only prove the Syndicate’s existence, but bring them down by whatever means possible. Without venturing into spoiler territory, that’s pretty much the nuts and bolts of the story at least.
So as I kind of already mentioned up above, what Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation has going for it most of all is its FUN Factor. It’s just a good time folks. It’s hard to have a bad time with this one. It has something for everyone from the remarkable chemistry and hysterical looks the trio of Pegg, Renner and Cruise all give each other to the badass female antagonist (or is she a friendly) who movie reviewer Craig Kandiko nailed it when he quipped, she should have been selected as Wonder Woman in the new DC Comics movie universe. I couldn’t agree more with his sentiments there. No offense to Gal Gadot, but Rebecca Ferguson has all the right goods in all the right places and man can she ever kick a$$. She would fill out that Wonder Woman outfit nicely (see the yellow dress scene in this Mission: Impossible movie), but I digress.
I made mention up above that this complaint paragraph would be very small, and I’ll deliver on my promise. I guess if I had to pick just one, my biggest complaint about Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation would be that it feels like a re-hash of the other films. I mean how many masks can you employ? How many times can one escape from a prison? How many times will IMF be underwater? You get the idea, BUT if no one minds a second Death Star, then who the hell cares, right? It’s all about having a good time and I promise that if you can get past these similar storylines from the other films, you’ll still manage to have a helluva good time with this one. Just sit back, pop some popcorn in your mouth and enjoy the non-stop action ride Cruise and gang takes you on.
Now let’s not forget the good ones that have come before this summer movie season like Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World or even Ant-Man, but ladies and gentlemen this is the final summer 2015 blockbuster you’ve been waiting for on Blu-ray (well Ant-Man on Dec. 8th too). It’s the real deal. Leave it to Tom Cruise to once again deliver (see last year’s Edge of Tomorrow). His stunts alone are worth the price of the Blu-ray physical media. But you’re not here just for Cruise are you? No! You’re here for Pegg, Renner, a memorable villain, maybe a sexy a$$-kicking vixen and a wild, high-octane, thrill ride story to boot. Check, check, check, check and check! Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation leaves no stone unturned. This is the Bond we deserve. No wait! This is the Mission:Impossible we deserve. Get it while its hot in retail stores everywhere!
- Encoding: AVC MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p
- Layers: BD-50
- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Clarity/Detail: Clarity and detail are second to none throughout here. It’s absolutely crazy how chiseled and razor sharp things are in the presentation from the pores, acne scars and stubble on actors to the individual blades of grass, set details and cityscapes (with stones that look so real I think I can climb on them). I can go on and on, but this is one of the finest presentations I have seen on Blu-ray this year. It ranks right up there with Mad Max: Fury Road and the third Hobbit Blu-ray.
- Depth: Equally as strong as the clarity and detail mentioned up above is the insane depth of field in this picture. Examples that come to mind include the opening scene in the vast field of grass where Benji lies, the opera house, cityscapes, the desert in Casablanca, Morocco and I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. It doesn’t hurt either that the characters all have stupendous Blu-ray three-dimensional pop going on that literally separates them from the background.
- Black Levels: Black levels are incredibly deep and inky throughout.
- Color Reproduction: The colors pop. That’s just it. They change with the tonal qualities of the particular scene, but when they are allowed they literally just pop with vibrancy, boldness and richness.
- Flesh Tones: The skin tones are all natural looking and authentic.
- Noise/Artifacts: There’s not a single thing to complain about here. Everything is in check and immaculate in this Blu-ray presentation. I’m cuckoo for it all!
- Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
- Dynamics: This one is a real zinger and I mean that n the absolute best way. Everything sounds amazing throughout from the quietest of dialog moments to the loud ferocity of a plane taking off with Tom Cruise attached to it. I honestly can’t say enough good things about this one. I was both amazed and captivated by this Blu-ray viewing experience.
- Low Frequency Extension: The LFE is where it’s at here. It serves as a complementary balance point in the score and ambient effects category, but it also becomes a monster in its own right when called upon. Brilliant LFE moments that come to mind include the plane engines revving and taking off, doors slamming, car bombs, heartbeats underwater and the list goes on and on and on.
- Surround Sound Presentation: Equally exceptional is this track’s surround presentation from bullets spraying all around you down the escape tunnel to the high speed chase in the streets of Morocco. One of the most outstanding scenes had to be all the events that go down at the opera house where that infamous yellow dress also appears.
- Dialogue Reproduction: Spoken words are loud and clear throughout.
The Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Blu-ray Combo Pack with Digital HD is loaded with cast and crew interviews and most importantly an audio commentary by Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie. Plus, get an inside look at the movie’s incredible stunts, including the jaw-dropping Airbus stunt, the nail-biting underwater sequence and the riveting Moroccan car and motorcycle chase, and much more. And to even sweeten the deal more, the Combo Pack includes access to a Digital HD copy of the film (iTunes and UltraViolet compatible) as well as the feature film in standard definition on the DVD companion. There may not look like much, but believe me the below extras are worth their weight in gold. If you’re a fan of this film and the action sequences throughout, make sure you check these extras out!
- Lighting the Fuse (HD, 5:58) – Chris and Tom talk about the inception of the story, original visions, the story itself, what they learned from Jack Reacher and the decision to ultimately move forward with it all here. It’s interesting to learn how they were constantly re-writing and re-working this film during the shoot itself.
- Cruise Control (HD, 6:34) – This one sees Tom talking about his love of making movies, Tom as a producer (of the best kind too), Tom on press tours, Tom providing people want they want out of these movies and most importantly the action. It’s simply an amazing experience to watch how involved Tom is with everything. I honestly don’t know how he does it all.
- Heroes… (HD, 8:07) – This one chats about the friendship of the heroes on the IMF team and how the movies progressed in regards to these dynamics.
- Cruising Altitude (HD, 8:24) – Here you go! This is the extra you want! It’s all about the stunts and how absolutely crazy Tom Cruise is. LOL. They even say in this extra they don’t know how Tom Cruise gets the insurance to do it. Haha. I love it! There were so many safety measures involved that you probably wouldn’t even think of, including birds, stones, etc. Worst of all, this was shot in the winter too. Believe it or not, this one shot was eight takes. Absolutely incredible! I’m not sure how they can ever top this in the next film.
- Mission: Immersible (HD, 6:45) – This one is all about the underwater work. Tom said previously to this he never did an extended underwater sequence before. This one is all about the 6.5 minute long breath holds. How the hell can anyone do this? Tom admits how challenging this sequence was and how much he learned about his body. Again, this is completely unbelievable.
- Sand Theft Auto (HD, 5:35) – This one is all about the car and motorcycle chases and the training and safety measure protocols involved.
- The Missions Continue (HD, 7:09) – This one kind of takes a cohesive look at all the films in the Mission Impossible franchise and the individual focus of each one’s direction, not to mention all the little easter eggs along the way.
Hailed as “relentlessly thrilling” (Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly) and filled with “jaw-dropping stunts” (our buddy Scott Mendelson, Forbes), the global hit Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation takes off on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand December 15, 2015 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. Don’t you think you should be part of all this top notch Blu-ray action too? Of course you do! Here’s how you prepare. If you like everything you read up above, click here now to pre-order and have Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation waiting on your doorstep December 15th when you come home from the office. How’s that for rewarding yourself? Hurry! Click here now as this Blu-ray review will self destruct in T minus 5 seconds.