Though they’ve all been entertaining, some Mission Impossible movies have certainly been better than others. But while Mission Impossible Rogue Nation comes in at the top of the middle, and its Blu-ray follows suit, its DVD edition leaves a lot to be desired. Like parity.
When Mission Impossible Rogue Nation begins, Ethan Hunt (Edge Of Tomorrow‘s Tom Cruise) and the rest of his IMF team —The Avengers‘ Jeremy Renner, Star Trek‘s Simon Pegg, and Pulp Fiction‘s Ving Rhames — have just stolen VX nerve gas from some terrorists, and Hunt is getting his next assignment. But when he listens to the message that will self-destruct in five seconds, he’s told that the criminal organization they’ve been tracking, The Syndicate, is on to him, and they’ve left him this message…along with some knockout gas. He wakes up just in time to be tortured, but manages to escape with help from a disavowed, and rather spry, British agent (The White Queen‘s Rebecca Ferguson), only to learn that the IMF has been shut down by the director of the CIA (30 Rock‘s Alec Baldwin) because of things they did in the previous movie, 2011’s Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. Mission Impossible Rogue Nation then flashes ahead six months, with Hunt trying to expose The Syndicate while running from the CIA.
What follows — as you’ll no doubt expect if you’ve seen any of the previous films — is an action-packed thrill ride full of explosive action, international intrigue, death-defying stunts, James Bond-like gadgets, and classic spy misdirection. It even has a bit of situational humor, and not just in the form of snarky comments by Pegg, as well as fun bit that recalls a scene from the first (and still best) Mission Impossible movie.
It also helps that Mission Impossible Rogue Nation has a solid cast. Cruise is as great as Hunt here as he has been in all the other films, and the same goes for Pegg and Rhames. But the real delight is Ferguson, who’s not only magnetic, but also wonderfully acrobatic. Not since Halle Berry in Die Another Day has a supposedly male-dominated spy flick been so actually dominated by a woman.
Mission Impossible Rogue Nation is also beautifully shot and paced by director Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher), who also co-wrote the screenplay. But what makes it so much fun is that the bad guys are just as skilled as Hunt and his pals, and are working an intricate, multi-tiered conspiracy that would never work in the real world, but is still fun to watch unfold.
That said, it is a little tiresome that so many of the Mission Impossible movies are not about the IMF doing their job, but are about the IMF being dismantled or taken down. It’s also too bad that there only one quick bit of the mask-wearing that was a tenet of the TV show, but has come up a bit too sparingly in the movies. Still, these are minor annoyances, and ones you won’t think of until after you’re done watching the movie.
While Mission Impossible Rogue Nation is a solid action flick, it still works well on the small screen, if you watch it on Blu-ray. On DVD, though, well, that’s another matter.
The film looks great on Blu-ray, as crisp and clean as you’d expect a modern film to look. More importantly, it not only sounds great but it also sounds balanced. While so many film Blu-rays use the same sound volume mix that was done for the theatrical version, which requires you to keep one hand on the remote because on a home set-up the loud parts are too loud and the soft part are too soft, that’s thankfully not the case with the Mission Impossible Rogue Nation Blu-ray.
The Mission Impossible Rogue Nation Blu-ray also includes a bunch of cool extras. To start, it has a commentary by Cruise and McQuarrie that is both informative and entertaining, in large part because the two were in the same room at the same time, and interaction between participants always makes commentaries work better.
Next, the Mission Impossible Rogue Nation Blu-ray has seven making-of featurettes: “Lighting The Fuse,” a six-minute look at how the film came together, and with McQuarrie at the helm; “Cruise Control,” which spends six-an-a-half minutes talking about Tom Cruise’s role in making this movie; an eight-minute piece on Hunt’s teammates called “Heroes…”; “Cruising Altitude,” an eight-an-half-minute-long look at the plane scene; “Mission: Immersible,” which spends nearly seven minutes on the underwater sequence; a five-and-a-half-minute piece on the car and motorcycle chase scene called “Sand Theft Auto”; and “The Missions Continue,” a seven-minute-look at the entire Mission Impossible film series. As is always the case with these things, all of these featurettes a mix of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew. And while they’re all entertaining and educational, they should’ve been combined into a single making-of featurette.
It also would’ve been nice if the Mission Impossible Rogue Nation Blu-ray had included the original trailers. And, while they’re at it, the trailers for the other Mission Impossible movies as well as one for the free Mission Impossible Rogue Nation iOS and Android mobile game.
As for the Mission Impossible Rogue Nation DVD, sadly, all it has are trailers for 13 Hours and Terminator Genisys, an anti-smoking PSA, and a commercial for the other Mission Impossible movie Blu-rays. It doesn’t have the commentary, nor any of the featurettes. Which is just sad.
While the Mission Impossible Rogue Nation DVD is inexcusably lacking, the Blu-ray mostly does a good job of presenting this exciting action flick as it should be seen: with clean picture, balanced sound, and extras that show how it all came together.