NOTE: Throughout the review, I included screens from both the 2007 release and 2021 release.
Cruise stars as Ethan Hunt, a secret agent 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. – Synopsis via Paramount Pictures
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE is the 1996 film directed by Brian DePalma and based on the popular TV series of the same name. There is a small CIA team that uses these limited gadgets to accomplish its mission. The only super tech gadgets are the masks and the C4 gum. This is arguably the entry that is the most like a spy film with the classic heist in the middle and a solid plot twist. It is also the most serious of the entries with the big action being in the third act. The cast is excellent and diverse with all of the skill sets to come together as a team. Tom Cruise in particular is intense and makes Ethen Hunt. I don’t think I could imagine anyone else in the role.
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Jon Voight as Jim Phelps
Emmanuelle Béart as Claire Phelps
Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell
Vanessa Redgrave as Max
Henry Czerny as Eugene Kittridge
Jean Reno as Franz Krieger
The video is a 1080p AVC presentation that looks stunning. A little background the movie, this was a part of Paramount’s initial run of movies on the Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats. The video was riddled with EE and some of the finer details have that old smear that early releases had. The latest 4k release and this Blu-ray were made from a new master that cleaned up the video and corrected the color timing. It is much closer to what the film looked like in 1996 with the colors looking warmer than the previous releases. Probably the best example is the cleanroom at Langley when the floor is lit up. The light is a bright white and in the new transfer, the light is mildly warmer. Other whites are bright too. This can be said for all of the colors in the film including skin tones. Another notable change is in the lack of EE and the return of the natural film grain. Facial details and lines are clean with stronger textures in every way. Fabrics are more visible and skin imperfections, as well as pores, do the same. Blacks are inky and create come solid contrast in the images. This is a huge step up from any Blu-ray release before it.
The audio is a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix that is the same as the 4k release. The previous release was a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that was the same as the DVD that came out some years before it. This is a much more lively mix with everything from the score to the effects and even the dialogue seems to have a stronger presence. This is a dialogue-heavy film with action peppered in. The score is loud horns, quick snare drums, and a variety of woodwinds that set the tone of the film. Good examples of well-done effects are when the aquarium explodes and the entire finale on the train.
SUPPLEMENTS & PACKAGING
-Mission: Remarkable: 40 years of Creating the Impossible
-Mission: Explosive Exploits
-Mission: Spies Among Us
-Mission: Catching the Train
-Mission: International Spy Museum
-Mission: Agent Dossiers
-Excellence in Film
1 Blu-ray Disc
Slipcover included with the initial release
IMF Car Decal
1080p AVC MPEG-4
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1
THE BOTTOM LINE
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE is a pioneer in the spy film genre by influencing films like The Bourne films and Daniel Craig’s time as 007. This also pushed Tom Cruise’s career into the stratosphere. As for the release, the audio is a huge improvement but the video is incredible. The meticulous care in remastering this release is not overlooked. The extras are all the same as the other editions so there is nothing new for the anniversary. If you’re looking for a solid movie and a strong spy film, this is worth watching. As for the remaster on this new release, this is a huge change and there is no reason to miss out on this one.