Keeping franchise film series running for nearly two decades is no small feat and yet somehow Tom Cruise has managed to make the Mission: Impossible brand consistently strong for five films now. That’s credited in part to the revolving door of directing talent that Cruise has used for each film, from Brian DePalma, to John Woo, J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird. For the latest film Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (released on Blu-ray/DVD December 15, 2015 from Paramount Pictures), Cruise re-teams with his Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie (who was part of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol as a non-credited writer).
This time out, Rogue Nation finds Cruise’s Ethan Hunt squarely involved tracking a shadowy organization known as The Syndicate while his covert company IMF is being scrutinized by the U.S. Government and on the verge of being shut down permanently. Using a handful of his IMF allies (Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg), Hunt has to move fast to take down the head of The Syndicate (Sean Harris) and solve the puzzle of the mysterious Syndicate female agent (Rebecca Ferguson) who might or might not be on his side.
If you’ve seen any of the other Mission: Impossible films than Rogue Nation serves up the same satisfying meal. The film is slickly directed by McQuarrie and full of thrilling action scenes, hallmark franchise moments and solid entertainment value all around. Cruise still deserves high marks of his physical commitment to the series and performing the most insane of stunts for entertainment, but Rogue Nation also has a nice touch of depth and character with Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust. She is a very strong and engaging female character (complete with twists and double crosses) with the capability of holding a movie all on her own. Hopefully this is not the last we see of her.
Presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio, Rogue Nation looks as perfect as expected for a recent Paramount Blu-ray release. The stylized color palette pops very nicely while image detail and textures are top-notch. Nearly all of the film’s CGI effects blend in fairly well with the live-action footage. Rogue Nation doesn’t have any glaring digital imperfections (edge enhancement, excessive DNR, banding, compression artifacts) and as a result we get a visual presentation similar or equal to most theatrical showings. A standard definition DVD is also part of the edition.
The TrueHD 7.1 audio track (which actually defaults to a Dolby Atmos mix if you’re equipped for the new format) adds more than enough weight to give Rogue Nation a formidable presence from start to finish. Surround activity is very frequent with crisp separation, plenty of LFE punch, strong dynamic range, plus crystal-clear dialogue that’s balanced well for smaller home theater setups. There’s obviously a lot going on during the film and this Blu-ray will most certainly keep your ears fully entertained.
On the bonus end is a feature-length Audio Commentary with Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie, which is informative and interesting coming from the two most prominent creators of the film. The two speak comfortablly with one another; Rogue Nation is their fourth collaboration, and McQuarrie is reportedly touted to return for the next installment. As such, it’s a laid-back and enjoyable track filled with production details, personal stories, trivia tidbits, and some laughs.
The rest is a collection of vaguely promotional Featurettes similar to those found on past releases. These are mostly self-explanatory and include “Lighting the Fuse” (Cruise and McQuarrie discuss story and film structure), “Cruise Control” (Cruise’s role as a producer is explored), “Heroes” (a look at the supporting IMF team members), “Cruising Altitude” (the airplane stunt sequence that opens the film), “Mission: Immersible” (training for the underwater sequence), “Sand Theft Auto” (motorbike and car driving training/sequences), and “The Missions Continue” (final thoughts on why Cruise keeps coming back to the series); key participants include Cruise, McQuarrie, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, and more.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is a solidly entertaining entry on the M:I series that gives a viewer and fan exactly what they are looking for. Cruise’s continuing dedication as he ages with the addition of Ferguson to the cast makes Rogue Nation a slight cut above the rest and it holds well for the franchise’s future. The Blu-ray/DVD edition is a very good offering for fans that gives one quite a bit to chew on, from both the technical and supplemental side of things.