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Christopher McQuarrie
Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Ving Rhames, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Michael Nyqvist
Writing Credits:
Christopher McQuarrie

The IMF is shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name.

Box Office:
$145 million.
Opening Weekend
$29,556,629 on 3,448 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby Atmos
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Description
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 131 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 12/15/2015

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Christopher McQuarrie and Actor Tom Cruise
• “Lighting the Fuse” Featurette
• “Cruise Control” Featurette
• “Heroes…” Featurette
• “Cruising Altitude” Featurette
• “Mission: Immersible” Featurette
• “Sand Theft Auto” Featurette
• “The Missions Continue” Featurette
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 30, 2015)

Back in 1996, the Mission: Impossible TV series “rebooted” as a cinematic franchise – though not an especially active one. We get a new Impossible every four to six years, and as slow-paced as that schedule may be, it seems to work.

Sure, the series dipped in popularity with 2006’s Mission: Impossible 3, a flick that did okay at the box office but no better than that. However, it should be noted that MI3 hit screens at star Tom Cruise’s commercial nadir, as his extracurricular antics alienated a lot of viewers.

Without Cruise’s nutty behavior, I suspect MI3 would’ve been a bigger hit, and the success of the subsequent two films adds credence to that theory. 2011’s Ghost Protocol earned nearly $700 million worldwide, and 2015’s Rogue Nation wound up with almost identical grosses.

I liked MI3 a lot but felt less enchanted with the erratic Ghost Protocol. Nonetheless, I looked forward to Rogue Nation - I heard positive reaction to it so I figured it might bolster the franchise.

To pay for alleged indiscretions, CIA leader Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) convinces a Senate committee to disband the secret Impossible Mission Force (IMF). Despite this action, IMF Agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) refuses to abandon his current mission: an attempt to infiltrate and stop a powerful “shadow” organization called the Syndicate. We follow Ethan’s efforts, especially as they involve the mysterious operative Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a character whose motives and allegiances seem murky.

One unusual aspect of the Mission: Impossible films relates to the creative groups behind them. Five movies, five directors, five screenwriting teams – that’s a level of variation virtually unprecedented for a franchise such as this.

If I liked the series more than I do, I might not care for all the changes behind the camera, but as I’ve mentioned in prior reviews, I’ve remained a lukewarm fan of the Impossible films. Prior to Rogue Nation, only MI3 stood out as particularly memorable; the other three offered movies I found to be varying levels of “okay”.

One frequent negative I associate with the Impossible films comes from the usual absence of strong villains. Outside of MI3’s Owen Davian, the Impossible baddies tend to be bland and forgettable.

Does Rogue Nation’s Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) alter that template? Yes - to a decent degree, at least. I don’t think Lane offers a great villain, but Harris plays him as such a cold customer that he makes a reasonable impact. His detached sense of cruelty allows him to become better than most of his predecessors.

In terms of new cast, Rogue Nation benefits most from the presence of Ferguson. As with the villains, I don’t think the prior Impossible movies came with especially memorable leading ladies, but Ferguson changes that, and does so in a major way.

Honestly, Ferguson carries much of Rogue Nation. Ethan may be our lead hero, but the film most comes to life when he interacts with Ilsa. Ferguson creates a strong, intriguing agent who proves to be sly, sexy and delightful at all times. She’s a revelation.

I will admit that Rogue Nation drags a bit during its first act. Sure, we get a smattering of good action sequences – the opening infiltration of a plane, Ethan’s first meeting with Ilsa – but the story doesn’t seem all that engaging through the initial 40 minutes or so.

Once we go to Austria, however, the movie kicks into higher gear. Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie stages a potential assassination plot in an opera house with wonderful aplomb. Stylish and exciting, this may become the movie’s best scene. McQuarrie channels Hitchcock but avoids obvious imitation, and he gives us a highly memorable sequence.

After that, the movie continues without many lulls. McQuarrie provides Rogue Nation with a simple but effective plot that allows for a mix of twists but never becomes convoluted. That tended to be an issue with the earlier films: they’d bog the viewer down with pointless story elements that just turned into a drag.

McQuarrie avoids that. Sure, we get some semi-murky spy nonsense, but the main story remains concise. Ethan needs to stop the Syndicate: game, set, match. Everything else fleshes out that narrative but doesn’t make the tale messy or turgid.

All of this sums up to a highly satisfying experience. Even with the slightly sluggish first act, Rogue Nation presents a terrific array of action and adventure sequences. Five films into the series, those behind Mission: Impossible manage to find plenty of new tricks, and those turn this into arguably the best Mission yet.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus C+

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not a killer presentation, Rogue Nation usually looked strong.

Sharpness worked fine most of the time. Some interiors looked a bit soft, but those remained infrequent, so the majority of the film was accurate and well-defined. I saw no signs of jaggies or moiré effects, and the film lacked edge haloes or print flaws.

If you suspected Rogue NAtion would come with the modern standard teal and orange palette, you’ll get what you expected, though not to an extreme. While the flick went with those overtones, they didn’t overwhelm; indeed, the orange bordered on amber. I’d like to see action flicks dispense with those conceits, but given their restraints, they looked fine here.

Blacks came across nicely. Dark tones were deep and rich, without any muddiness or problems. In addition, low-light shots gave us smooth, clear visuals. All in all, this became a pleasing presentation.

I also felt happy with the solid Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Rogue Nation. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the mix offered plenty of opportunities for lively auditory information, and it took good advantage of these. From the opening scene on a plane to road chases to gunfire to explosions to other action elements, the mix filled the speakers on a frequent basis. The track placed information in logical spots and blended all the channels in a smooth, compelling manner.

Audio quality was also positive. Music sounded lively and full, while effects delivered accurate material. Those elements showed nice clarity and kick, with tight low-end. Speech was always distinctive and concise, too. This mix worked well for the film.

As we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Christopher McQuarrie and actor Tom Cruise. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at stunts and action, cast and performances, sets and locations, music and cinematography, story/character areas, and related topics.

If you heard the McQuarrie/Cruise commentary for Jack Reacher, you’ll know exactly what to expect from their chat for Rogue Nation. In fact, both tracks showed so many similarities that I felt tempted to cut and paste my Reacher remarks – they’re virtually identical in terms of strengths and weaknesses.

On the negative side, the commentary becomes a lovefest too much of the time. We find a lot of praise for all involved, a trend that continues literally through the very end of the film; Cruise and McQuarrie shovel out the praise firmly into the credits.

Despite the tedium of the happy talk, we learn a fair amount about the movie here. As was the case with Reacher, McQuarrie gives us the majority of the content. Cruise throws out some good nuggets as well – usually related to his stunt work – but the writer/director carries the heaviest load, and he does well. Even with all the praise, the commentary provides a pretty informative discussion that merits the viewer’s time.

The disc also includes seven featurettes. We find Lighting the Fuse (5:57), Cruise Control (6:33), Heroes… (8:06). Cruising Altitude (8:23), Mission: Immersible (6:45), Sand Theft Auto (5:35) and The Missions Continue (7:08). In these, we hear from McQuarrie, Cruise, producers JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk and Don Granger, editor Eddie Hamilton, supervising art director Paul Inglis, executive producer Jake Myers, stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood, Airbus military defense advisor Tony Toner, production designer Jim Bissell, visual effects supervisor David Vickery, underwater DOP Peter Romano, freediving expert Kirk Krack, divemaster Dave Monroe, 2nd unit director Gregg Smrz, supervising sound editor James Mather, and actors Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson.

The featurettes look at story/character/script choices, action and stunts, Cruise’s work as producer, cast and performances, effects, and the series’ continuation. In these clips, we get a mix of good facts/footage and a lot of praise. We learn enough to make the segments worth a look, but expect a lot of hyperbole along the way.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Rogue Nation. It includes previews but lacks any of the Blu-ray’s extras.

After a lackluster fourth film, the Mission: Impossible franchise bounces back with the exciting Rogue Nation. The movie boasts many fun action scenes as well as a lot of intrigue along the way. The Blu-ray delivers very good picture, excellent audio and a decent collection of supplements. Paramount brings us a high-quality Blu-ray for an exciting adventure.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.9333 Stars Number of Votes: 15
2 3:
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