Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One


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Movie: :4stars:
4K Video: :4.5stars:
Video:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :3.5stars:
Final Score: :4stars:



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Movie

Back in 1996 I don’t think that I ever imagined that the Mission Impossible series was going to span nearly as many films as the Fast and the Furious franchise, racking up at LEAST 8 films over a 30 year period. I don’t even think I ever saw the series getting past part 3 really. But somehow Christopher McQuarrie turned a “finished” off franchise into one of the longest running spy film series in existence by crafting a trilogy of serious spy thrillers that put Ethan Hunt back in the driver’s seat. Well, it also didn’t help that Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust was an incredible foil to team up with the rogue agent. But even I thought that Tom Cruise was going to hang up his hat after #6 wrapped up the rogue nation story line. But noooooooo, Cruise is continuing to prove to everyone in the world that he’s one of the last remaining movie stars left in Hollywood that people will still continually show up to see ONLY because he’s in a film.

Dead Reckoning picks up after the events of Rogue Nation, with an even BIGGER threat to the world. This time it’s the rebound effect of human hubris. The United States government had created the perfect computer AI system. A system that could infect and alter any information source attached to the web, alter the source to fit it’s programming, and then disappear without a trace. Basically the perfect covert operative in a digital age. However, the AI somehow figured out a way to rewrite itself, giving autonomy where none was meant to exist, and then systematically went rouge during a test of a soviet submarine in an effort to gauge how well it worked. The entity (as it is now known) decided to blow the sub to bits, trapping itself on the bottom of the ocean floor inside of the sub.

Fast forward to the a year or so later, and the head of State (played by our sweet Wesley….errr. Cary Elwes) is finding out about the creation of the program and the fact that it has gone rogue. The Entity has garnered itself acolytes in the form of Gabriel (Esai Morales) and is mobilizing to find the one thing that could actually hurt it. A 2 part key that opens itself up to vulnerabilities (which we’re not privy to until the end of the film) and that key is being put on the open market. Now it’s up to Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team (Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg reprising their rolesl as Luther and Benji) to hunt down the key before Gabriel can get his hands on it, and destroy the entity before the world suffers the fate of a rogue AI bent on world domination.

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Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning is a mixed back of events. On one hand Christopher McQuarrie most certainly knows how to stage an action movie. Dead Reckoning is fast paced and full of twists, turns, and exciting fight sequences that mimic how well he did with the Rogue Nation trilogy. HOWEVER, it is tainted by a few odd choices that left me scratching my head. For one the super serious nature of the previous films is not completely adhered to. Instead we get some weird attempts at physical gag humor throughout the movie (seriously, the entire yellow Fiat scene was like a snippet of Benny Hill almost), and of course the fact that the enemy is a giant maguffin. The super intelligent computer that can out think humans and is always one step ahead the entire time is one gigantic plot contrivance. I mean, think about it. The machine can out think, out maneuver and out fight out heroes at every step of the way. ESPECIALLY when you combine it with the fact that we know this is only part 1 of 2. Which means every fight, every battle, every twist along the way is already ingrained into your head with the knowledge that our heroes HAVE to lose until the very end. It’s predestined in both a super computers computations, but also in the fact that you know they can’t win until the second film is finished. And guess what, that’s exactly the pattern Dead Reckoning follows. Characters die off, new damsels in distress rise to take their place, and it’s not until the final moments of the movie that Ethan Hunt turns the tables on Gabriel and the Entity and leave hope for the 2nd film. I don’t blame the writers COMPLETELY, as it’s extremely difficult to pull off the super intelligent enemy who can outflank you. It can go your way, such as Grand Admiral Thrawn from the original Timothy Zahn Star Wars books, or it can just be eye roll worthy and a narrative crutch, as is the case here at times. But mostly most of the stakes didn't feel that important being that we already knew the outcome. It robbed the film of some of the tension knowing that no matter what our heroes did, nothing they did mattered until the end of the film. Ah well, it's a curse of that genre trope and hard to write around.

Now, after I’ve whined and moaned about the negatives, let me assure you that this is not a bad film. It simply was not as amazing as the 3 that came before it. Personally I would place it squarely between 2 and 3 for quality. Tom Cruise is still a powerhouse action star, and the man gives it his all as Ethan Hunt. At 61 years old he’s still doing insane stunts (yes, he actually drove a motorcycle off the edge of a cliff for this movie) and he completely gets lost in the character. Hayley Atwell actually does surprisingly well as the surrogate Isla Faust. She adds some flavor to the film and even though we know where her character will go (it’s telegraphed a mile away), having a thief added to the team is a nice flavor twist. Simultaneously it was a blast seeing Henry Czerny reprise his role as Kittridge from the first film. He was always a fan favorite for one the best Bad/Good guys in the franchise, and he does NOT disappoint at all.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some language and suggestive material.




4K Video: :4.5stars: Video:
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Dead Reckoning is actually the first of the Mission Impossible films to get a 100% digitally filmed release, and McQuarrie has done a decent job at adding faux film grain to the image to match the texture of the previous trilogy. It has some down sides (that I’ll mention in a second), but overall looks quite stunning on 4K UHD (sadly I can’t compare to the Blu-ray as Paramount is still not releasing combo packs). The film sports a really sharp and clean look, with amazing colors, great contrast and amazing detail levels. The end confrontation on the trail is especially rich and vibrant, with bright reds and golds and blues depending on the car that they’re in. Black levels are deep and inky, and the Dolby Vision application allows for such deep black levels that you get lost in them. Now, the one negative aspect to the film that I wasn’t wild about was that due to the fact that this is 100% digital with fake film grain, the grain itself doesn’t really look natural. I’ve never been a fan of added digital grain to emulate real film because the image can look a tad flat at times. Which is exactly what happens in some scenes. The scenes that are mostly devoid of color (the fight in the alley for example) tends to look a bit flat and the grain almost noisy and swarming. But all in all, this is still a tremendous looking 4K disc.








Audio: :5stars:
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Oh...my...goodness. Mission Impossible films rarely disappoint with the audio, but Dead Reckoning is a true MONSTER audio mix. Fully immersive, it hits from all angles with the Dolby Atmos mixing. Surrounds and mains equally get an incredible amount of use, with overheads getting discrete sounds ranging from the whipping of the overhead lights in the tunnel scene, or the thudding of helo blades as CIA agents take off after Ethan Hunt. The entire chase scene in Rome is superb, with sounds shifting from one part of the room to the other, and this amazing sense of being in the center of a hurricane of action. Personally, I’ve saved the best for last, though. The bass is absolutely MONSTROUS, and I’m talking insanely monstrous. The submarine impacting the ocean floor at the 7 minute (ish) mark actually caused port chuffing in my calibrated twin SVS PB-3000’s, and I NEVER get port chuffing due to the insane overhead I have with them outside of that stupid sine wave scene embedded in the opening of Edge of Tomorrow). And it doesn’t stop there, the agents sand storm with Ilsa, the agents taking off after hunt, and countless others absolutely vibrate every corner of the room until I had my wife coming in to tell me that I had vibrated pictures off her office walls half the house away. To put it succinctly, “wowza” is all I can say.












Extras: :3.5stars:
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Commentary by director Christopher McQuarrie and editor Eddie Hamilton—McQuarrie and Hamilton take viewers through each compelling scene with in-depth commentary.
Abu Dhabi—Explore the exotic filming locations in the desert and at the international airport and discover how each thrilling sequence was shot.
Rome—Take a behind-the-scenes look at the thrilling car chase through Italy's historic capital, as Tom Cruise's driving skills are pushed to the limit while handcuffed to Hayley Atwell!
Venice—See the breathtaking city of Venice as it's never been shown on film. Plus, witness the cast's dedication and commitment to their training as they prepare to get "Mission Ready."
Freefall—An extended behind-the-scenes look at one of the biggest stunts in cinema history. Watch never-before-seen footage of the rigorous training as Tom launches a motorcycle off a cliff.
Speed Flying—Join Tom and the crew as they explain the various training techniques involved in pulling off the dangerous speed flying stunts in the film.
Train—See how the climactic train sequence was captured on film. From building an actual train from scratch to crashing it using practical effects, you don't want to miss this!
Deleted Shots Montage—Director Christopher McQuarrie and editor Eddie Hamilton share some of the breathtaking, never-before-seen footage that didn't make the final film. (Digital* Only)
Editorial Featurette: The Sevastopol—Director Christopher McQuarrie and editor Eddie Hamilton take viewers through the intense opening scene. (Digital* Only)







Final Score: :4stars:


Honestly, I’m a bit torn with how I wanted to rate the film. On one hand I really lean towards it being a good flick that deserves a solid 4/5 rating, but those negatives I mentioned above (especially the use of a maguffin like the super intelligent AI) are a bit weighty on my mind. Personally I’d rate this closer to a 3.75 out of 5, but I’m giving it a 4/5 out simply because I don’t think it’s worthy of dipping to a 3.5/5 as my only other option. The audio and video are simply superb though, and while this doesn’t have a ton of extras, the ones included are pretty meaty.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Tom Cruise, Hayler Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Czerny, Esai Morales
Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Written by: Bruce Geller, Christopher McQuarrie, Erik Jendresen
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), French Dolby Atmos, French (Canada), Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 163 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: October 31st, 2023
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Recommendation: Good Watch

 
Last edited:

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. Didn't catch it in the theater but will check it out.
 

MusicManLen

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My Steelbook gets here next week. Can't wait to put my SVS SB16's through the audio workout. I appreciate your thorough review.
 

MusicManLen

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@Michael Scott You weren't kidding about the bass audio on this. I played it back using Auro 3D and it rocked my SVS SB16's to the max.
There was plenty of overhead and surround activity as well. Glad I was able to get the steelbook.
Thanks again for a great review.



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Michael Scott

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hah! yeah it's a beast of a track.
 
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