The Mission Impossible franchise is an adrenaline-filled ride from beginning to end featuring a team of clandestine agents who work together to solve geopolitical problems. The series caught my attention in my youth through syndication, where you can find it running on streaming platforms such as Pluto TV for free, and the franchise made a super successful transition to the big screen with Tom Cruise playing a pivotal part as an actor and producer. Cruise has also made his mark in the film industry by performing many of his own stunts from scaling the sides of buildings, jumping out of planes, flying a helicopter, and most recently driving a motorcycle off the side of a cliff and parachuting away.
Dead Reckoning Part I, which was released earlier this summer, thrusted the IMF into a global race in the pursuit of a rogue AI system. The party which gains control of the AI would become a superpower in the global arena. The film, of course, did not see a resolution or conclusion so we will have to wait until 2025 for the next chapter to see what happens and who actually comes out on top.
The main villains, Gabriel (Esai Morales) and Paris (Pom Klementieff), were a perfect pairing of yin-and-yang with Gabriel’s subtle calmness matched with Paris’ desire to create chaos and mayhem. The car chase in Rome was an illustration of the mayhem Paris created. Gabriel’s introduction as a person instrumental to Ethan joining the IMF is an interesting development to the story arc for the character of Ethan, especially at this stage of the franchise, and keeps things interesting.
The addition of Briggs (Shea Whigham) and Degas (Greg Tarzan Davis) added another dimension to the film as they were tasked with hunting down Ethan Hunter but also added a few unexpected lighthearted moments to the film.
Personally, each installment in the franchise is visually stunning with scenes shot around the globe. The action sequences and stunts step up in their complexity and excitement with each film whether it features the lead character, Ethan Hunt hanging from the ceiling in a computer room or performing a high-altitude low opening (HALO) jump over Paris. Many of the stunts are practical with minimal special effects, if any, which adds to the realism. The motorcycle jump off the cliff was one of the highlights of the film. Personally, I long for the day when stunts will be officially recognized by the Motion Picture Academy.
Rewatchability is one of the key factors in my decision-making for Blu-ray media. I found myself instantly engaged when watching the film and picked up on a couple of things I did not recall or missed when I watched the film the first time. I found that Dead Reckoning plays well on the smaller screen and the lighthearted moments, yes there are a few, are a joy to watch with the family or when the mood for an escape arises.
The special features include commentary from director Christopher McQuarrie and editor Eddie Hamilton and featurettes on the stunts in the film. The commentary from McQuarrie and Hamilton provides interesting insights into the filmmaking process for the film. There are also featurettes on the exciting locations the film was shot including Rome, Venice, and Abu Dhabi.
The featurettes on the stunts are particularly interesting. They include behind-the-scenes looks at the thrilling car chase through Rome and how Tom Cruise’s driving skills were pushed to the limit while handcuffed to Hayley Atwell. There is also intensive training and planning for the exciting motorcycle cliff jump. When executed successfully, the stunts are certainly breathtaking, however, there are months of work to plan, test, and finally film them which the featurettes do well in documenting those efforts.
Lastly, there is a collection of cut scenes in which director Christopher McQuarrie and editor Eddie Hamilton share never-before-seen footage that didn’t make the final film.
Overall, the Blu-ray release is a great addition to your collection or as a gift, especially for those who enjoy action films.