4K ULTRA REVIEW / FIRST BATCH OF FRAME SHOTS
“MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT”
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital copy; 2018; PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of action and brief strong profanity; streaming via Amazon Video, FandangoNOW (4K), Google Play (4K), iTunes (4K), Vudu (4K) YouTube
Best extra: “Behind the Fallout”
PRODUCER/ACTOR Tom Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie hold nothing back for their ninth collaboration on “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.”
They build an escalating level of edge-of-the-seat suspense, with practical effects shot during 12 months of principal photography in Paris, London, New Zealand, Norway and the skies over Abu Dhabi. Cruise broke his ankle during one stunt in London jumping from one building to another. The footage is in the final edit.
The more intense exploits happen during four key sequences: A HALO jump from 25,000 feet as 8K IMAX cameras follow Ethan Hunt from the clouds to the rooftops of Paris. (Cruise made over 90 jumps.) There’s an unbelievable motorcycle and car chase, with Cruise handling the majority of the stunt work, trying to outrun a terrorist group and the Paris police. A mid-air helicopter chase – also filmed in IMAX – shows Cruise at the controls again, soaring through deep valleys and snow peaks, then hanging off the helicopter. A claustrophobic three-person fight in a men’s bathroom between Hunt, CIA assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill), and terrorist suspect John Lark keeps the pace racing.
Returning is Alec Baldwin as Alan Hunley, now Secretary of the I.M.F.; Angela Bassett as ruthless CIA Director Erika Sloane; Sean Harris as Solomon Lane, notorious leader of The Syndicate; and Vanessa Kirby as The White Widow, an arms dealer who appears to be a philanthropist. “M:I – Fallout” is so good it dethrones “Skyfall” (2012), Daniel Craig’s third James Bond film, as the finest spy thriller this century. Critics also agreed, pushing it to a near-perfect rating at Rotten Tomatoes – 98 percent – while the worldwide box office topped $791 million, a franchise best.
It picks up where “Rogue Nation” (2015), also written/directed by McQuarrie, left off. “Fallout” runs for nearly two and a half-hours, and even then it seems rushed. The Mission: Recover three plutonium cores before they fall into Lark’s hands. The unstoppable Ethan Hunt and his I.M.F. team – Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) – only has 72 hours to stop the world’s worst disasters.
“For the M:I fans, it really is a culmination of every film,” Cruise says in the five-part “Behind Fallout” documentary. “Every mission has led to this one.” At the beginning of the project, McQuarrie asked his boss and star, if he could only do one thing in this movie, “What would it be?” Cruise quickly responded, “I want to tie up the story of Ethan and his wife Julia (Michelle Monaghan),” who’s been in hiding except for a brief cameo in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (2011). During the final quarter, the two are reunited at a medical relief camp in Kashmir. “Their love story felt unresolved,” Monaghan says.
The 4K picture was shot on film and digital, and mastered in true 4K sourced from 35mm (2.39:1 aspect ratio) and 6K. The skydiving and helicopter sequences were captured in 8K, with a deeper, large-screen aspect ratio of 1.90:1. It looks remarkable.
Audio is also superb, one of the best on an eight-channel Dolby Atmos soundtrack and Dolby TrueHD for standard setups. Sound effects are nicely balanced, with Lorne Balfe’s (“Dunkirk”) epic score pushing heavy percussions to drive the action.
"We wanted to create a movie that is elegant, that is entertaining, that is gripping, and use all of our skills as filmmakers," Cruise says.
More video and audio information is forthcoming for the second “M:I – Fallout” review, which will detail the three commentary tracks included on the 4K and Blu-ray discs.
― Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer