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Reviews » 4K UHD Reviews » Mission: Impossible III (4K UHD)
Mission: Impossible III (4K UHD)
Paramount // PG-13 // June 26, 2018 // Region 0
List Price: $31.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted July 25, 2018 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

I did a double take when I re-realized Mission: Impossible III is J. J. Abrams' directorial debut. Then known for creating shows "Lost" and "Alias," Abrams was not the most obvious choice to direct Tom Cruise in this follow-up to John Woo's stylized sequel. Things turned out pretty great, both for the film and Abrams, who is doing quite well as a director, if I recall. I vividly remember seeing the trailer for this film, in which a sinister Philip Seymour Hoffman tells Cruise's Ethan Hunt that he will find his loved ones and hurt them. The late Hoffman is pretty great as the villain here, and plays Owen Davian, a black-market arms dealer with ties to terrorist groups. Ving Rhames returns as computer expert Luther Stickell, and Michelle Monaghan joins the franchise as Ethan's fiancée, Julia. Abrams creates an epic, visually spectacular film that regains most of the narrative and dramatic integrity glossed over by its predecessor.

For some reason I always recall what Ethan tells his dinner-party guests about traffic whenever I get stuck in gridlock. Ethan has retired from field work, and instead trains recruits while posing as a civilian. He informs his guests that one inattentive driver who slams on the brakes can cause a miles-long mess. Julia has no idea what Ethan really does, so he must lie when called back to the field to investigate Davian. Spoiler Alert! His team's first task is to rescue Ethan's protégée, Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell), who was captured tracking the arms dealer. They're successful in doing so, but Lindsey dies in Ethan's arms, the result of an explosive pellet that Davian had implanted in her head. This is quite a shocking plot twist, as some of the marketing for the film implied Russell was joining the cast as a regular. An enraged Ethan captures Davian in Vatican City (again with the fucking masks), but the criminal proves he has the upper hand when Ethan's convey is attacked by missiles on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge - Tunnel, allowing his escape.

This franchise continues to be successful because each film is unique, exhibiting the styles of its director. Abrams creates a film with much higher stakes than its immediate predecessor, and Davian feels dangerous. That is largely due to Hoffman's excellent performance, and the talented actor is clearly having a ball playing his version of a Bond villain. Cruise and Monaghan are great here, too, as are Maggie Q and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who join Ethan's IMF team. There are some involving action sequences in M:i:III, including the aforementioned attack on the bridge, an early helicopter chase amid windmills, and the final gunfight. For a first-time theatrical director, Abrams feels like an old pro handling these massive sequences.

This third film in the franchise may be its most dramatically affecting, and it is certainly the most grounded in reality. The Cruise/Monaghan dynamic is a large part of this; and their characters' relationship causes Ethan to question his career. In the first two films, Ethan took risks without concern, but M:i:III offers viewers a peek behind the curtain at Ethan's home life. Davian is probably the franchise's most sinister villain, and is concerned with profit, not some high-concept idea of righting the world's wrongs by creating chaos. The combination of a satisfying narrative, solid performances, affecting drama and incredible action make Mission: Impossible III a winner.

THE 4K ULTRA HD:

PICTURE:

Paramount provides a 2.35:1/2160p/HEVC/H.265 transfer with Dolby Vision and HDR10 that is sourced from a 2K intermediate. This is not quite as impressive as the 4K release of Mission: Impossible II but is nonetheless a pleasing presentation. There is plenty of detail in this crisply shot production, and close-ups reveal intimate facial features and all manner of particulars on costumes and sets. Colors are bold and nicely saturated, and the 4K image offers inky blacks and gorgeous HDR accents. Highlights are stunning and never bloom; check out the sun-soaked bridge attack sequence and tell me you are not impressed by the resolution and clouds that remain visible in such bright light. There are a couple of issues here, some of which may be attributed to Abrams' filmmaking style. There is some minor digital noise that pops up in darker scenes, and some faster pans are slightly blurry. I also noticed some minor black crush and a couple of waxy faces, but no overt edge halos.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is totally immersive, and offers frequent sound pans and LFE support. Range and clarity are excellent, and dialogue is expertly delivered from the center channel or directionally. Ambient and action effects make near-constant use of the surrounds, and everything from whirling helicopter rotors to missiles sears across the rear speakers. There is little to complain about here. A host of lossy dubs and subtitle options are available.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This three-disc set includes the 4K Ultra HD disc, a Blu-ray with the movie and a Blu-ray bonus disc. Codes to redeem iTunes and UltraViolet HD digital copies are included. The discs are packed in a hinged 4K case that is wrapped in a glossy slipcover. The 4K disc does include the Audio Commentary by Director J. J. Abrams, and the rest of the features are located on the third disc: The Making of the Mission (28:42/HD) offers interviews and on-set footage; Inside the IMF (21:15/SD) takes viewers inside the walls of Ethan's employer; Mission Action: Inside the Action Unit (25:39/SD) covers stunts; Visualizing the Mission (10:40/SD) depicts several sequences coming together; Mission: Metamorphosis (8:09/HD) is about those fucking masks; Scoring the Mission (4:59/SD) concerns Michael Giacchino's score; Moviefone Unscripted: Tom Cruise and J. J. Abrams (8:03/SD) is a funny EPK featurette; Launching the Mission (14:04/SD) sees Cruise attend the global premiere; Deleted Scenes (5:21/SD); Theatrical Trailers (5:23/HD); TV Spots (3:14/SD); Excellence in Film (9:15/SD); and an Easter Egg (0:36/SD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

J. J. Abrams' Mission: Impossible III is one of the best films in the franchise thanks to its strong narrative, good performances, human drama and spectacular action. Cruise is great, as is Philip Seymour Hoffman as the villain. Paramount's 4K release offers a nice upgrade over the Blu-ray. Highly Recommended

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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