Mission Impossible Ultimate Missions Collection (Blu-Ray & HD DVD)

Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
The cover is just as action packed as the movies. That’s not very interesting when it’s just an image slapped on a box. The menus are the new high tech swanky Blu-Ray type, so they aren’t very interesting, but highly functional and they make cool sounds.

Features – 9/10
Mission Impossible:

  • Mission Remarkable 40 years of creating the impossible – Interviews with producer Paula Wagner and blurbs from Cruise and others about the history of MI from TV to the big screen. They touch on how they wanted to keep the tone of the TV show alive in the movies, but crank up the action for modern audiences. It’s a good little extra, just not as WOW as it could have been.
  • Mission Explosive Exploits – So many explosions, so little time. See a hint of behind the scenes of the fish tank explosion, and how Cruise is such a brave little boy doing his own stunts even when thousands of gallons of water could dump on his precious little head.
  • Mission Catching The Train – More behind the scenes showing how the big action scenes were put together. Special effects have come a long way since MI was made, but they surely did a good job with what they had at the time.
  • Mission International Spy Museum – The International Spy Museum exists! And the guy who runs it is surely wearing a latex mask. I’m convinced that everyone you see in this extra is wearing a mask…I’m not paranoid, they are everywhere, really they are. Dirty spies! You will get to see some cool stuff like an exhibit of listening devices from the WW2 era to modern day tiny little things that could be hidden anywhere..ANYWHERE! ssshhhh they’re always listening.
  • Mission Agent Dossiers – Whatever. Not that I care how old Ethan Hunt is, who trained him, or where he’s from, but you might.
  • Excellence In Film Cruise – Tom Cruise being humble and appreciative in a very manufactured kind of a way.
  • Generation Cruise – A montage of Cruise clips that do remind me that this guy has made some kick ass films over the years. I mean, that Cocktail…what a masterpiece. Ok, so that’s an exception. He’s made some seriously amazing movies and this is a fun way to look at them all mashed into one place.
  • Photo Gallery – Blah
  • Theatrical Trailers (HD) – Trailers and commercials are NOT a feature. But hey these are in HD.

Mission Impossible 2:

  • Commentary By Director John Woo -Mr. Woo seems to be very much in love with this whole movie making shebang. He talks about scenes, stunts, and performances as if he has never seen modern day movie making. He’s so impressed and in awe of the skills and talents of the cast and crew, it makes him fun to listen to.
  • Behind The Mission – This is a fairly long feature with cast and crew talking about different locations, stunts, and being part of making a Mission Impossible movie. There are interviews with the stars of the movie, as well as John Woo, and lots of looks behind the scenes.
  • Mission Incredible – This is pretty much the same as the first one in terms of style and even content, but there are more behind the scenes of how they got some of the most incredible locations, and how some of the most difficult stunts were done.
  • Impossible Shots – Here’s more about the stunts. Woo introduces each section with his descriptions of how Tom Cruise and the crew got each massive stunt to work. It’s broken down into sections that outline each major stunt including story boards and interviews with the stunt coordinator and stunt man for Cruise.
  • I Disappear Metallica Music Video – It’s a video people. It’s not an extra. Fair enough, it’s a pretty good video paying homage to some of the most influential movies of the 20th century, and then they go and show shots of the band on top of a cliff, just enough reference to the movie to link the two together.
  • Alternate Title Sequence – It’s brief and not that impressive, but I guess if you pay someone to go the trouble to make an alternate title sequence, you might want someone to see it:)
  • Excellence In Film Cruise – Oh my God, how many times do we have to see this montage of Cruise movies? I mean, he’s done some amazing work..WE KNOW already. Is this some plot to make sure that when this guy keels over someday we all know how lucky we were to pay money to see him pretend to be other people? Love ya Tom, but come on, give us a break. I think it might be that woman he works with trying to make him into some kind of God. It ain’t working.
  • Generation Cruise – (See above description from Mission Impossible I disc.)

Mission Impossible 3:

  • Enhanced Visual Commentary With Tom Cruise & JJ Abrams – This is actually an excellent new way to watch commentaries. You see them in a small box in the lower corner of the screen while they are watching the DVD and talking through the different scenes. Not only that, they (um, Tom) often says to stop the movie so they can talk more in depth about that moment in the movie. Let’s not forget the extras you can watch while perusing the commentary. If the IMF logo pops up you can press a button on your remote to see a deleted scene or extended version of a scene, and then it goes back to where the commentary left. off. This could spoil me, ya know? I mean, it will be hard to go back to just watching the movie with the voiced over commentary from now on.
  • Audio Commentary With Tom Cruise & JJ Abrams – This is a totally different commentary, but without the fancy stuff. You will get a lot of the same information and lots of Abrams complimenting Cruise, and Cruise complimenting Abrams, which is so Hollywood 🙂
  • 5 Deleted Scenes (HD) – These scenes are hidden in the enhanced visual commentary, so beware if you have gone through all that, these will look very familiar.
  • Making Of Mission Featurette (HD) – I think we all know what a making of featurette is by now. It’s a good look at how such a big production gets made, with someone like Abrams on his first full feature and how they mixed some old school techniques with ultra modern technology.
  • Mission Action Inside The Action Unit Featurette (HD) – How do they get a scene made in the middle of Rome? How do they blow up a car in front of a bazillion year old historical building? It’s not all CGI and movie magic. Sometimes it’s real dynamite and real fire.
  • Visualizing The Mission Featurette (HD) – This is more of how the big ideas of the script writers and director from paper to the big screen.
  • Scoring The Mission Featurette (HD) – A little bit about how the score is designed to do all that movie stuff to control your emotions and how your heart reacts to what you are seeing. I like these extras, but honestly, it’s never quite as exciting to see the orchestra play as it is to see Tom Cruise get dropped off a building at a high speed 🙂
  • Moviefone Unscripted Featurette (HD) – This is a pretty good little extra. It’s Cruise and Woo in a small studio answering some questions from moviefone.com readers. They ask each other a few questions and chat a lot about their experiences of working together. I like the casualness of this little internet show. I would appreciate the time these two movie making giants took to do it, but then again, they both got millions of dollars for this movie, so I reckon they put in some effort 😛
  • Photo Gallery – Promo images of the movie and behind the scenes.
  • Tribute Montages – Excellence In Film Cruise & Generation Cruise – AGAIN!! He’s cute, but not that damn cute! I’m not watching these tributes three times. He’s all yours Katie.
  • Theatrical Trailers (HD) – Commercial, lovely.

The Movies: 8/10
Ok, I’ll make these a bit more brief than usual. If I don’t keep it short you will either fall asleep or end up being distracted by incoming email or instant messages to which you will surrender and never finish reading my valuable opinions.

Mission Impossible I: The secret list of international spies is in danger of being exposed to maniacal villains and petty bad guys around the world. I don’t really care about this story at all. I didn’t the first time I watched it, and I still don’t. I mean, I don’t want the world to be in chaos and at the mercy of the bad guys, but I guess I think well trained spies can take care of themselves. That might be my movie learning’ at work, but I have never felt that a spy would be very vulnerable with all their kicking and fighting and high tech skills.

The special effects are cool. The masks and the twists and turns take us to that crazy fantasy world where there are always plots and schemes and dangerous villains in the world being thwarted by good looking, well dressed secret government agents. The problem for me is that if you remove the dangling stunt, the fish tank explosion, the helicopter/train incident, and the interesting gadgetry, this story is boring.

I didn’t dislike it as a fun kind of flick, but I wasn’t fully satisfied at the end. You know that feeling, you see a great action movie with cool stuff, great characters, intriguing bad guys, and exotic locations and as the lights come up after the movie you have that happy feeling. You paid good money to be distracted for a couple of hours so as to avoid your own life for just a bit and in the end you got your money’s worth. Mission Impossible left me feeling like I needed to go home and watch some other action movie to really get my rocks off all the way and make it all worth my time and cash. If I had rocks that is.

The team is good in Mission Impossible. Estevez does his bit to gross us out near the beginning, and you get your heart strings tugged a bit along the way by some interpersonal relationships that are tossed in for good measure. All-in-all, however, it falls flat for me overall.

Mission Impossible II: A spy falls in love with a pawn used in a plot to bring down an evil villain who has control over a life threatening disease that could infect the whole world if not for the cure he also possesses. This one is a tough one. I kind of like the story. I appreciate the idea that they want to poke some jabs at those big bad pharmaceutical companies who keep telling us we are sick and then sell us a pill for what ails us. Beyond that part of it, I wasn’t very interested in the whole love story aspect.

Ethan Hunt has to recruit a chick to help get close to the ex-spy who has taken this horrible disease to sell to the highest bidder. She’s a thief, so there’s a cool scene with her in action, one scene. She’s beautiful. He’s handsome. They make whoopee and then the emotional saga begins. Ethan has to hand her back over to the sleazy old boyfriend/ex-spy/bad guy, and he’s torn up about it.

Then there’s lots of generic bad guys with guns. Some motorcycle stunts, a jump from a helicopter and a window, a Bruce Lee inspired fight scene, and some birds flying around. Oh yea, this is John Woo movie so you get the birds and double fisted gunfire. That’s fine with me, Woo’s great. It’s just that this time he’s made Mission Impossible more style over substance.

There’s not enough capers going on. There’s not enough gadgets. There’s not enough good dialogue. This movie, in comparison to the first, has too much romantic hullabaloo which makes it almost not seem like an MI movie much at all.

There’s more masking, less twists, an no satisfaction after it’s all over. I felt cheated out of a good action experience. If it weren’t a Mission Impossible movie it could be any blasé action flick you catch between Girls Gone Wild and Walker Texas Ranger on a late Saturday night on the USA network or Spike TV.

Mission Impossible III: A team of spies are called upon to bring down a psychotic villain who has the means to control a potentially world changing device. Ethan Hunt has a nice girlfriend, a nice home, and he’s no longer in the field doing little spy missions for the IMF. But wait, they call him back to duty to rescue a protégé of his from certain death at the hands of an international bad guy who likes to sell weapons and other goodies to countries and people who don’t want to make the world a better place.

From start to finish, with a few touching moments as the exceptions, this is action from start to finish. I loved it. It’s not brilliant writing or anything like that. You can leave your analytical brain at the door on this one, and don’t look for flaws because you will find them, but it’s just pure adventure and fun.

The team of spies Hunt hooks up with is slick and interesting. He gets Ving Rhames, a sexy chick, and a sexy Irish dude to accompany him. His team always has talents, but this time they seem even more qualified for the job at hand. They are pretty faces, but they do a good job of being hard core spies while they pose for their close ups 🙂 They travel the globe finding more stuff to blow up and using tons of gadgets along the way. You can tell by now I like the gadget aspect of the MI franchise. I have never been a big Bond fan, but the idea of a guy with so many dreamy toys and tools at his disposal is kind of sexy, so Mission Impossible III has stepped in to give me a gadget fix.

There is a sequence in Rome that’s amazing. The sets are extremely lovely to look at, while the action is exciting, but not too too too over-the-top. Hey, it’s a spy movie, there has to be some over-the-topness floating around in there somewhere.

I like the love story in this one. It’s more substance and less flash. There’s a lot of style to the film, but it’s more authentic and less glossy than the other two Mission Impossible movies. The China sequence is so cool, not to mention the stunts are incredible from start to finish. They do things we haven’t seen before and they are done in a way that’s exciting without being hokey.

Let’s not forget the bad guy. Philip Seymour Hoffman is classic, creepy, clever, and if had a moment of weakness I would ditch Ascully and marry him. He’s so intriguing he holds my attention every time he’s on screen. As far as being married to a villain? Hmm, I could handle his desire to make bazillions of dollars from selling bad stuff to bad people, that’s no problem. The problem is, he’s a bad guy who smokes, so it will never work. So sad, it ended before it began.

We get to see how the famous masks are made, which is excellent. There are a few twists and turns, not to mention Lawrence Fish Bourne is in it. Oh yea, Mr. Matrix himself. He’s strong and commanding and sexy as hell..but we only get to see him a few times. Fair enough. I can only hope he shows up at IMF in another in the series down the road. There are also a fair few moments of serious tension which are actually edge-of-your-seat kind of moments. These days those don’t come around in movies much, so Abrams gets a pat on the back for that achievement. They didn’t forget the humor. Those one-liners pepper the script, which lifts the seriousness a bit, but doesn’t make it all seem too comic bookish.

I would see this installment of the MI series again, for sure. Not soon, but I would actually put it in some rainy Saturday afternoon just to revisit the whole adventure. That’s saying a lot! Of the three Mission Impossible movies so far, this one wins my vote for best of the bunch.

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Value: 7/10
It’s an action packed few hours, so is it worth the $60+ price tag? Not really, not even in HD. MI-I is an ok action movie. Nothing spectacular, but fun to watch again. MI-II doesn’t really do much for me, too many boring shoot outs and not enough fancy gadgets. MI-III is a good action movie, better than most with the story and massive action which makes it fun and exciting without being insulting to anyone with a brain. The extras are top quality, a little heavy on the ‘let’s love on Tom’ vibe, but still makes for a great DVD package. The HD element adds so much to this kind of over-the-top action adventure with the amazing picture and unbelievable sound….

So, why would I argue with that price? None of these movies are classics. They don’t register as the kind of movies I will want to watch over and over, well, maybe if they come on late night cable sometime when there’s nothing else to watch. I just think that at over 20 bucks each it’s kind of a stretch to get my attention for this particular collection. Someday there will be an MI-IV, and V, and VI, etc. So, let’s imagine how much the FULL SET will be then? I say rent this collection and have a great night at the movies in the comfort of your home, save the extra cash for a steak dinner or pay your cable bill…your choice.

Overall Score 8/10