Mission: Impossible - Fallout 4K Blu-ray Review
Your mission: watch one of the best blockbusters of 2018 - in 4K
Mission: Impossible - Fallout Film Review
A superb sequel to the tremendous Rogue Nation, the Mission: Impossible series gets better and better, with Fallout one of the best blockbusters of the year.Fallout doesn’t merely bound from one spectacular - and spectacularly tense - set piece to the next, instead fluidly injecting a plentiful bevy of them into the complex narrative of this stunning direct sequel to Rogue Nation, delivering two and a half hours of nail-biting tension and jaw-dropping thrills, which leaves you utterly exhausted by the end of it.
With possibly more time and effort put into the spy plotting and machinations than any other entry - even the first - returning director Christopher McQuarrie acquits himself well in delivering a film which builds upon the foundations of its predecessors, Fast & Furious-style. And whilst the franchise was never going to reach Tinker Tailor levels of cerebral espionage, it’s far more than what you expect from an action blockbuster, which is part of the reason why it’s such a great action blockbuster.
Cruise continues to go above and beyond, showing a commitment to the series which reminds audiences that this is Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible, and all the better for it.
There's also a sense of genuine consequence, courtesy of investment in the characters, with McQuarrie cleverly building upon the existing foundation from the last few movies and eliciting hitherto an underdeveloped personal angle which makes the tension at times unbearable. It's a bold move; Marvel are the benchmark for this kind of thing, whilst DC are not, and even the unlikely Fast & Furious franchise has rebuilt itself using this technique, but it's something refreshing to see so effectively handled in Mission: Impossible, particularly when the Craig Bond sequels were quite terrible at it (Quantum of Solace and Spectre in particular), with Fallout seamlessly expanding the scope of Rogue Nation, furthering the character arcs and delivering a continuation to a story which feels both organic and utterly gripping.
Cruise - bringing back a half a dozen key players who all get their moments to shine - is still front and centre in the thick of things, with his character really put through the wringer this time around, both emotionally and physically. And whilst the stunts are just that - stunts - there's an added level of awe knowing that it's actually the actor up there performing them (c.f. Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper, or Craig's CG self riding rooftops in Skyfall), and Cruise continues to go above and beyond, showing a commitment to the series which reminds audiences that this is Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible, and all the better for it.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout 4K Picture
Mission: Impossible - Fallout was shot on both 35 mm film and IMAX, and the film has been afforded a full fat native 4K video presentation, which has been used here for this Ultra HD Blu-ray release.
The disc presents a native 3840 x 2160p resolution image utilising the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1 for the majority of the feature, but switching aspect ratios during the aerial sequences. It uses 10-bit video depth, a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), as well as Dolby Vision, and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec.
We reviewed the UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Mission: Impossible - Fallout on a LG 55B7 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD OLED TV with an LG UP970 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
If only the whole movie looked as good throughout as it does during the IMAX scenes, it would be one of the best looking titles available on the format.
The first thing to note about Fallout is that it doesn't look quite like it did theatrically, either in IMAX or regular presentations, with a new colour timing applied presumably to bring it more closely in-line with the style of Rogue Nation in 4K, which was the only film in the series to brandish that slightly sun-burned look, favouring off-whites and creams in favour of pure whites as a result of what felt like a light overlay of golden yellow which flavoured the whole piece. Whilst there's nothing inherently wrong with this style, nor even with the desire to better fit the two films together (the work done to make The Matrix 4K Trilogy fit together in terms of green-tinged style was stellar) the result here is more noticeable because of its differences from the theatrical rendition and also because it boasts some aspect-ratio-changing IMAX scenes (a nice bonus!) which do not have the same amber overlay as the rest of the film.
Consequently the 'fullscreen' 1.90:1 presented IMAX scenes at the end - intercut with what's happening back on the ground - looks slightly out of place, not for the aspect shift, but actually because the image looks dramatically different.
Moving past this, however, and you can sit back and enjoy some excellent detail on the presentation, which laps up skin textures, finer age lines, wisps of hair, clothing nuances and little things like the brickwork in a wall that a projector is shining on. The London skyline looks absolutely staggering - even without the IMAX fullscreen effect - and the multitude of locations shine in all their glory.
The colour scheme is problematic for a number of reasons, with the film looking darker than it was theatrically and thus making Dolby Vision work overtime to pull the shadow detail to the fore. This mostly works, but it's still not quite perfect - when it really should be - and even the peak whites struggle in some of the scenes to avoid being fully overblown. Grain gives the feature a suitably filmic texture, but also won't please viewers who like their features to look very glossy and 'clean'. And, unfortunately, also doesn't quite marry up during the IMAX scenes, which are flawless.
It's these same scenes, however, that also mark some of the best 4K Ultra HD footage to grace the format since its inception. The 'IMAX' cameras and staggering resolution pull up jaw-dropping detail from the scenery, and some stunning shots - if you pause the shot of the two helicopters as they are about to pass across the lake, with sun glancing in from the bottom left hand corner, you could easily compare that shot alone with your TV's own 4K demo wallpaper. The camera on the underside of the helicopter picks up a shocking amount of detail from the landscape below, and the bright blues skies and gorgeous green landscape below look precisely how they should (unlike the tint of the scenes they are interspliced with). If only the whole movie looked as good throughout as it does during the IMAX scenes, it would be one of the best looking titles available on the format, and this powerful finish pulls the overall average up to a much higher score than it otherwise rightly should achieve.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout 4K SoundOut of all the original Mission: Impossible films released in the 5-film set, only Rogue Nation earned itself a Dolby Atmos upgrade, leaving it the best sounding entry in the franchise. Enter: Fallout, which is also afforded a full High Definition 3D immersive audio track in the form of Atmos, and goes big, bold and expansive to provide the most involving experience of all of the features, and one the best audio experiences on a home format release not just in 2018 but arguably of all time.
Without a doubt a huge part of the strength of Fallout's aural offering is Lorne Balfe's tremendous score (it's no wonder really that he earned himself not only his own Audio Commentary but also an Isolated Score track to better highlight the impact of his perfected score), which - right from the outset - affords the action thriller an intoxicating beat that thrums around the speakers dynamically, drawing you right into the maelstrom.
One the best audio experiences not just in 2018 but arguably of all time.
Effects are wide ranging, and frequently thunderous, with the echoing cobbled streets ignited by booming gunshots. It's acutely designed, affording excellent directionality, as bullets whizz around your living room, and the LFE rumbles underneath, lending weight to both the percussion-dominated score and the penetrating gunfire. Aerial sequences become utterly immersive (the lightning strike still knocks you for six), the armoured truck 'heist' and packed with some bruising crashes, and helicopter blades whip around in the background for a large amount of the proceedings - not least the extended finale, which goes big and bold in its expansive thrills. Dialogue remains firmly prioritised throughout and rounds out an excellent track that is utterly demo and reference through and through.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout 4K ExtrasSimilarly doubling-down on the extras front, Fallout is afforded a grander package than any of the preceding chapters on 4K, with this three-disc release seemingly leaving all of the main extras for its secondary Blu-ray disc, but actually - if you look at the setup menu on the 4K disc itself - affording no less than three Audio Commentary tracks on the Ultra HD disc, as well as the aforementioned Isolated Score track.
The Commentary with writer/director Christopher McQuarrie and star Tom Cruise headlines the piece, and is a must-listen for fans, affording welcome detail into the project that they have been building to for some time here (over 20 years for Cruise). The nuance that went into this production is astounding - from the multiple throwbacks to the earlier films - they both talk about the numerous callbacks to the previous instalments, including the villain's reveal mirroring Voights conversation with Cruise at the train station in the very first film, discuss the changes made on-the-fly, the filming requirements and permissions (nobody flies over Paris!), and plenty of other interesting titbits about the feature. Well worth a listen.
McQuarrie pairs up with editor Eddie Hamilton for a more technical second Commentary track, and composer Lorne Balfe goes solo for the third Commentary, making for an interesting background track to supplant his solo isolated score track offering. Undoubtedly the best score of the franchise, Balfe's score it's one of the best of 2018, and deserves its separate availability to play solo.
Fallout is afforded a grander package than any of the preceding chapters on 4K.
The remaining features aren't ported over to the 4K disc itself, but that's understandable really as they've got an entire third dedicated Blu-ray disc devoted to them, with a comprehensive multi-part Behind the Fallout Documentary split into: Light the Fuse, Top of the World, The Big Swing: Deleted Scene Breakdown, Rendezvous in Paris, The Fall, The Hunt is on, and Cliffside Clash, often detailing key action sequences from the feature, as you can likely tell by the names.
There's also a Deleted Scenes montage with Commentary from McQuarrie and editor Eddie Hamilton which hints at a few nice touches - including that aforementioned 'Big Swing' scene from Paris and several little beats they could have left in (the earlier meeting in the club would have explained away a plot hole) - and are playable with score or Commentary alone, but no dialogue. The shot where the helicopter goes toe-to-toe with a truck from the Trailer is conspicuously absent.
The Foot Chase Musical Breakdown looks at the scoring of that sequence, with Balfe on hand to talk about each musical element that was put together during that scene, and how they were built up to one big grand finale - it's even more impressive when he breaks it down, but it was a musical 'high' even in this excellent score. The package is rounded out by an Ultimate Mission Featurette, a couple of Storyboards to key sequences, and the Trailer.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout 4K Verdict
Considering we're six films into this franchise, it's astounding that they've managed to build it up to quite this degree, and credit to Cruise and McQuarrie for delivering on all counts. It's not only the best entry in the series, and not only one of the best blockbusters of the year (although, admittedly, Infinity War - were it not Part 1 of 2 - would otherwise best it), but also the best of its kind - better than any Bond film of late, or any of the last three Bourne films.
One of the best releases of 2018.
After Paramount's recently 5-film box set release of the rest of the films in the series, including staggering new 4K remasters for the first film and the second film, a strong release of the third film, a superb native 4K presentation for Ghost Protocol with a 4K DI, and a suitably flashy rendition of Rogue Nation despite its 2K DI, Fallout lands with a grandstanding Dolby Atmos track and a full-fat 4K video presentation which - notwithstanding some questionable stylistic choices - does boast some of the best 4K footage ever seen with its IMAX-enhanced expanded-screen (1.90:1) sequences. The extras package is comprehensive, spilling out onto a dedicated extras disc, and rounding out one of the best releases of 2018.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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