Mission: Impossible (1996)

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Released 20-Apr-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 106:43
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (69:28) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Brian De Palma

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Tom Cruise
Jon Voight
Emmanuelle Beart
Henry Czerny
Jean Reno
Ving Rhames
Kristin Scott-Thomas
Vanessa Redgrave
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Danny Elfman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Good morning, readers. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to interrogate this DVD in order to learn as much about this case, codenamed Mission: Impossible, as possible.

    So far, the following events have already transpired.

    In Kiev, an IM force successfully extracted a contact name out of an unknown person. The overall importance of this contact's name is unknown, but for now is to be treated as a low priority. We were able to track and observe Mr Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) receiving instructions regarding his latest mission. The hand-over was via a small videocassette, under the guise of an in-flight movie on a commercial flight. The stewardess involved is now being tailed in the hope that she will lead us to other IMF agents.

    Below is a copy of the transcript of Jim's mission briefing.

    "Good Morning, Mr Phelps. The man you are looking at is Alexander Golitsyn, an attaché at our embassy in Prague. He is also a traitor. He has stolen one half of a CIA NOC list - a record of all our deep cover agents working in Eastern Europe. For security reasons, the NOC list is divided in two. The portion that Golitsyn already has contains codenames, but this half is useless without its mate which matches codenames with their true names. It is this half which Golitsyn plans to steal from the embassy during a reception tomorrow night. Your mission Jim, if you choose to accept it, is to obtain photographic proof of the theft, shadow Golitsyn to his buyer and apprehend them both. I've already dispatched a team from your usual group - Sarah Davies (Kristin Scott-Thomas) is already undercover, Jack Harmon (Emilio Estevez) can hack into any security system, and Hannah Williams (Ingeborga Dapkunaite) will handle surveillance. Your wife Claire (Emmanuelle Beart), will cover transport and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) will be your point man, as usual. He is now in Kiev and will rendezvous in Prague at a safe house of your choosing. As always, should you or any member of your IM force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim."

    We know that the team assembled in Prague and was briefed by Jim. The operation started well, but it soon turned sour, with Ethan Hunt appearing to be the only survivor. He met shortly thereafter with Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny), where it was learned that the operation had been a "sting" to uncover a mole inside the agency. Ethan is now the prime suspect. Through our own sources, we know that Ethan is innocent of this crime. Ethan is now on the run from the IMF and is trying to find out who the real mole is.

    Your mission is to watch and learn as much as possible about the people involved, including Ethan Hunt and report your findings.

    This message will self destruct in five seconds.

    ( 5,4,3,2,1, fizz, splutter, pop... Bugger... OK, so maybe it won't... )

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    Let me open by saying that it is great to see that Paramount are taking the DVD medium seriously and are turning out very good quality transfers that are 16x9 enhanced and are using the superior 448Kb/s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. This is a good start. Let's hope the high standard continues, minus the edge enhancement, and a couple more extras start to find their way onto future releases.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness is excellent for the most part, with only a few scenes being a little less detailed. No low-level noise was noticed, but there are a few scenes that have had some edge enhancement applied to them. The edge enhancement barely disrupts the picture quality, so there isn't too much to be concerned about here. Examples are at 41:14 - 42:01, 57:00, 66:00 and 68:25.

    The colour is great, with only a handful of scenes straying from perfect.

   The movie starts out very well from the point of view of grain, with only the tiniest amount visible (e.g. 6:10), but as the movie progresses, the grain becomes more noticeable. The grain is limited to the background and it is far from being bad, so this area is still very good and easily acceptable. Examples are at 20:55, 31:58, 41:14 - 42:01, 49:18 and 59:56.

    No MPEG artefacts were noticed. There are a few minor instances of moiré and aliasing, but none of them were overly distracting. Examples are at 40:05, 59:35, 62:47, 66:28, 75:33, 89:49 and 101:50. The Paramount logo at the start and finish of the movie has some grain, film artefacts and minor telecine wobble, but really it is inconsequential because, after all, it is only the logo.

    There is a light sprinkling of film artefacts, all of which are small and unobtrusive.

    While writing up the plot synopsis, I noticed that the subtitles during Jim's briefing are only semi-accurate - there were many instances where the dialogue was slightly different or had additional words that were left out of the subtitles.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring between Chapters 8 and 9, at 69:28. The layer change is very well placed and is on a scene shift. There is a short pause, but it is not jarring or disruptive to the overall flow of the movie, even though it is easily spotted.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are two 448Kb/s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks present on this DVD; English and German. I listened to the default English soundtrack.

    The overall soundtrack is much quieter than most other Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks I have heard. I comfortably listened at 5db louder than I normally do, so don't be afraid to crank up the volume a little on this one!

    The dialogue was reasonably clear and easy to understand for most of the movie, but there are many occasions where you have to listen carefully to make out the dialogue as the sound effects overpower it. Some dialogue distortion was noticed at 25:15, but it is relatively minor and is the only really noticeable occurrence.

    At 47:15 Vanessa Redgrave's dialogue was noticeably out of sync, but this looks like it is the result of her dialogue being re-dubbed, as Tom Cruise's dialogue is in sync in the same scene.

    Danny Elfman's music score adds nicely to the on-screen action.

    Overall the surround channel use is disappointing, not because there isn't much of it, but because the sound level is too low in comparison to the front soundstage, and thus the whole soundfield is shifted to the front and most of the surround channel use is lost. There are a few wonderfully enveloping sequences, but these are few and far between, such as at 30:53, 48:50 and 94:10 - 99:00. On a more positive note, the use and placement of sound effects across the front soundstage is excellent.

    The subwoofer is nicely used to subtly add bass to most scenes, and is highly active during a couple of the more action-oriented sequences. Highlights are at 22:48 and 26:06 - 26:20.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras are extremely limited, with just one Theatrical Trailer present.


    The menus are 16x9 enhanced. The main menu selections are; Play, Setup, Theatrical Trailer and Scene Selection (13 with an index).

Theatrical Trailer (1:49 minutes)

    The Mission Impossible Theatrical Trailer is of very good quality. It is presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with a Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround-encoded soundtrack.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     No contest. The R4 version wins hands down because it is 16x9 enhanced.


    For me, Mission: Impossible was a reasonable action flick, but I felt that some of the acting was a little overdone.

    The video quality is very good, with only minor problems like minor grain, edge enhancement and aliasing reducing its rating.

    The overall audio quality is very good, with only minor problems, like some hard-to-hear dialogue and a mostly screen-oriented soundtrack.

    The extras are extremely limited, with just one Theatrical Trailer present.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Paul Williams (read Paul's biography)
Monday, April 23, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-725, using Component output
DisplaySony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS989
SpeakersFronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)

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