Under the Radar

Tom Cruise's Defining Role? 'Mission Impossible' Not 'Top Gun'

(Paramount Pictures)

In advance of this summer's "Mission Impossible: Fallout," Paramount has upgraded the first five movies in the series to 4K UHD. Almost all of these movies really benefit from the remastering, especially when compared to the previous Blu-ray remasters that are included with the 4K discs.

(Paramount Pictures)

Cruise hired five different directors to make these movies (Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams, Brad Bird and Christopher McQuarrie) and allowed them to make freestanding movies that reflect each filmmaker's strengths and the era in which they were made. There's not a lot of emphasis on continuity of character for Cruise's Ethan Hunt nor is there an obsession with a "Mission Impossible Universe" where every scene is either a callback to an older movie or a setup for the next one.

What you get are five really strong spy movies. You can watch any of them without worrying too much about what happened before or getting clogged up fretting about what's going to happen in the next movie.

When compared to whatever it is he'll be doing in "Top Gun 2," playing a spy has allowed Cruise to age with his character. Maverick will be 57 by the time we get our "Top Gun Sequel." I don't know any aviators who still make the grade at that advanced age, but Ethan Hunt can keep doing espionage for another twenty years or so. He may no longer be hanging onto airplanes, but there's likely a way forward for "Mission Impossible."

"Fallout" will be the first movie in the series to have a repeat director with Christopher McQuarrie, who directed "Rogue Nation" and the excellent first "Jack Reacher" movie. We'll have to wait a month to find out how that turned out but, in the meantime, these disks (especially the first movie) represent a good investment for showing off a 4K home theater setup.

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