Tom Cruise dangling on the side of a plane in "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation".
Tom Cruise might be in his 50s, but he shows no sign of slowing down when comes to performing physically-demanding roles. One of his most notable characters happens to be the "Mission: Impossible" series where he plays the charismatic agent Ethan Hunt. The highly-lucrative franchise, which has endured a healthy run since its inception in 1996, is famous for its exhilarating action sequences and intriguing premises. This year, Tom Cruise is back with the hugely-anticipated fifth instalment, "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation", and he's been getting a lot of buzz for showing his latest death-defying stunt where he clings to the side of a plane in mid-air!
To celebrate the upcoming release of "Rogue Nation", let's take a look back at some of the best stunts seen in the previous "Mission: Impossible" movies!
1. The exploding fish tank scene – "Mission: Impossible" (1996)
The first big-screen treatment of "Mission: Impossible" may have been not as stunt-heavy as the subsequent series, but this Brian De Palma-directed version did have its fair share of incredible action set-pieces. One of them was this brief, but tremendous scene where Ethan Hunt tossed a stick of explosive-laden chewing gum into one of the fish tanks and jumped through the restaurant's glass wall. The subsequent explosion, the leap and the water gushing behind him were performed by Cruise himself. The exploding fish tank scene was reportedly Cruise's idea, and 16 tons of water was used to fulfil the particular set-piece. Now, imagine the potential risk of drowning himself in the water if this stunt had gone wrong. But luckily, Cruise did it well and he definitely looked cool for that scene.
2. The tunnel chase scene – "Mission: Impossible" (1996)
In this climactic finale, Ethan Hunt was seen hanging on the side of the speeding train inside a tunnel and almost gets run over by an oncoming train. Fortunately, he manages to swing his body back onto the roof of the train in the nick of the time. Meanwhile, Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) has already leapt onto one of the helicopter skids. As Hunt then slides his body at the front window of the train, Krieger (Jean Reno) tries to decapitate him with the rotor of the helicopter. However, the helicopter blade accidentally hits the top of the tunnel and forces Krieger to level it back into position. During this instantaneous moment, Hunt takes his chance to jump off from the train and grabs onto the helicopter skid. After Hunt's final word with Phelps, he pulls out an explosive-laden chewing gum and slaps it against the cockpit. The gum makes the helicopter explode into flames, with the impact blasting Hunt forward and landing him on the train's windshield. That's not all, Hunt watches the exploding helicopter crash onto the railway tracks and keep rolling forward until its broken rotor blade almost slices his throat by a few inches. This edge-of-the-seat sequence reportedly took 6 weeks to complete at the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios.
3. The motorcycle chase scene – "Mission: Impossible II" (2000)
"Mission: Impossible II" may have been heavily criticised as the weakest entry in the series, but it remained a technical triumph for its action sequences. Thanks to the typically stylish direction from John Woo, the motorcycle chase scene during the climactic finale was ranked as one of the best action sequences ever staged in the series. In one particular moment, Ethan Hunt jumped off from the speeding motorcycle and skidded on both of his feet along the road, while ducking from multiple gunfire shots by Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). No doubt it was over-the-top, but it was the kind of insane stunt that has to be seen to be believed.
4. The skyscraper-jump scene - "Mission: Impossible III" (2006)
J.J. Abrams' extensive TV background for the highly-popular spy series "Alias" was put into good use with his feature-directing debut in "Mission: Impossible III". While the third instalment was surprisingly the lowest-grossing entry in the series, the movie was creatively speaking a step above from the lacklustre "Mission: Impossible II". One of the memorable action stunts was a scene where Ethan Hunt jumped off from the top of the skyscraper and swung across to another building on a wire, before cutting himself loose and sliding down to a 45-degree glass windows while gunning down the bad guys at the same time. Likewise, Tom Cruise did the death-defying stunt himself wearing only a safety harness, even though the skyscraper scene in Shanghai was actually recreated in the studio.
5. The Burj Khalifa-scaling scene – "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol" (2011)
As if most of the stunts performed by Tom Cruise weren't insane enough in the previous three movies, he managed to outdo himself in "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol". Here, he was seen scaling the windows of the 2,722-feet Burj Khalifa, which also the tallest building in the world. The vertigo-inducing scene was perfectly captured via IMAX camera, and believe it or not, Cruise risked the particular stunt himself without the help of a stunt double!
Watch the 5 best "Mission: Impossible" stunts!
"Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation" is now showing in cinemas.
Cinema Online, 30 July 2015