The Best Stunts Of The Mission: Impossible Movies

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As star / producer Tom Cruise, director Christopher McQuarrie and writer Drew Pearce gear up to tackle a fifth Mission: Impossible movie (which just nabbed a release date of Christmas Day, 2015), we take a stroll down memory lane, then jump on recollection’s high speed train, clamber up Reminiscence Tower and leap off into a look at the stunts they’ll be trying to top…

Cruise’s Ethan Hunt battles Jean Reno’s Franz Krieger while one is atop a speeding train and the other pilots a chopper. Putting aside the unreal element of two trains occupying the same Channel Tunnel segment (that can’t happen), and every objection relating to a helicopter in said tunnel, there’s a lot of fun to be had here. Brian De Palma ramps up the tension and there’s a great cameo from The Day Today’s David Schneider as a nervy train driver. The moment where Cruise is flung towards the train by the exploding helicopter was achieved using a 140mph wind machine."I ended up doing it three or four times and it hurt – I was black and blue for days,” recalls the daredevil actor. “But I wanted to make it real, to make it believable.” Mission: mostly accomplished.

Which Mission: Impossible stunt is your favourite?

Here we find the first signs of Cruise’s obsession with climbing the tallest object he can find in each film. Enjoying some downtime, Hunt clambers up Dead Horse Point in Utah, and suffers a few mishaps before making it to the top – all without a rope, the big loon. Sadly for our hero, even here he can’t avoid a call from work. Cruise wanted to do as much as he can, but les you were worried he did use cables that were removed digitally later on (lest the insurance company and director John Woo suffer heart attacks). “Tom did all of the climbing except the slip off the overhang - his main stunt double, Keith Campbell, did that,” says stunt camera team member Earl Wiggins. “Tom was on the cliff parts of five days for the filming and never complained, which is rare for a big star.”

Which Mission: Impossible stunt is your favourite?

Hunt and his team are in real trouble, stuck on a bridge after an armed ambush of the convoy carrying captured villain Owen Davian (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) leaves a vehicle destroyed. And here comes a missile headed straight for Ethan, who is scrambling to retrieve the Rabbit’s Foot, AKA this movie’s McGuffin. Cruise recruited J.J. Abrams for this one on the strength of his work on Alias, and launched Jeffrey Jacobs’ film-directing career. “The shot where he gets slammed into the car, there was a version of that in the previz and Tom and I – it was on a Friday – were like, ‘Let’s do something crazy. Let’s change it up,” says Abrams. “So we had this idea to have him run and hit the thing. We did it on that Monday a couple of days later, and it was the ability to just be open to ideas that made that stunt possible.”

Which Mission: Impossible stunt is your favourite?

Brad Bird took over the director’s chair for this wildly successful fourth outing, which features – of course! – Cruise climbing something massive. In this case, it was the 2,723-foot-tall Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai. And, yes, Cruise once again decided to hang out the window himself, much to the consternation of Bird and co. “Since Tom was a producer on the film, if any company said, ‘We're not going to insure you,’ he would just go to another company until someone said yes,” laughs Bird. “He views those as rare opportunities to push himself and do something extraordinary. He trained for months to be able to do that. He relished every moment of it.”

brightcove.createExperiences();Which Mission: Impossible stunt is your favourite?