Tom Cruise’s decision to perform all of his own Mission: Impossible stunts may seem bizarre, but the daredevil actor has a good reason for his antics.
Cruise’s acting talent is often overshadowed by his eccentricities – for example, his devotion to Scientology regularly raises eyebrows. In recent years, his career has increasingly shifted to action movies rather than dramas, with Cruise’s commitment to doing his own stunts garnering more attention than the roles themselves. Still, a Hollywood career spanning 40 years is an impressive feat, and Mission: Impossible continues to stay fresh through the franchise’s ability to find unique ways to push Cruise to the limit.
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Whether it’s scaling the world’s tallest building for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, hanging off the side of a plane in mid-air for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, or performing a HALO jump and flying a helicopter in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, it’s commendable that the 58-year-old still wishes to risk his life in the name of entertainment. While it seems like a bizarre attitude, given that most actors hand over the reins to professional stunt doubles, Cruise’s rationale is pretty respectable. Having always been a thrill-seeker, the movie star is dedicated to making the experience feel as real as possible for the audience.
Long before saving the world as Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible series, Cruise was always something of a daredevil. During a 2013 interview on The Graham Norton Show, the actor spoke about his early childhood days of doing flips off the roof of his house into the snow and riding bikes across makeshift ramps. It’s refreshing to see an actor still in love with the thrill of moviemaking, even if the risks can be a little absurd and stunts do sometimes go awry. Even when he was just a few years old, Cruise showed a desire to be a real action hero, and the daring spectacle of Mission: Impossible allows him to use his stunts to maximize the films’ tension onscreen.
Cruise doesn’t just love stunts, he also firmly believes he needs to do them himself. As he said in the same interview, “It has to do with storytelling … It allows us to put cameras in places that you’re not normally able to do.” Cruise definitely has a point. It is sometimes obvious when a camera cuts around an action sequence to switch between the actor and stunt performer, and too many of these cuts can remove the viewer from the scene’s emotional core. One advantage the Mission: Impossible movies have over other actioners is how the direction smoothly follows Cruise’s movements, capturing angles that showcase the actor and make the action feel more authentic. Of course, Cruise is only able to pull off these stunts because he’s spent “30 years” training to accomplish this level of physical storytelling. He clearly takes the job very seriously, and inarguably developed a winning franchise formula in Mission Impossible.
It can sometimes be easy to forget that Cruise is still human, and even he has suffered from accidents while performing his own stunts, like when he broke his ankle filming the most recent Mission: Impossible movie. There is definitely an argument to be had about the very real risks of stunt work, as some professionals have even died in tragic accidents. Still, regardless of what some think of Tom Cruise, there’s no denying he’s dedicated to his craft.
- Mission: Impossible 7 (2022)Release date: May 27, 2022
- Mission: Impossible 8 (2023)Release date: Jul 07, 2023
- Top Gun: Maverick/Top Gun 2 (2021)Release date: Nov 19, 2021
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