The new trailer for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — ROGUE NATION has been released by Paramount Pictures. A hallmark of the series is incredible action, and this installment promises plenty of thrills.
The recent release of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD trumpeted the use of practical stunts in that film. Visual effects were used to create environments and weather, but the stunts were real, for the most part. Director George Miller and his team received well deserved praise for this approach, especially in a cinematic universe filled with CG characters and action that defies the reality of physics.
No single action star has been more dedicated to keeping it real than Tom Cruise. He reportedly does almost all of his own stunt-work no matter how dangerous it may be. In ROGUE NATION the signature stunt is featured at the end of the trailer: Cruise hangs on the outside of an Airbus A400M military transport at 5,000 feet above the English countryside. Doubt it was done for real? Check out these pix of the stunt being performed:That takes guts. Cruise has been doing this kind of thing for years now. Whatculture has a gallery of Cruise’s most insane stunts; here are the ones from the MI franchise, with Whatculture’s descriptions excerpted below:
While Brian de Palma’s opening installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise isn’t as action packed as the other installments, this sequence is one of the most memorable across all four movies. The fish tank set-piece was reportedly Cruise’s idea, and the actor insisted on doing the stunt himself much to the dismay of the director.
The explosion and subsequent jump through the window were shot on a soundstage at Paramount Studios, with Cruise neglecting to use a stunt double. No less than sixteen tons of water were used for the scene, and seeing the actor’s face as he escapes only enhances the power of the scene, especially when you consider the very obvious drowning hazards.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II
Looking for a suitable way to reintroduce the character of Ethan Hunt at the beginning of Mission: Impossible II, Tom Cruise somehow arrived at the conclusion that free climbing the sheer cliffs of Utah’s Dead Horse Point would do the job. Although stunt doubles were used for the more dangerous moments, the studio was still understandably skeptical of having their star dangle precariously on a cliff-face hundreds of feet above the ground.
While Cruise was wearing a harness during filming (which was digitally removed in post-production), there was no safety net in case anything went wrong. John Woo was reportedly terrified about having the actor perform so much of the climbing himself, but Cruise insisted on doing as much as possible and even ended up injuring his shoulder in the process when jumping from one part of the cliff to another. The end result is a dizzying opening sequence that uses sweeping aerial shots and wide angles to let the audience know that Tom Cruise’s daredevil instincts remain intact.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III
We remember him leaping off the roof of a skyscraper, but the leap, while dangerous, was made on a soundstage from a rooftop set piece. Perhaps more audacious was his slide underneath a fuel tanker truck; Cruise lay down in the middle of the road, only to have the huge vehicle jackknife directly over him. First-time feature director J.J. Abrams has noted that he saw his career flash in front of his eyes as the truck came ever-closer to the A-list star. The end result is truly a remarkable stunt. Only a matter of inches separate Cruise from the underside of the tanker as it passes over him, and having the camera up close and personal only increases the tension of the scene.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — GHOST PROTOCOL
One of the greatest action set-pieces in recent memory, Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol sees Tom Cruise scaling the outside of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at a vertigo-inducing 2,722 feet. Of course, the actor decided to perform the entire sequence himself without the use of a stunt double, adding further realism to an already nail-biting scene. Although securely attached to the building with a safety harness, Cruise admits that he failed to anticipate the crosswinds that come with being up so high, which caused him to slam into the side of the building on numerous occasions. However, the combination of the actor’s dedication and some stunning camerawork create a sequence that is nothing short of awe-inspiring, with Cruise’s sprint down the outside of the building a particular highlight.
Genevieve Koski, writing in The Dissolve, says this about the stunt: “Cruise and director Brad Bird’s audacity comes through in the final product, and the sequence is rightfully brought up in discussions of the all-time greatest on-screen stunts. Here’s a good barometer for how impressive a practical stunt/effect is: Does it look just as awesome outside of the movie itself? To wit: The behind-the-scenes video of Cruise filming the sequence … is almost as intense as the final product.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE—ROGUE NATION opens July 31. In addition to Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner return to the series; new cast members include Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, Simon McBurney, and Zhang Jingchu. Christopher McQuarrie directs and Robert Elswit is the cinematographer.