Today marks the 20th anniversary of Tom Cruise’ epic spy espionage Thriller Mission: Impossible, and what better way to celebrate then talk about some of my favourite moments from all five missions.
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Hunt Finding Out The Truth
Late into the second act of the original piece, Hunt finds himself in a safe house in London – going to a nearby tube type station he is hopped upon by Team Leader Phelps played by Jon Voight, who he presumed dead at the beginning, taking refugee in a nearby cafe – they discuss what went wrong in their mission. It is in this scene that the penny drops for hunt and in a great array of flashback moments, he learns what came of his team and ultimately figuring out his own leader was behind it all and pinning it on Ethan.
What I love about this scene is the great editing and the back and forth between these two genius actors. For me this scene proved that the original Mission film, did not need amazing set pieces and awesome action but just two men in a cafe exchanging incredible plot details.
Hanging On A Tight Rope
In one of the first major stunt sequence of the entire franchise, we finds Hunt making a daring retrieval of a precious List in the CIA in Langley, Virginia – trying to be as quiet as a mouse, Hunt shows off his incredible acrobatic skills as time is against him in this incredible heist scene.
This is not only one of the best scene (if not the best scene) of the first movie but also the entire franchise. We are holding on for dear life as the intense editing and little to no dialogue adds and immense air of tension. Truly, an iconic scene.
Full Throttle TGV
In the final act, with his cover blown, Phelps tries to kill Ethan. Unsuccessful, he climbs to the roof of the high-speed train, where Krieger (Jean Reno) is waiting with a helicopter and a tether. Hunt stops Phelps from escaping and connects the tether to the train itself, forcing Krieger to pilot the helicopter into tightly squeezed Channel Tunnel after the train. Hunt places a piece of explosive chewing gum on Krieger’s helicopter windshield, blowing up the helicopter and killing Phelps.
Talk about a Hollywood finish! With a mix of green screen, the finally to the first Mission is an amazing roller-coaster ride! Which, 20 years on holds up impressively.
Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
In this explosive sequel – nearing the finale, Ethan and his team break into Biocyte lab to destroy a deadly virus that our villains want. Ambrose, posing as Ethan, tricks Nyah into revealing his plan. Ambrose captures Nyah and raids Biocyte to secure the virus. Ethan is able to destroy all but one sample of the virus before an all action shootout intervenes. Ambrose orders Nyah to retrieve the last sample of the virus, Chimera. She injects herself with it, preventing him from simply killing her to get it. Ambrose takes Nyah away, and Ethan escapes from the laboratory in a masterful leap of faith out of the high-rise building.
With Hans Zimmer’s powerful score echoing throughout this scene, it very much is a standout moment in the sequel. The action is intense and I truly believe Hunts frustration in his failed mission.
Knife To The Eye
While Ethan is pursued by Ambrose, Luther and Billy locate Nyah, who has wandered to a cliff side, intent on killing herself to prevent Chimera from spreading. Ethan eventually catches up to Ambrose and before gaining the upper hand over him, a violent hand to hand combat fight takes a deadly turn, when, Ambrose turns a knife on Hunt.
This is one intense moment- which is practically done — Cruise made sure no CGI was used and the stunt team conjured up a rig to have the stunt possible. Movie magic right there!
M: I – III (2006)
The Plane Interrogation
In the third Impossible Mission, Hunt and team must kidnap Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who will be in Vatican City to obtain a mysterious object called the “Rabbit’s Foot”. Ethan plans a mission to capture Davian without seeking official approval. In a daring swoop, the team successfully infiltrates Vatican City and captures Davian. On the flight back to the U.S., Ethan threatens to drop Davian from the plane as he interrogates him about Rabbit’s foot, but Davian remains tight-lipped.
What an intense scene. This scene alone proves that Davian is a force to be reckoned with a he ultimately breaks Hunt down and gets into his head without saying much at all.
After landing, Ethan learns that the microdot he found earlier in the first act contained a video of Lindsey warning that Brassel is working with Davian. The convoy taking Davian across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel is attacked, which leads to Davian escapes.
Talk about unexpected, lead by an incredible score by Michael Giacchino, Ethan and the team have their hands full as a remote fighter drone flies over head along with mercenary choppers. Ultimately trying to protect the by standers – this scene is one of the highlights of the film, packed full of raw action and eye watering tension – I really wanted Hunt to win this battle!
Out For A Run
After Ethan escapes IMF headquarters after being black-mailed, he travels to Shanghai, to acquire Rabbit’s Foot along with his team and save his wife. As he delivers Rabbit’s Foot to the meeting point, Ethan is tranquilized. When he comes to, he realizes a micro-explosive is implanted in his head. Freeing himself and using a phone to track the last call’s location to find Julia, his wife. He arrives in Chinatown and finds the place heavily guarded.
This is all one shot and wow! Being known for his run, Cruise proves that he still has it in this daring sequence! It is another favourite moment of mine and really added to my enjoyment.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
The Prison Break
In the opening scene to the 2011 sequel, we see Ethan and his newly qualified team break him out of a Russian Prison and get away pretty cleanly in a great mind blowing opening!
This is how you opening a Mission: Impossible film. This 7min scene is some incredible high octain action fun! Pure epic and don’t forget your Dean Martin.
The High Jump
The team learns that the exchange between our villains, is to take place in the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. But as time is running out, Hunt must make a daring leap to take control of the elevators and camera’s of the famous building.
Talk about stunt work. This is without a doubt one of the best all time stunts ever put to screen and Cruise actually did it. The scene is tense as hell, as one little mistake would send him plummeting to certain death. Seeing this on the big screen was a tremendous treat!
The Sandstorm Chase/ Audi Out Of Time
With Ethan hot on the heels of our villain after the Khalifa fiasco, an epic car chase takes place in the middle of a Sandstorm. With little to no visability – the race is truly on to catch his man.
I’m giving major props to this chase as it evenly worked itself into the entire leap of faith sequence incredible well. It was a really exciting chase that was a ride to watch!
I also want to give mention to a later fast paced sequence involving our leads and a very futuristic Audi! Awesomeness!
Mission: Impossible -Rogue Nation
Holding On For Dear Life
Straight into the action in the now fifth outing, we find Hunt trying to infiltrate arms dealers caring weapons on board an A300 airbus.
I think Cruise topped the Khalifa stunt. He hangs onto the side of a bloody airplane! What a man and what an opening!
A Night At The Opera
In the early second act, Hunt remains a fugitive. He enlists former colleague Benji Dunn to attend an opera in Vienna. He predicts that an attempt will be made on the Austrian Chancellor at the performance, and believes that the villain of the film Lane, will also be there.
This 20+min sequence is quite possibly the most daring. How do you keep the audience intrigued? Well they most definitely do. Introduced to some powerfully quiet combat scenes and throwing back tropes to the original spy genre. This scene is incredible tense and fun at the same time!
Hold Your Breath
In this sequence, we see the group plans to acquire a list of Syndicate agents, contained in a secure building but the catch is the vault is secured in an under water tank that is pressure sensitive meaning Hunt must hold his breath.
The silence is deafening as we see Hunt quickly run out of time and air in one of the most powerful pieces of the entire franchise. The use of both practical effects and CGI along with sound design added to amazing tension felt throughout – I found myself holding my breath every second!
A Chase From 4 to 2
After they retrieve the data from the tanker, Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) flees with it, evading both Hunt and Syndicate members. Which ensues a daring car chase with a twist.
If you think the tanker scene wasn’t pulse pounding enough – we are immediately thrown into a car chase straight away! – and it’s an electrifying one! Driven by Cruise himself and with Simon Pegg in the passenger seat, we are thrown in the crazy fast paced sequence with incredibly soft editing and long shots!
But if that wan’t enough we are then thrown back into our seats with an 100 MPH motorcycle chase – with Cruise at the helm of the stunt work. All three sequences are utterly incredible as I was not aloud to catch my breath till the final frame of the motorcycle chase.
These are my favourite scenes and sequences from the Mission Franchise. Pure Hollywood, popcorn fun that are deserved to enjoyed over and over again.
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