Mummy star Tom Cruise, the Peter Pan of movies, is an incredible 55 today (3 July). And to mark the Cruister’s birthday, we thought we’d look back at some of the death-defying stunts he’s performed on the brilliant Mission: Impossible series.
Warning: Don’t try these at home, kids!
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Ethan Hunt needs to break into the CIA headquarters and, with a multitude of security devices, the only way to access the computer terminal he needs is to be lowered down through a conveniently placed point – being lowered slowly over a distance of around 40 feet.
Stunt trivia: Apparently, they couldn't get the balance right during the infamous stunt and Cruise kept tipping forward and banging his head. That was until he had the ingenious idea of putting a load of coins in his shoe to transfer the weight backwards.
Mission: Impossible II (2000)
M:I's first sequel starts in a suitably dramatic fashion, as Hunt free climbs a sheer rock face to reach the spot to collect his next mission. Although why the IMF need to put the instructions at the top of an unreachable plateau is anyone's guess.
Stunt trivia: Filmed at a famous climbing spot in Utah, the scene was lensed with Cruise doing the majority of the stunt work – with a stand-in swapping roles for only the most dangerous bits. Although Cruise was on cables (which were digitally removed in post-production) director John Woo was terrified something bad would happen to his leading star.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
The IMF need to infiltrate a building but can't access it in the traditional way (like, through a ruddy door) so Hunt has to jump off a nearby building and swing across to the sloping roof of the one he needs to enter.
Stunt trivia: Although a stunt person was used in places, there was still a couple of scenes where Cruise has to drop a large distance – and that would've been filmed in a studio with a green-screen background. Cruise usually comes away from his stunt work unharmed, but he did crack a couple of ribs during the filming of M:I 3.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
One of the most iconic scenes in any of the Mission: Impossible films, Hunt climbs up the side of Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest building – it's 829.8 metres from the bottom to the top. Using nothing but a pair of electronic 'sucker' gloves, Hunt scales several floors before the gloves, predictably, begin to malfunction…
Stunt trivia: Yep, that's Cruise again. Obviously he's wired up (again, these would be digitally removed later) but c'mon, would you do it?
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
The most dramatic stunt of the last M:I movie, where he's clinging to the side of an airplane as it takes off, is possible his best ever. In a 2015 interview, Cruise said that his biggest fear with the stunt wasn't coming away from the plane (he was safely tethered to the side of it) but getting hit at great speeds by flying debris: “I remember one time we were going down the runway and there was just a little particle that just hit me, it was smaller than a finger nail. I was thankful it didn’t hit my hands or face, if it did I’d have a problem because those parts were exposed, but it still could have broken my ribs!”
Check out the trailer above to see the scene for yourself (it starts at 2:08).