mission impossible

Top five Mission: Impossible Action Sequences 

Words: Josh Rakic 
Photo Above: Paramount Pictures

Just when we thought it wasn’t possible to fit any more action into a single film, Mission: Impossible has shattered expectations all over again with the fifth installment of the franchise, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation.

Due in theatres July 31, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation has drawn inspiration from the best action sequences of its four predecessors and somehow managed to redefine once more what’s physically and cinematically possible.

The trailer alone features more action sequences in some 120 seconds than most action films in their entirety.  Because while the Mission: Impossible franchise stands out for its tent pole iconic stunts - think scaling Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, jumping from Shanghai rooftops, hanging one-handed from cliff-tops and the original Langley wire drop -  it’s the fast-paced, death-defying action sequences in between that make them a staple in the action genre.

So as we count the days until Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation drops in cinemas, we bring you five of the best action sequences from the Mission: Impossible franchise so far. Of course, it goes without saying that Tom Cruise - aka Ethan Hunt - performed the stunts below himself. 

1. Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

Prison Escape
These guys know how to start a movie. With a combination of wit, technology and cunning, the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) execute a clinically orchestrated prison escape for Ethan Hunt, with the help of remote agents Carter and Dunn. Beautifully timed to Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” - which accounts for the trademark humor of the occasion - the sequence sees a perfect mixture of suspense, action and chaos. The IMF sets off a prison riot in Moscow with enough distractions for operative Hunt to free himself. But not before kicking some serious ass and displaying the kind of acrobatic skills that’d make the US Olympic team jealous.

2. Mission: Impossible III

Bridge Attack
Damn. A fighter jet, a heat-seeking missile, a bridge and Ethan Hunt trapped in an over-turned car as he looks to fight back against Philip Seymour Hoffman’s minions, who break Hoffman’s character - Davian - free from a prison van. There are explosions, a gun fight and Hunt holding on for dear life as he dangles precariously 100 feet above the water from a broken bridge. And that’s before he scales cars to take aim at the fleeing chopper.

3. Mission: Impossible

Tunnel Chase
The scene that started it all and stands the test of time. Was it a chase sequence? Was it a fight sequence? Answer: both. From hand-to-hand combat onboard a speeding train before climbing onto its roof, Ethan Hunt hurls through the Channel Tunnel on the outside of the train as a chopper operated by the villain is in hot pursuit. He’s grazed by an oncoming train then the chopper blades nearly slice his head off, before Hunt launches himself from the train onto the chopper and proceeds to blow it up with the explosive chewing gum your mom never let you have. 

4. Mission: Impossible II

Island motorbike escape
Filmed in Australia, Hunt’s escape from the villain’s compound replaces the locomotive with a Triumph motorcycle and high powered weapons, while still employing the use of a chopper and cutting edge pyro. Physical maneuvers and upside down shooting aside, the scene climaxes with Hunt launching the bike into mid-air before powering through a fiery bridge explosion - courtesy of a rocket launcher - and dodging exploding vehicle parts before emerging on the other side unscathed and cool as ever. And like a true action hero, he never looks back.

5. Mission: Impossible III 

End fight scene
Getting back to basics, the director confines this scene to one location, proving that some of the best action sequences require nothing but physical prowess, imagination and kick-ass camera work. It’s Tom Cruise vs. Seymour Hoffman in hand-to-hand combat - or in Cruise’s case, elbow to elbow - before a final twist, that sees the pair smash through a window and roll into the street. Cruise, with his back to the ground, uses his remaining strength to push Seymour Hoffman into the air where a speeding car collides with him head-on and finishes him for good. He then proceeds to electrocute himself to stop a chip implanted in his brain from exploding before being resuscitated by Michelle Monaghan.

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