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Mission: Impossible: Tom Cruise’s 5 Best Stunts in the Franchise, Ranked

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Tom Cruise on a motorcycle chase with explosions behind him in Mission Impossible

Mission: Impossible is a long-running action spy franchise revolving around Impossible Missions Force agent Ethan Hunt as he takes on threat after threat and conquers the impossible. Based on the TV series of the same name created by Bruce Geller, the film franchise began in 1996 and has spawned a total of six films, with two more on the way, as outlined by Screen Rant. While the franchise is known for its ensemble cast, the one staple character to appear in every Mission: Impossible film is Ethan Hunt, portrayed by Tom Cruise.

Part of what makes the Mission: Impossible movies so fantastic is Cruise’s insistence on performing many of his own stunts. From Mission: Impossible to Top Gun, Cruise has been at the helm, performing a number of crazy stunts that many actors would not dare go near. While many of Cruise’s action films feature him performing stunts of varying degrees, his stunts in the Mission: Impossible

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franchise are the most daring. These are Tom Cruise’s best Mission: Impossible stunts in the franchise, ranked.

When Ethan Hunt takes control of a helicopter in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, he goes on a high speed helicopter chase, navigating the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Despite Cruise’s experience, this is possibly one of the most dangerous stunts Cruise has ever performed, considering that he had to maintain a great level of focus in order to fly with precision and speed all while remaining in character for the film. While this is not Cruise’s first airborne stunt, it is, without a doubt, his most daring one in the air. Per Variety, the shots of the chase were long takes and, in classic Mission: Impossible style, it was filmed without any special effects in sight.

Related: These Action Movie Stars Do Their Own Stunts (And Some Who Refuse To)

Arguably the most iconic stunt in the whole of the Mission: Impossible franchise is the knife on the eye seen in Mission: Impossible 2. While this stunt could have easily been faked with CGI, the choice to do it for real was a gutsy one that definitely paid off. During the knife fight between Cruise and his co-star Dougray Scott, the knife is lowered through the use of a measuring cable until the sharp point was only a quarter inch away from Cruise’s naked eye. Despite the fact that the overall size of this stunt is rather small compared to many others, that a single flinch or mistake while the stunt was done could have cost Cruise his eye is part of what makes this stunt so amazing.

In Rogue Nation, Tom Cruise performed an underwater stunt. During this, Cruise held his breath for a total of six and a half minutes. Experts were brought in to help Cruise train him to be able to slow down his heart rate so that he would require less oxygen. As epic as this stunt is, Cruise admitted that this did not come without its discomforts as the training had conditioned him to breath far less. When he was still and not performing any physical activity, Cruise would have to actively remind himself to breath. This stunt ranks third on the list because despite how tame it may seem on-screen, it’s pretty hardcore to train yourself to hold your breath for over six minutes.

Related: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One: Everything We Know So Far

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