"Our lives are the sum of our choices," plays a voiceover dialogue as Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt revs up a dirt bike at the edge of a cliff. Cruise’s life is definitely the sum of his death-defying choices as the 60-year-old just wishes to amp up the danger level of his stunts with every passing movie.
If climbing the Burj Khalifa in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and hanging on to an airplane in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation wasn’t enough, he has capitalised well on a risky bike stunt in the latest instalment Mission Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One.
Driving off the cliff and then floating in mid-air with only six seconds to open his parachute, Cruise performed the stunt without any doubles. The breakdown, in fact, was posted in December, way before this trailer dropped.
What relevance would this Herculean bike ride (or a close fall to death) have on the plot of Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One, the trailer doesn’t reveal yet but it seems like a convenient opportunity to showcase its leading man and producer’s action star persona.
Even though Cruise led Top Gun in his prime, he started out with romantic comedies and dramas. It’s only with the Mission Impossible franchise raising its stakes from 2000s onwards that Cruise began to rebrand himself as an ageing yet efficient action star.
But as Cruise explained in the behind-the-scenes video dubbed as “The Biggest Stunt in Cinematic History”, he has had a fascination to play with his life since childhood.
To quote the multiple Oscar nominee (yes, Mr Cruise once used to pursue emotion-driven, critically-acclaimed acting too),
While Dead Reckoning thankfully didn’t have any on-set accidents, Cruise recently went through a grievous injury while shooting Mission: Impossible - Fallout (the sixth film in the franchise if you’re not keeping track). In a scene where Cruise set out to literally leap between two buildings, the actor injured his ankle.
The broken ankle fortunately healed after months of rehab, and shooting resumed.
But Cruise and on-set injuries go hand in hand, dating all the way back to the first Mission: Impossible in 1996. In a scene involving an exploding aquarium, Cruise made the run for his life with some shards of glass injuring his ankle. Of course, Cruise went on to run frantically in many more action movies as even the Dead Reckoning trailer shows.
While he didn’t have to go to the hospital for these stunts, let’s not forget that Cruise has also…
…jumped from a helicopter in Fallout (falling towards a netting but still the wind impact is a lot to handle). He had five reshoots.
…and he also jumped into the sea from a 120-foot cliff in an underwater sequence in Rogue Nation. Cruise obviously went through intensive training and suffered many blackouts while filming underwater. He also held his breath for six minutes for the final take.
And how can we forget he clung on to a plane without any CGI or doubles involved.
Or the time when he climbed on to the then-highest story of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa attached with a cord the thickness of a piano wire (and he had to grapple down too).
Tom Cruise is willing die for the movies. Tom Cruise would rather do 13,000 motocross jumps and fling himself off a cliff 500 times than allow one fake stunt into his movie. Contact with one droplet of his blood would kill 50,000 police officers instantly— Orin (@orinanne) December 19, 2022
Regardless of whatever daredevilry Cruise indulges in, some of the actor’s fans are concerned about his future health. “Dead” Reckoning is quite a concerning title in that sense.