7 Insane Mission Impossible Stunts Tom Cruise Almost Took Too Far

Tom Cruise’s stuntman has the least work of any
stuntman in the world.
— Wade Eastwood, Stunt Coordinator
Tom Cruise Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation motorcycle stunt

Tom Cruise Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation motorcycle stunt

When leaving the theater after a Mission Impossible movie, moviegoers not only feel wildly entertained, but also amazed by the stunts and end with the same question: “How'd he do that?"

No movie star on the planet goes to the lengths Tom Cruise does to make sure each Mission Impossible movie tops the last, especially the death-defying stunts. The stunts always look so real because … they are. Why does Tom do these stunts? To tell a great story.

Let's take a look at seven times Tom almost took it too far. Almost.

1) Mission: Impossible: Aquarium explosion
It all started with exploding gum on a giant aquarium that unleashed sixteen tons of water and an incredible franchise. We got our first taste of the wild ride we were in for and been blown away ever since.

2) Mission: Impossible II: Extreme rock climbing without a net
The opening sequence of Mission: Impossible II was the first stunt Tom did for the franchise where we all let out an audible gasp when first seeing it. Everything stopped when Tom was hanging from those orange-colored cliffs hundreds of feet from the ground. Then he jumped. It was probably the only time an entire audience grabbed their chairs and held on for dear life. In the back of our minds, he couldn't ever do a more incredible stunt. Little did we know …

3) Mission: Impossible II: A punishing bike joust
Motorcycle ballet is the only way to describe this stunt in Mission: Impossible II. We all know Tom is an accomplished biker, but combined with the cinematic beauty John Woo brought to the project helped amp up the “amazing" factor on this scene. The craziest thing about it is that he and co-star Dougray Scott were riding the motorcycles as fast as 50 mph — right at each other.

4) Mission: Impossible -- III: Flying off a Shanghai skyscraper
In an incredible scene in the third movie in the series, we see Tom making an insane jump off a Shanghai skyscraper at night. While this stunt was filmed on a sound stage instead of the actual building, it had first-time director J.J. Abrams more than a little nervous because Tom was taking an enormous risk making a jump that high. He made it
happen with multiple takes jumping from 80 feet so it was perfect. And it was. 

5) Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol: Swinging from the world’s tallest

The sheer images of this stunt before the movie opened were sure to cause panic attacks for those with their feet firmly on the ground. In the fourth installment, we find Tom calmly hanging, swinging — and then running down Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at 2,716 feet. He didn't bat an eye. The scenes were filmed at a height that's taller than the Empire State Building.

6) Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation: Spinning underwater for up to 6
minutes without air

Raise your hand if you held your breath when Tom jumped into the giant tube of water during Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The underwater sequence was one of the toughest in Tom's career to pull off because each shot was so long. At times, he has to hold his breath for up to six minutes. He prepared for the scene by free diving. Is there
anything he won't do?

7) Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation: Dangling from a cargo plane at
5,000 feet

After swinging on the tallest building in the world in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Recon, audiences felt Tom had reached the top of the mountain in the stunt department. If we've learned anything over the past four movies, it's never to underestimate the man's quest to give his fans something they've never seen before. He did just that on Rogue Nation by hanging off the side of an Airbus A-400 as the plane took off, and then reached heights of 5,000 feet with Tom attached to the side. If a small pebble or a bird had hit him, it could have been fatal. Want to
know the craziest part? He did it eight times over two days before he got it just right.

Own Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation on Blu-Ray December
15th #GoRogue

(Note: This piece was written for Paramount Studios as part of the DVD release for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation)