One of the 8,000 things my kids are currently obsessed with is the Tom Cruise “Mission: Impossible” franchise. They've seen the franchise completely out of order, because I used “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” to win them over. By far, it's the best of the entire series, and they're already Brad Bird fans because of “The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” and “Ratatouille,” so when I showed it to them, all I had to do was tell them who made it.
Actually, that's not true. The other thing I told them was about the stunt that Tom Cruise did, the highly-publicized climb up the outside of Burj Khalifa in Dubai. They're Jackie Chan fans already, and we discussed how Jackie did his own stunts and why that's special. It's something that we've talked about in terms of Buster Keaton as well. I hate to say it, but it's true… there's something special about the thrill you get as an audience member when you know that you're watching someone really do something where they could have been killed.
That's awful, right? But even so, we continually turn to that as a way of hyping up a movie. The last 24 hours, how many times have you seen some mention of Tom Cruise strapping himself to the outside of an airplane?
What amazes me is that the stunt was evidently filmed in September and managed to be kept a secret until now. The Daily Mail broke the story when they ran some video of Tom Cruise doing this insane stunt at 5000 feet, and it really is an amazing, jaw-dropping thing. It is a real plane. It is Tom Cruise. Sure, he's strapped to it, but that doesn't change the fact that he's on the outside of an airplane.
Madness. Total madness.
Since we saw “Ghost Protocol,” we've also watched the first film, and what I love most about the train sequence at the end is watching Cruise's face as he was in front of those giant fans to simulate the effect from moving at that speed. Cruise has been making these films for 20 years now, and the thing he's always done is put himself in harm's way for the delight of the audience. There are very few movie stars right now who go so far out of their way to do crazy things, and it's one of the many reasons I've enjoyed watching Cruise work for the past 30 years.
“Mission: Impossible 5” is directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and you'll see it in theaters on December 25, 2015.