The Truth Behind Tom's 'Rogue Nation' Stunts

The trailer for the fifth installment in the Mission Impossible series, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, is insanely action-packed and features Tom Cruise appearing to risk his life more times than I can count. The actor is widely known for performing his own stunts, but there's no way anyone in their right mind would perform the stunts for real that are featured in this new movie. But the actor has never been known for doing what's conventional — so, did Tom Cruise do his own stunts in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation ?

Of course he did. As he's proven numerous times, Tom Cruise is more than willing to put his life on the line for the benefit of thrilling a movie audience, and he really ratcheted it up for his newest film. The 53-year-old actor performed several stunts for Rogue Nation that rank among the most impressive he's ever done. The most high-profile stunt involves him hanging off the side of an airplane as it takes off. For real, he hangs off in actual airplane in the air. In another stunt for the film, Cruise had the idea to shoot an underwater scene without cuts. In the scene, he ends up holding his breath underwater for over six minutes. In yet another crazy stunt for the movie, Cruise zips around a dangerous mountain pass on a motorcycle at high speeds while fighting off pursuers — all without wearing a helmet. Insane!

But Rogue Nation isn't the first time Cruise has forgone using a stunt double in his portrayal of Ethan Hunt. Here are Cruise's best Mission Impossible stunts from the first four films in the series.

Mission Impossible — The Fish Tank

Before this movie came out in 1996, Cruise was better known as a dramatic actor than an action star. This movie changed that. In this scene, Cruise actually jumps through a plate glass window while 16 tons of water gush after him. If the water caught up to him, he could have drowned.

Mission Impossible II — Free Climbing

The opening scene of this 2000 movie features Cruise scaling some dangerous cliffs, and although he was wearing a harness that was digitally removed in post production, that's still him in most shots leaping from rock to rock... with no safety net. He actually approached the scene so intensely that he tore a muscle in his shoulder during filming.

Mission Impossible II — Knife Fight

Cruise not only demanded that a real knife be used for this fight scene, but he wanted it to stop as close to his eye as possible. The knife was attached to a measured cable for the scene, and stopped just a quarter-inch from Cruise's eyeball.

Mission Impossible III — Run Over

In this 2006 film, Cruise falls onto a street to have a semi-truck roll over him. As you can see in this behind-the-scenes clip, that's not a CGI truck, and that's not a stunt double. Cruise was run over by a truck IRL, which came just inches from crushing him.

Mission Impossible III — Thrown From Explosion

Cruise was violently yanked by a cable to simulate being thrown from an explosion, and the impact of his body into the car is painful to watch. As usual with Cruise's craziest stunts, it was all his idea.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol — Burj Khalifa

Cruise just gets wilder with age, it seems. His most death-defying stunt prior to his newest film came in this 2011 thriller, when a then 48-year-old Cruise swung around and ran down the side of the world's tallest building without the aid of a stunt double. This making-of-the-scene featurette is bonkers and I get dizzy just watching it.

Crazy cool, or just crazy? Either way, there's no question that Cruise's fearlessness makes his movies all the more entertaining.

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