To become a licensed helicopter pilot for an impossibly dangerous game of chicken in Mission Impossible: Fallout, Tom Cruise was told he’d need to train eight hours a day for three months.
He suggested the producers instead hire two crews and train 16 hours a day to make it faster. And that’s what they did.
Cruise would train eight hours each day with one crew, they’d go home exhausted, and he’d continue again with a second crew for another eight hours. He was licensed in six weeks.
To get the shot of Cruise doing a high altitude jump from a plane over the Grand Palais in Paris at dusk, they needed to invent a special helmet that would allow his face to be lit without igniting the mask’s oxygen and setting Tom’s gorgeous face on fire.
Then Cruise and a camera operator had to jump from the plane at 25,000 feet (that’s 7.6 kilometres straight up) during a THREE-MINUTE window of perfect lighting and stay exactly three feet apart during the free fall.
It was so difficult they had to do it 106 days IN A ROW to get the shot right.
That’s saying nothing of the fact Cruise broke his ankle doing a simple roof jump, and yet managed to complete the shot anyway. It appears in the movie.
Doctors said the ankle would need nine months to heal. Six weeks later, he was filmed in a foot chase through Paris at speeds so fast I suspected they’d sped it up digitally. They hadn’t.
All this is to say Tom Cruise is a real life superhero. In an age of computer-effects overload, Mission Impossible: Fallout is everything audiences have been longing for. The Avengers could only wish they looked half as tough as 56-year-old Tom Cruise.
He is also aging backwards (Is there a painting of him in an attic somewhere, Dorian Gray-style?) and continues to flash a movie star smile that can crush the best of them.
The rest of the Mission Impossible gang returns to bask in Cruise’s bright glow and deliver a story that weaves in a terrorist manifesto, stolen plutonium, moral dilemma, double-crossing, lovers reuniting, end-of-the-world plot with new bad guys (honourable mention goes to The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby for having more fun than anyone as an arms broker named the White Widow) and almost as many twists and turns as jaw-dropping action sequences.
It’s the kind of action movie that makes you remember action movies were once really good, instead of excuses to eat popcorn. Run, don’t walk, to the theatre. This Mission Impossible demands and deserves to be seen on the big screen.
Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia