5. The Bathroom Fight – Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
Good old fashioned fist fights are always great. Three-way bathroom fist fights in which Henry Cavill reloads his arms? Even better.
Though only a short scene in the packed out sixth instalment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, Fallout, this dust up in a Parisian nightclub toilet stands as one of the highlights of the film, working as a perfect microcosm of the type of action storytelling director Christopher McQuarrie helped to develop.
Here, Ethan (Cruise), allied with CIA counterpart Agent Walker (Cavill), get more than they bargained for on the hunt for the mysterious John Lark, when in typical Mission: Impossible fashion plans go awry and what should be a simple intercept breaks out into full blown hand-to-hand combat. Lark is far more dangerous than expected, Walker carelessly breaks the equipment, and the whole thing is almost interrupted by a group of drunken club revellers.
It’s another example of the series turning what could be a simple set piece into its own little story, complete with structure, humour and climatic revelations.
4. The Morocco Heist – Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
This is, perhaps, the most unconventional triathlon ever put to film…
Here, Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust and Simon Pegg’s ever-dependent Benji, have to break into a power plant to extract a digital ledger. What follows is a mesmerising three-part extravaganza featuring an underwater heist, a chaotic chase around the backstreets of the Moroccan city of Rabat, and a high-speed motorbike pursuit along desert highways.
Director Christopher McQuarrie orchestrates it all so well, with practical stunt work that easily makes for the best car chase of the series, as cars and motorbikes tear through the backstreets.
It’s an excellently structured sequence that worked as a natural evolution of the style established by Brad Bird in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) and a stepping stone to the heights of the next film, Fallout.
3. The Paris Breakout – Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
Paris, the City of Love, plays host to this incredibly ambitious sequence that sees Ethan and company attempting to break out former nemesis Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) from custody to secure some stolen plutonium and prevent global annihilation.
Speaking on filming in the French capital, director Christopher McQuarrie noted in an interview with Collider: ‘What I like to do is let the locations dictate the action. The first thing we did when developing this story was come to Paris and let the city tell us what the action was going to be.’
And lord did it work. The utilisation of the city’s geography, combined with an electrifying score from Lorne Balfe, make for a blisteringly intense sequence that sees an underwater armoured vehicle extraction, a motorcycle chase through the Arc De Triomphe, and Ethan reverse-drifting a car down a flight of stairs.
It’s almost everything the Mission: Impossible series had been building to since its inception, combining the lessons learned from previous instalments into this truly magnificent spectacle.