Action movie fans around the world are sure to agree that Tom Cruise has delivered some of the most memorable, heart-pounding performances in the history of the genre, but the questions remains: which of Tom’s action scenes are the best? With a history of iconic roles that have shattered the boundaries of what action fans could expect, nailing down just ten proved a task for the team at TomCruise.com. The Mission: Impossible series alone has transformed the way cinema lovers throughout the world judge what an action scene should be. And from all accounts from the filming of Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, the latest should shatter those same expectations!
And this is before we get into some of Tom’s more groundbreaking action roles from science fiction thrillers like Minority Report and War of the Worlds. And nobody can forget his first, indelible action role with Top Gun! Just thinking about all the possibilities is enough to make us lose our breath .
However, we put our thinking caps on, reached back into the Tom Cruise filmography, and came out with our top 10 action scenes for you to enjoy. Take a look at the list below as is counts down to the number one action scene, along with video clips from each entry for you to enjoy!
10. Collateral – Final Fight
One of Tom’s very few roles as a villain in Collateral also brought one of his most thrilling sequences. As the murderous assassin Vincent, Tom faced off against a seemingly overmatched Jamie Foxx in a sunrise showdown on a Los Angeles Metro train. What Vincent didn’t know was that he was the antagonist in a Hollywood movie . While the tension got ratcheted up, it’s thankfully rare that the bad guy gets to pull off the winning shot.
9. The Last Samurai – Final Charge
We recently wrote about this scene making a list of top battle sequences in movie history, and we think that more than qualifies it for an action scene list as well! The final charge to end The Last Samurai embodies all that is right about the warrior code of the brave Japanese swordsmen, even in the face of assured defeat. Despite the impossible odds, the fierce samurai would rather give their lives than their dignity. It’s a measure of conviction very few can ever hope to achieve.
8. Mission Impossible III – Bridge Explosion
Tom and J.J. Abrams first teamed up to produce this installment of the Mission: Impossible film series and with Mission Impossible III the duo didn’t disappoint! Using some of the most daring and old-school stunt work, Tom was literally thrown into a car using absolutely no computer generated effects! The realistic scene was one of the highlights of the series and set the tone for the gritty action to come in the most recent daring-do of special agent Ethan Hunt.
7. War of the Worlds – Taking Down A Tripod
While more of a science fiction thriller than a traditional action movie, War of the Worlds isn’t short on intense action set pieces that would rival any traditional genre movie. Steven Spielberg and Tom combined forces with visual effects powerhouse Industrial Light and Magic to deliver this stunner, and this scene doesn’t disappoint. Facing incalculable odds, Tom’s character still finds the quick thinking and fortitude to take out the overpowering alien force!
6. Knight and Day – The Airplane Situation
In the latest from Tom Cruise, his depiction of super agent Roy Miller gets kicked off in this opening set piece of Knight and Day. After sending Cameron Diaz to the powder room to get her out of the line of fire, Roy gives the audience a glimpse of his powers and leaves a handful of pursuing agents … in the cold. An incredibly solid opening for what turns into both an action-packed and funny summer screen adventure.
5. Mission Impossible III – I Knew He’d Make It
The only movie to score two scenes on our Top 10 list, Mission Impossible III gives us this insane take on BASE jumping and rock climbing that includes a super plunge along 100 story buildings combined with quick gunplay. Tom elevates the game of Ethan Hunt with the high-wire antics while an incredulous Luther (Ving Rhames) looks on in slack-jawed amazement. We can’t say we didn’t feel the same on our first viewing of this classic stunt!
4. Mission Impossible II – Motorcycle Chase
Ethan Hunt hits the list again with this memorable high-speed chase from the second installment in the spy series, Mission Impossible II, under the direction of Hong Kong action master, John Woo. Speeding along on the back of the iron horse is no trouble for Tom in this scene, even when he decides to casually step off for a moment whilst dodging a hail of lead. In pursuit of the super villain Ambrose (Dougray Scott) Tom pulls out all the stops, including some in mid air!
3. Top Gun – The Final Dogfight
The finale of Top Gun marked the turning point in Tom’s career and established him as both an exciting action star and an international leading man. A classic from the very end of the Cold War era, the scene still sends shivers down our spines while making our hearts palpitate as Tom’s “Maverick” overcomes his demons to get into the fight! This is one scene we’d never scramble from.
2. Minority Report – John Anderton’s Get Away
With his first collaboration with Dreamworks chief Steven Spielberg in the Philip K. Dick science fiction epic, Minority Report gave us a darker version of Tom that audience possibly weren’t familiar with. That didn’t stop his character of John Anderton from laying the smack down on Colin Farrell just before making a crafty get away in one of the freshest Lexus cars to roll off an assembly line.
1. Mission: Impossible – Train Chase
In our hearts, the original finale for Mission: Impossible is numero uno! Combining the very best in a fight scene combined with a chase, a helicopter, a train and a tunnel… it just doesn’t get much bigger or badder than that! When we first saw this sequence in the theaters, we nearly felt like the British train conductor at the end of the clip!
Since this original stunt and CGI hit the big screen, many of the revolutionary uses of technology pioneered on this shoot have become staples in the action genre. However, it’s the spectacular finish that will stick into our minds – and throats – for all time.
So that’s a wrap on our countdown to the Top 10 Tom Cruise action scenes! It was tough to narrow it down to 10, but we’re happy we were able to comb through the archives watching all the great action performances Tom has delivered throughout his career to come up with these picks!
Are there any scenes we left from the list? Any Tom Cruise movies you can’t believe didn’t make the cut!? Let us know in the comments section!
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