Tom Cruise and the art of ‘stunting’

The phrase ‘dead reckoning’ means guesswork, which is one of Ethan Hunt’s trademark attributes. Ethan, the Mission: Impossible hero portrayed by Tom Cruise, is notorious for making things up as he goes along. “I’ll figure it out!” is what Ethan says before flinging himself onto the roof of a high-speed train or driving off a cliff. 

Ethan is, by design, defined by his reckless heroism. His qualities have rarely wavered since the first Mission: Impossible from 1996. Ethan saves the world, his friends and his current love interest (not always in that order). He does respond to women, but in an old-fashioned, chivalrous way. No James Bond-style romps or sexually suggestive banter for this Man on the Move, whose chief goal is to look Death in the face and say, “I’ll figure it out!”

Who else but Tom Cruise to play Ethan Hunt? There is even a consonance in the names, suggesting a match made in movie heaven – a hard-working actor maniacally focused on entertaining audiences, and a fictional character single-mindedly chasing down a mission. Crusian commitment + Ethanian purpose = Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. Christopher McQuarrie’s movie has the kind of action scenes that, apart from making the jaw drop and the heart race, will prompt the question of how they are to be recognised at the forthcoming awards season, especially the Oscars.

The bike stunt in Mission:  Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.

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