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With each passing film, the Mission: Impossible franchise somehow manages to top itself in the stunt department, and every time Tom Cruise is at the forefront of the action. Say what you will about the man's personal life, but his professional dedication to doing his own stunt work is something to be admired. This was especially impressive in 2011's Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, when Tom Cruise memorably swung around the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai – the tallest building in the world. If you think that's the most impressive stunt in Mission: Impossible history, you''re absolutely right. At least, you will be until Mission: Impossible 5.
The Daily Mail has reported in with photos and video of Tom Cruise on the set of the Christopher McQuarrie directed sequel, due for theatrical release next Christmas. Though, to be fair, the term "set" is a bit generous, as the venue for Cruise's latest stunt is an Airbus A400M aircraft being flown 5,000 feet above the English Countryside.
For reference, here's the full Burj Khalifa scene from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol:
While he wasn't at the tip of the building for his stunt run (he saved that portion of the day for one of most epic self portraits of all time,) the Burj Khalifa only stands 2,717 feet tall. That's almost 2,300 feet below the altitudes Tom Cruise is currently flying at, dressed to the nines, with only a harness attached to the aircraft's door and his grip standing between him and actual oblivion. It's enough to make you want to ask Paramount Pictures how much they spend in insurance premiums alone on the Mission: Impossible films.
With Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol ranking in as the highest grossing film in the franchise, thanks to the $694.7 million it banked from worldwide venues, the house that Cruise built seems to be proving that so far the series has the perfect formula to success: throw in luxurious scenery and locales, sprinkle with tons of one liners and great action beats, and top everything with one, showstopping set piece that Tom Cruise risks his life to perfect – and you've got Paramount's winter tentpole golden boy.
Mission: Impossible 5 has the chance to be the only film that could take on Star Wars: Episode VII pound for pound in next Christmas' box office showdown; which automatically makes J.J. Abrams a winner either way – considering he's directing the latter and producing the former. While Star Wars is making a shift back to more traditional filming and effects methods from the series' days of glory, at least Mission: Impossible can say that they never had to return, because Tom Cruise would never let them leave.
Mission: Impossible 5 takes flight into theaters on December 25th, 2015.