For the past couple decades Ethan Hunt and the Mission: Impossible movies have thrilled audiences with action-packed tales. Tom Cruise's character has gotten through some impossible situations over the years, but which among these movies was his most impossible adventure?
Keep in mind this is not a list based on the quality of each Mission: Impossible movie, but more of an evaluation of how challenging a task Ethan faced when he chose to accept each mission. With that in mind,let's dive in, even if this list won't self-destruct anytime soon.
Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
The John Woo-directed sequel found Ethan Hunt hoping to prevent the spread of an upcoming pandemic after an old friend informed him he was forced to develop the "Chimera" virus so a pharmaceutical company can profit off the cure. The virus ended up in the hands of a rogue agent Sean Ambrose and it was up to Ethan and Ambrose's ex Nyah (played by Thandie Newton), to stop the virus from reaching the masses.
As far as Mission: Impossible missions go the most impossible bit of Mission: Impossible 2 is that rock climbing scene at the start. The rest was more or less typical by spy standards, especially since Ethan had an easy in with Ambrose via Nyah. The mask fake outs and stunts are run of the mill as well, though I have to say Hunt kicking that gun from the sand into his hand to kill Ambrose was fantastic. Most people would struggle getting a soccer ball off the ground in those conditions, let alone a firearm!
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
In this Mission: Impossible movie, info for Russian nuclear launch codes has been stolen, and the IMF tasked Ethan for finding the codes and more information on the mysterious man known as "Cobalt." An attack on the Kremlin results in IMF unfairly being disavowed by Russia's SVR, though unofficially, Hunt is encouraged by Russian officials to continue pursuing Colbalt. Cobalt is eventually tracked down thanks to the work of Hunt and his IMF team, and the IMF is cleared of responsibility for the attack on the Kremlin.
Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol may be one of the more straight-forward adventures (and almost the end of an era) in the franchise, but the actions required to stop that nuclear attack on San Francisco created some impossible events. Hunt almost died several times during the ascent of the Burj Khalifa, though it ultimately was all for naught. Ethan's last minute decision to intentionally drive a car off the ledge of an automated car park to get to the ground floor was incredibly stupid, though I'll credit impossible points because he survived the fall and was able to effectively deactivate the missile before it obliterated the city of San Francisco.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
This Mission: Impossible movie followed up on the events of Rogue Nation, in which the Syndicate has re-formed under a new name, the Apostles. A botched plutonium mission puts the team on the hunt for the Apostles' leader John Lark, whose true identity is unknown. The IMF teams with the CIA and Ethan Hunt worked alongside agent August Walker in order to track the dangerous leader. Walker ended up being Lark, and Hunt managed to take him down before the water supply of China, India, and Pakistan was compromised.
August Walker was among one of the most physically imposing adversaries featured in Mission: Impossible movies, which alone makes any task that much more difficult. I also have to give Walker credit for pulling something Jim Phelps couldn't by hiding in plain sight as the villain without faking his death. Ethan got the job done, but he's not a young buck anymore, and all those rooftop runs and building jumps showed this world class agent has aged a bit. Apparently not so much that he's not down for at least two more adventures in the future, but perhaps after that.
When Ethan Hunt is the sole survivor of his IMF team following a botched mission, he's the top suspect for a mole within the agency. Hunt escaped IMF, and went about looking to clear his name with the help of two disavowed agents, Luther Stickell and Franz Krieger, and the wife of his "deceased" boss Claire Phelps. Claire is later exposed as in on the plot, and that Jim Phelps faked his death and was the actual mole. Ethan's name is cleared, and he's given another mission almost instantly on the flight home, which is kind of rude.
One could make an argument that the first of the Mission: Impossible movies is the most impossible mission, though obviously I haven't, considering it's middle of the road status on this list. The general premise of Hunt being wrongly accused as a mole and needing the help of disavowed IMF agents to clear his name is a pretty tall order, especially given the IMF legacy of the actual mole Jim Phelps. Take that, mixed with that helicopter to train sequence towards the end, and it isn't hard to see how the Mission: Impossible movies are still running to this day.
Mission: Impossible III
Ethan Hunt has retired from field work when Mission: Impossible III picks up, but soon finds himself back on the job and searching for a mysterious device called the "Rabbit's Foot." Ethan is crossed and double-crossed when the IMF Operations Director Musgrave reveals the whole plot was a ruse to further IMF's involvement in a preemptive strike. It takes some bold risk taking, but Ethan is able to thwart Musgrave and reveal his role as an IMF agent to his fiancée Julia.
Mission: Impossible III deserves a status towards the top of most impossible missions, mainly because of the use of explosive devices in the head. In the final moments of the film, Ethan realizes his only method of survival is by electrocuting himself to deactivate the explosive device. He leaves it in Julia's hands to revive him, but first she has to kill Musgraves and his henchman with a Beretta. It shouldn't have worked, but it did, and kudos to Ethan and Julia for making the impossible happen.
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Ethan Hunt is on for The Syndicate, a criminal organization the CIA doesn't believe exists. The IMF is disbanded, and Hunt is a fugitive still desperate to prove the existence of The Syndicate. It takes a lot of work, but eventually Hunt exposed The Syndicate and the IMF is reinstated by a Senate committee.
Ethan Hunt taking on The Syndicate without the strength of the IMF, and while being pursued by the CIA is insane. He shouldn't have been able to pull it off, but the beautiful bastard got some old friends back together and punched and kicked his way to getting his beloved organization re-instated. There's no other way to put it, Hunt did something truly impossible, and well-deserving of the top slot on this list.
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