The Mission: Impossible franchise has gone from a bit of popcorn fun to becoming one of the best action franchises of all-time. The films continue to build on what came before, upping their game and giving audiences plenty of reason to want more. Thanks largely to the dedication of star Tom Cruise, the franchise has featured some of the most insane stunts ever put on the big screen. But while the stunts get the spotlight, the series has also given us some fantastic fight scenes.
The fight sequences of the films continue to evolve, just as the series itself does. They can be wild and inventive or quite brutal. But they are always entertaining to watch. Here are the hardest-hitting fight scenes in the Mission: Impossible franchise.
The Mission: Impossible films can be a little hit and miss with their villains. But most fans will agree that Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Owen Davian stands as the series' best villain.
While it's hard to imagine Hoffman beating Cruise in a fight, when Hunt and Davian face-off in the climax of Mission: Impossible III, Hunt is incapacitated by a device in his head. Davian gives him a good beatdown before Hunt fights through the pain and gets the upper hand. It's a fine fight showing Hunt's unstoppable perseverance.
Very early on in Rogue Nation, Hunt find himself the captive of an evil organization known as The Syndicate and about to be tortured by a man with the intimidating nickname, the Bone Doctor. It is at this moment that he first meets Ilsa Faust, and the two immediately prove to be a perfect pair.
This is a great two-handed fight with Hunt and Faust falling into an automatic rhythm with each other. There is also some nice humorous moment with Hunt's quick dispatch of the Bone Doctor, his attempt to free himself from his handcuffs and his confusion at why this random woman is saving his life.
Brad Bird brought his inventive flair for action scenes to the series's fourth film which were on full display in this fun early scene. After serving years in prison, Hunt's new team concocts a clever plan to get him out. Of course, Hunt makes some changes in the plan leading to highly entertaining sequence.
As the prison riots, Hunt fights off both guards and other prisoners as he makes he searches for a friend he doesn't want to leave behind. Set to Dean Martin's "Ain't That a Kick in the Head", the scene is a stylized bit of fun that felt fresh in the series.
While the Mission: Impossible series has become a high-octane action franchise, the first film that kicked off the whole thing was more of a thriller. Directed by Brian De Palma, it had the feel of his typical paranoia films. But the climactic train sequence fits right at home with the series' best scenes.
As the the villain Phelps tries to escape a speeding train by way of helicopter, Hunt gets on top of the train to stop him. While there aren't too many blows exchanged, the fact that they are fighting at impossible speeds while a helicopter hovers beside them is a real thrill.
Fallout has one of the most tense conclusions in the series (or any movie). To give an idea of how intense it gets, this brutal fight isn't even the highlight.
As the team tries to disarm a nuclear weapon from two separate detonation points, Ilsa and Benji face-off against the intimidating Solomon Lane. The scene plays almost like a horror film with Lane stalking his victim in the dark cabin then stringing up poor Benji to hang. The one-on-one fight with Lane and Ilsa is both brutal and desperate. You'll be holding your breath the entire time.
While the prison break sequence is a lot of fun, this climactic fight is just painful. Hunt pursues the villain Hendricks into a parking garage where the two engage in a brutal and violent fight over a detonator. As expected, Brad Bird uses the inventive location to its full advantage.
The car lifts and changing platforms turns the fight into a bone-braking game of keep-away as they both fight for control of the detonator. The injuries feel real and painful, leaving both hobbled yet determined. It might be the most hard-hitting of the series' fight scenes.
This fight sequence might be the series' best mix of the hard-hitting fisticuffs and the stealth spy missions. Hunt uncovers a plot to carry out an assassination at the opera. He sneaks his way backstage and finds that the situation is more complicated than he thought.
With "Nessun Dorma" playing, Hunt tries to take out one assassin while dealing with a second at the same time. The sequence is intense but more subdued than most of the other fights. There's also some great use of the backstage setting and some funny bits as Hunt faces off with a much larger foe.
Even as the sixth entry in the franchise, Fallout showed no signs of slowly down. Just as you think the movie has peaked, it throws another wild sequence at you. Following the nail-biting helicopter chase, Hunt comes face-to-face with Walker. With Henry Cavill in the role, Walker is maybe Hunt's most physically capable adversary and the two have a brutal final melee.
Taking place on the edge of a cliff, the fight has the visceral feel of two men trying to kill each other. Each punch lands hard until they are inevitably hanging off the side of the cliff still hammering away at each other. It nicely sums up the never-quit attitude of the series.
Mission: Impossible 2 is considered by most to be the worst entry in this franchise. While the story is boring, the romance is unconvincing and there are some truly silly moments, this final fight makes it a worthwhile ride. After a lengthy motorcycle chase, Hunt squares off with Ambrose on a secluded beach.
With action legend John Woo directing the film, it's not surprising that the fight is a beautful and brutal sequence. Though it is not overly stylized, the choreography is perfect. It is painful and unrelenting as the two men beat the hell out of each other. A grand highlight in an otherwise forgettable film.
Not only is this fight the best of the series, it is the best movie fight scene in recent memory. It is fun, humorous, inventive and extremely hard-hitting. Everything a fan could hope to see in a cinematic throw-down.
As Hunt and Walker try to apprehend a suspect int the stealthiest of manners, things predictably go awry and the assailant turns out to be an absolute badass. The two-on-one fight has each of the participants receiving and giving their share of hard hits. It's a fast-paced and intense sequence, and it will always be remembered as the moment that gave us the Henry Cavill reloading-fists GIF.