Lights, Camera, ACTION! A Look at Tom Cruise’s Best Heart-Racing Roles

Tom Cruise as "Cage" in EDGE OF TOMORROW (Image Credit: Warner Bros.)
Tom Cruise as “Cage” in EDGE OF TOMORROW (Image Credit: Warner Bros.)

As I continue to think about how awesome his new time-travel flick Edge of Tomorrow is, one thing escaped me that I would like to bring attention to: Tom Cruise doesn’t age. I mean seriously, it just seems like at 51, his perfectly symmetrical face and athleticism are shining brighter than ever. So, to commemorate that, here’s a look back at his best heart racers and mind benders:­­­­­­

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Just when you thought J.J. Abram’s Mission Impossible 3 would be the series’ pinnacle high, Pixar alum Brad Bird stepped into the director’s chair for the fourth entry in the series of films based on the television show (which ran from 1966-1973), and brought an electrifying style to the film that was just intensified by the excellent chemistry of the cast, spearheaded by Cruise. Cruise, apparently game for all of his stunts, continues to shine as Ethan Hunt, and the fifth installment, slated to be helmed by Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie, has a lot to live up to.

Minority Report

A classic in my book, Steven Spielberg and Cruise’s first collaboration was a breathtaking sci-fier. Based on the short story by Philip K. Dick, the film takes place in the future where a police unit can identify murderers and bring them to justice before they follow through with their crimes. It’s a dazzler that shouldn’t be missed as it sees Spielberg pulling off those grandiose heights on film that he’s famous for and sees Tom Cruise doing more of his own stunts than ever (including ones involving car elevators and jet packs).

Collateral

A role unlike one he’s ever really taken on, Cruise showed his villainous chops as Vincent, a contract killer who happens to get into the back of a Los Angeles taxi driven by Jamie Foxx. Vincent then forces Foxx’s character to chauffeur him around as he takes out one hit after another all in one night. It was a good move for Cruise and that “silver fox” look fits him well (sorry).

Tropic Thunder

Another unlikely move for the leading man, and one that’s not necessarily a mind-bender, Tropic Thunder is still a must-see comedic tour-de-force, where Cruise has more of a cameo as the rowdy studio boss of a film production where a group of actors (Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Robert Downey, Jr.) shooting a war movie in the jungle actually end up taking on the roles they’re playing thanks to a riotous turn of events. It’s directed by Stiller and Cruise wears a fat suit – what more do you need to know?

Jack Reacher

A more mature and arguably more appropriate role for Cruise as of late, this recent action film follows a homicide detective with a military background investigating a shady case where five seemingly random victims were brought down by a military-trained sniper. The film has a taut pace, and the action is brisk and alarmingly realistic. Furthermore, it’s based on just one book in a series that follows the ventures (if you will) of the title character. Therefore, I think it’s a better role for an aging Cruise to take on as his Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible isn’t exactly immortal.

Special mentions: War of the Worlds, Mission Impossible 3, Top Gun

In short, Tom Cruise is a one of a kind movie star, and it’s weird to think where the action genre would be without him. So, be sure to check out the above-mentioned films and Edge of Tomorrow in theaters now!

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Jesse Tabit is a native of Charleston, WV. He studies journalism at West Virginia University.

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