Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One – out Wednesday in theaters – is packed with totally insane practical stunts, some of which are callbacks to sequels to previous movies, albeit with higher stakes. Tom Cruise will once again be fighting on top of a moving train, built from scratch for this particular movie, as there isn’t a surplus amount available to be destroyed by some movie studio. Plot often takes a back seat in these films, something director Christopher McQuarrie fully understands, and so the focus is directed towards the way that best suits the audience – cinematic ambition.
At this point, it’s no secret that Cruise worries about Hollywood’s future, keeping his latest collaboration with McQuarrie – Top Gun: Maverick – from debuting on streaming services, despite how many obstacles he’s encountered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From playing the vulgar and aggressive dating guru in Paul Thomas Anderson’s critically acclaimed Magnolia to becoming an infidelity-obsessed doctor in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, Cruise established himself as one of the most exciting actors of the late 1990s. In Dead Reckoning Part One, he’s taking this to a whole different level, riding a motorcycle off a cliff and parachuting down to the base with gray rock walls surrounding him. Not many actors can do that, and you have to hand it to Cruise for that.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One Pre-Order Now Open in India
Considering this is the seventh installment in the franchise, some of you might be planning to watch all of the previous Mission Impossible movies before they hit theaters. Maybe you’ve never seen any of them, which is sad because these movies have only gotten better with each sequel, and now might be a good time to start. So, we’ve listed them in order, alongside where you can stream them in India.
Where to watch the Mission: Impossible movies in order?
Mission: Impossible (1996)
The first Mission: Impossible movie was based directly on the 1966 CBS TV series of the same name, with director Brian De Palma turning espionage on its head to spawn a multi-billion dollar franchise. In it, we are introduced to Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, a highly skilled agent working in the Impossible Mission Force (IMF), who is suspected of being a spy when his entire team is killed on a mission in Prague, Czech Republic. On a mission to find the real traitor, the rogue agent assembles a team of outcasts, including hacker Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), helicopter pilot Franz Krieger and IMF agent Claire Phelps (Emmanuelle Béart). Among them, Stickell is the only character to reappear in every Mission Impossible movie, aside from Cruise, of course.
Hunt is bombarded with the added task of protecting the identities of IMF spies on a compromised disk, wanted by arms dealer Max Mistopolis (Vanessa Redgrave), which culminates in an incredible action sequence on top of a moving train. The film also stars Henry Czerny as IMF Director Eugene Kittridge and Jon Voight as Hunt’s mentor Jim Phelps. It is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)
In my opinion, Mission: Impossible 2 is the low point of the series, as it sacrificed its sweeping spectacle to prolong an already lackluster plot with heavy use of slow motion and building chemistry between Cruise and co-star Thandiwe Newton simply by bringing their faces closer together. The sequel from filmmaker John Woo (Face/Off) tasks the duo with recovering a dangerous biological weapon called ‘Chimera’, created by Biocyte, who is also responsible for the antidote. IMF agent turned rogue Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) intends to rein in the tension and start a pandemic, just so he can make billions manufacturing and selling the cure. Fairly straightforward plot with super cool bike chase sequences, but meanders so much with unnecessary info-dumping that it feels like a B-movie at times.
Mission: Impossible 2 also stars Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin) as Biocyte CEO John C. McCloy, Richard Roxburgh as Ambvrose’s right-hand man Hugh Stamp, and hacker Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames). The film is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Mission: Impossible III marked the longest wait for a sequel – six years – cutting short on Ethan Hunt’s retirement plans to prevent arms and intelligence broker Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) from getting hold of a mysterious object called the ‘Rabbit’s Foot’, which has the potential to kill millions. You might be noticing a trend here by now – it’s all ‘Tom Cruise saves the world’, but it’s the stunts and performances that matter in these films. Hunt, who is already assisted by Luther, receives a team upgrade via Benji Dunn from Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz), an IMF coach; Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Match Point) as Agent Declan Gormley and Maggie Q (Divergent) as Agent Zhen Lei.
Oh, and this is also where Hunt marries nurse Julia Meade (Michelle Monaghan), who is unaware of her true work. JJ Abrams directs Mission: Impossible III which also includes an impressive cast namely Keri Russell, Laurence Fishburne and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad). It is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
The new decade has changed things for Mission: Impossible, not just in terms of adding subtitles to the title, but scaling the action set pieces to a tremendous scale. Publicly blamed for a terrorist attack on the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt and his team, now without resources, are forced to go off the grid and try to clear their names and stop another attack. With the US government denying them in what is called the ‘Ghost Protocol’, Hunt must avoid a nuclear war while teaming up with a group of IMF fugitives whose motives are highly suspect. Before you ask, yes, this is where you see Cruise climbing the then newly built Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol also takes an ensemble-driven approach, adding acclaimed actors like Jeremy Renner (Archer hawk) as IMF intelligence analyst William Brandt, Paula Patton (Hitch) as agent Jane Carter, Léa Seydoux (No Time to Die) as assassin Sabine Moreau, Michael Nyqvist as Russian nuclear strategist Kurt Hendricks and Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire) as media mogul Brij Nath. Directed by Brad Bird (Ratatouille), MI Ghost Protocol is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
It’s here that fan favorite Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) is introduced to the MI franchise, an MI6 agent working undercover in the Syndicate, a criminal organization made up of international spies gone rogue, who want to bring about the new world order through a series of escalating terrorist attacks. As you might have guessed, Ethan Hunt becomes involved with her and has to prove the existence of the shadowy group and stop them, while struggling to trust Faust, who may or may not be an actual member of the Syndicate. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation also brings longtime Cruise collaborator Christopher McQuarrie on board to direct, keeping the tried-and-true events fresh through creative action sequences and essentially cementing his position as the frontman of upcoming MI films.
Much of Hunt’s IMF team – Ving Rhames’ Luther, Simon Pegg’s Benji and Jeremy Renner’s William – returns in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, adding a new cast: Sean Harris (Prometheus) as Syndicate leader Solomon Lane, Simon McBurney as Syndicate founder Atlee, Alec Baldwin (Beetlejuice) as CIA Director Alan Hunley and Tom Hollander (Bohemian Rhapsody) as Prime Minister UK minister. Mission: Impossible 5 can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Review
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
So far, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the highest-grossing film in the franchise, earning a total of ₹791.1 million (about Rs. 6,535 crore) at the global box office. In it, Ethan Hunt and his IMF team join forces with CIA assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) to eliminate what’s left of the Syndicate, who have now been renamed the ‘Apostles’, planning to use three plutonium cores to lead direct attacks on Mecca, the Vatican and Jerusalem. However, when the bombs go missing, they are thrust into a race against time to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. An arms dealer Alanna Mistopolis, aka the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby), appears to have gotten one of them, demanding that Hunt bring MI Rogue Nation villain Solomon Lane to her if he wants to claim the bomb. It’s best to watch these two films back-to-back, as they are quite intertwined.
Pegg, Rhames, Ferguson, Baldwin, and Monaghan all reprise their existing roles, while Mission: Impossible – Fallout also adds Angela Bassett (Black Panther) into the mix as new CIA director Erika Sloane. Like the others, the film is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout Review
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)
All roads finally lead to Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, set to release on 12th July in cinemas, which is poised to earn a franchise-best $90 million (about Rs. 744 crore) during its five-day opening in the US and Canada. In it, Ethan Hunt is once again thrust into a roving mission to track down a bioweapon from… (you guessed it) falling into the wrong hands. Adding to the tension is the return of Eugene Kittridge (Czerny) from the first film, putting the task in jeopardy when Hunt is forced to prioritize the mission over the allies he cares so much about.
New addition Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) joins the cast as Grace, Hunt’s ambiguous pickpocket nemesis, while Esai Morales (Titans) portrays the terrorist Garbiel, and Pom Klementieff (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3) plays a clown-like French assassin named Paris.
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two (2024)
While Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One has seen multiple delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its sequel is now being delayed due to the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike. “We shot all but one of our international locations,” director McQuarrie said in an interview, talking about the progress. “We shot our big action, except for the biggest set, the central set of the movie, which is huge and unlike anything we’ve ever done and, I think, unlike anything you’ve ever seen.” Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two is set to open on June 28, 2024 in theaters worldwide.