Yes, Tom Cruise is on my list for the myriad of stunt work that he performed himself in this movie. Most notable are the amazing motorcycle stunts he performed and the opening free climbing sequence. If you’re surprised to find out that Tom Cruise does most of his own stunts then you obviously haven’t seen any of his work in the Mission Impossible movies as well as his stunts in Knight and Day, Minority Report, and Jack Reacher.
The studio expressed concern over the safety of filming Ethan Hunt’s entrance in the film, where he is free solo climbing. Cruise refused to drop the idea because he could not think of a better way to reintroduce the character. There was no safety net as he filmed the sequence, but he did have a harness. John Woo was so scared each time but “Tom insisted on doing it”. He tore his shoulder when performing Hunt’s jump from one part of the cliff to another. The famous rock climbing sequence was filmed at Dead Horse Point in Utah. On a few of the shots after Tom Cruise hurt his shoulder, Ron Kauk was the climbing double and the overhang stunt was performed by main stunt double, Keith Campbell.
The motorcycle stunts were highly choreographed affairs. If you’ve seen John Woo’s other work it does remind you of his slow-mo gun battles in A Better Tomorrow, only now it’s on Triumph Motorcycles; Speed Triple and Daytona. But it’s no less spectacular. Tom Cruise obsessively practiced his motorcycle prowess for weeks before the sequence was shot. A few of the scenes needed cables, but for the most part, Cruise does it all without.
Another quick nod to the dagger in the eye bit that Cruise insisted on. He wanted to use a real dagger and put it a quarter inch away from his eyeball (with the use of a cable for mathematical precision) with co-star Dougray Scott using all his strength for realism. May sound like no big deal, but you put a needle sharp edged blade a quarter of an inch to your eye and see if you flinch.
Mission Impossible 2 was directed by John Woo for Paramount Pictures.
Things to look up (go to IMDB page):
- Tom Cruise
- John Woo
- Keith Campbell
- Ron Kauk
- Dougray Scott
Glossary of Stunt terms as defined Wikipedia: Motorcycle stunt riding, sometimes referred to as simply stuntriding, is a motorcycle sport characterized by stunts involving acrobatic maneuvering of the motorcycle and sometimes the rider. Common maneuvers in stunt riding include wheelies, stoppies, and burnouts. Sport bikes have become a common vehicle for stunts.