Since the second entry in the super spy franchise, the PR for every single Mission: Impossible movie has focused on Tom Cruise's willingness to perform increasingly dangerous stunts while making the films.
This media talking point graduated to marketing selling point with the fifth Mission Impossible movie, Rogue Nation, the trailer for which climaxes with Cruise hanging on to the side of a giant cargo plane as it takes off. Any doubt as to the authenticity of the footage is eliminated by Cruise's violently rippling cheeks.
To celebrate The Cruiser's continued commitment to insane stuntery, I am going to cite his ten most impressive movie stunts ever.
10. 360 degree kick - Mission: Impossible II (2000)
This underrated sequel contains all sorts of crazy cool slow-mo cool thanks to slow-mo-obsessed director John Woo but the best example comes when Cruise's Ethan Hunt goes all 'Guile from Street Fighter II' on a henchman during the underground bunker action set-piece.
9. Alley shooting - Collateral (2004)
The ultimate obligation of any action star is look convincing when holding and firing a gun. Many actors fail this test. One of the subtler effects of Tom Cruise's dedication to portraying every physical aspect of his characters is his ability to appear like a total bad-ass. He's never been more of a bad-ass than in Michael Mann's 2004 classic Collateral. When Cruise's hitman executes a couple of scumbags in an alley, he does so with chilling efficiency.
8. Chunnell helicoptor explosion - Mission: Impossible (1996)
The (then) outlandish finalé of the first M:I film saw Hunt escape from a crashing helicoptor by niftily 'exploding' himself out of harm's way. This CGI-assisted gag demands inclusion her for how it establishes three staple franchise elements in one set-piece: Hunt being 'propelled' by an explosion; a big pointy spike almost poking Hunt in the eye, seeing the best part of the movie in the trailer.
7. Bridge explosion propulsion- Mission: Impossible III (2006)
My favourite example of Hunt being 'propelled' as described in the previous entry occurs when a drone strike explosion hurls him against the side of a car in JJ Abrams' M:I film. Again, CGI assists in the stunt play, but Cruise's willingness to be violently tossed around greatly enhances the single-shot moment. This exact move was wittily riffed on by Ben Stiller in Tropic Thunder.
6. CIA ceiling drop - Mission: Impossible (1996)
The fourth, and perhaps most iconic, staple M:I franchise element - the rope-assisted, fake-out belly-flop - was established in this tense break-in sequence. It always looked impressive, but I failed to crasp just how much Cruise's physical commitment enhanced the scene until I read this fascinating article in which a seasoned stuntman assesses Cruise's stuntwork. It's amazing how much authenticity a convincingly-wobbling bottom can project.
5. Jet-pack piggy-back - Minority Report (2002)
Director Steven Spielberg infused the jet-pack scenes in his future-set thriller with a thrilling verticality which is enhanced to no end by seeing Cruise himself do far more of the climbing, flying, falling and grasping than is customary for a leading man.
4. The battle on the beach - Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Witnessing Cruise's initially useless soldier gradually turn into a graceful killing machine in this sci-fi actioner showcases the actor's physical prowess in a new and exciting way. Even encased within a giant, lumbering exo-frame, Cruise is light on his feet, quick to zap an alien, and totally badass. Emily Blunt is even better.
3. Motorbike chase - Mission: Impossible II (2000)
Cruise's enthusiasm for all things broom-broom may have resulted in 1990's DayGlo turkey Days of Thunder, but it also means he gets right in to the thick of any motorbike scenes he's involved with, and it shows. The awesome motorbike action sequence in MI: II (which includes both a moto-joust and a high-speed 'one-point' turn) is a great example, as are the motorbike-centric moments in the otherwise flaccid Knight and Day. Rogue Nation promises more of the stuff.
2. Cliffside free-climb - Mission: Impossible II (2000)
This was the point at which Cruise's reputation as a real-life daredevil really took hold, when it first became apparent that cinematic value could be derived from having his golden smile visible in shots that would otherwise have featured a stunt double. It remains an impressive, vertigo-inducing sequence. Drenched in a transcedent tangelo glow.
1. Window dancing on the Burj Khalifa - Mission: Imposssible: Ghost Protocol (2012)
Cruise's ability to handle heights was well-established by the time he chanelled his inner Peter Parker for the eye-boggling set-piece at the centre of the most recent M:I film. After jumping out the window of the world's tallest building, it seemed like there was nothing left for the actor to achieve, stunt-wise. Until he met a certain giant cargo plane.
• What's your favourite Tom Cruise movie stunt? Comment below!