Ethan Hunt

When I think of Mission: Impossible, I think of the old sixties series with Mr. Phelps, played by Peter Graves, as an aging leader to a crack team of secret agents given the missions no one else can accomplish. I also think of Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt. And although Hunt works best alone, he would give his life for any member of his team.

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt

For today’s Wednesday Warriors, I’d like to have a look at Ethan Hunt: his strengths, his weaknesses and why he always makes the Mission: Impossible franchise a treat to watch.

A long time ago, I once saw Tom Cruise on Oprah—no, not the couch-jumping episode. In this episode, he described Mission: Impossible as one of his most successful movies he had made. Many folks have their opinions about Tom Cruise the man, but I have my opinion of Tom Cruise the actor. Say what you will, the man can act. I use Magnolia as one of the best films he had ever starred. No one can convince me that after watching the quietly-judging-you scene he didn’t deserve an Oscar for that performance.

Yet, as much as I admire his dramatic roles, his action roles, including his role in the film Edge of Tomorrow, is where Cruise really shines as a big audience draw.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue NationEnter Ethan Hunt, the Impossible Missions Force‘s (IMF) top agent and leader. His expertise lies in virtually everything. He has an extensive background in explosives, weaponry and stealth. He can get in and out of a target’s home and before anyone knows what is happening, the target will have met its fate.

Ethan is also a master of disguise. One time he posed as an elderly man taking his enemy by surprise, disarming and capturing him. He also has a good command of languages, useful for when he needs to get himself out of a jam.

Martial arts? Ethan knows that, too. Whenever an adversary presses Ethan for a fight to the death, it isn’t difficult to know who will win.

But the best thing I enjoy about Ethan Hunt is not so much his mastery of disguise, command of languages, or him being a martial arts expert. No. What I like about Ethan is his ability to get out of one jam after another while showing his humanity along the way. Whether he’s fighting for his life on a speeding train, racing down a highway on a motorcycle at 140 MPH, or latching his fingers on the belly of an aircraft with the intention of securing its cargo, Ethan Hunt does the impossible. He will take the shots, in not only opportunities but also punches to the face, and fight the bad guy until the end.

Lastly, Ethan Hunt possesses a will never to surrender. In every mission he picks himself up, dusts the dirt from his clothes and continues his fight against the enemy, whoever that enemy is.

If I can say anything more about Ethan Hunt, it’s that he will do his best in whatever assignment he has going at the time. To me, such a character is a great lesson for any of us facing challenges greater than ourselves.

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Have you seen any of the Mission: Impossible movies? What are your thoughts on Ethan Hunt?

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5 Comments

  1. I’ve never been a fan of Cruise, but if I was an investor in films I’d want his name on the poster because he always delivers what the film needs. Maybe he’s reached a stage in his career where he can start to push the envelope a bit. He did well in Rainman, which I think is his best performance and suggested he is capable of holding his own in a serious film surrounded by actors of the calibre of Hoffman et al.

    Haven’t seen the last M:I film, but it’s on my dvd hire list. I should have watched it at Christmas instead of Mr Holmes!

    Reply
    • Tom Cruise is great in Rain Man. Give the latest M:I movie a spin. I’ve watched it several times already and find it equally enjoyable every time I see it.

      Reply
  2. Not my favorite action guy. Willis gets to smug but in the First Die Hard he was the bomb.

    Reply
  3. Yes! I’m one of the few people who will admit to being a Tom Cruise fan. I’ve seen all of the MI films and enjoyed most of them (#2 was the weakest). As much as I like his action film work, I do prefer his comedic and dramatic roles. I don’t think people realize just how funny Cruise is and they should check out Tropic Thunder for a perfect example.

    Reply
    • Tropic Thunder is one of the most hilarious movies ever made. At times, wild. But hilarious, nonetheless. The Les Grossman character Cruise plays is perfect!

      Reply

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