8. Skyfall (2011) – Train Scene
It’s hard to pick a single stunt from a Bond movie. However, the train sequence in Skyfall is the standout moment of the film’s crazy sequences. In the scene, Bond and his nemesis get into a brawl on top of a speeding train, which was moving at 50km/h. Craig performed most of his own stunts, beginning with him running on the arm of a digger before leaping aboard the moving machine. The rest of the fight takes place between carriages, and the performers had to keep their balance and avoid colliding with bridges.
7. Inception (2010) – Hallway Fight
Good fight scenes are difficult to stage in general, but when they take place in a rotating set, that poses a greater challenge for the actors. Creating Inception’s famous hallway dream fight required 500 crew members and three weeks of shooting because Nolan refused to use digital wizardry. The set was 160-feet along and capable of 360 degree turns, which caused motion sickness among crew members. Jumping at the wrong time could also have resulted in the performers being tossed 12 feet down a corridor, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his counterparts pulled it off with aplomb.
6. Fast Five (2011) – Vault Chase
In order to create this scene of two Dodge Chargers dragging a bank vault through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, stunt coordinator Jack Gill had to build seven different vaults. Two were secretly motorized and operated by real drivers, while the rest were equipped to serve their various stunt needs. The vault did indeed destroy some cars and buildings, and a motorcycle stuntman involved in the epic chase broke his shoulder after being thrust over the handlebars and breaking his fall on a car windshield.
5. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – Plane Hijack Scene
When it comes to aerial stunts, Nolan movies are their own monster. This sequence — which sees Bane (Tom Hardy) rescued from his airbound captivity — was filmed over the Cairngorm Mountains of the Scottish Highlands. The stunt saw a group of performers rappel from one plane onto another, dangling from the sky in the process. Afterward, one of the planes disintegrates and the explosion debris falls to the ground below; no digitally trickery was used.
4. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – The Polecats
Guy Norris, the stunt coordinator behind this madness, compared the making of the film to a warzone. He was responsible for overseeing 150 stunt performers and 300 elaborate and wild sequences, the best of which saw performers strapped to poles and swinging from speeding vehicles. It’s like some kind of crazy post-apocalyptic Cirque du Soleil. The stunt took eight weeks to prepare for, and bringing it to life without CGI even surprised George Miller.
3. Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015) – Plane Scene
Tom Cruise hasn’t allowed his midlife years to slow him down. In fact, if anything, he’s modern cinema’s foremost death-defying thrillseeker. For this stunt, he found himself strapped to an Airbus 400 as it flew 1000 feet into the sky above. Visual effects were used to erase some wires, harnesses, and cameras, but other than that, the stunt is 100% authentic.
2. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) – Burj Khalifa Scene
The next Cruise entry on this list is for a stunt that saw him scaling the world’s tallest building. Positioned 2722 feet above the ground, the actor had to contend with heavy crosswinds that caused him to smash into the building several times, but his painful collisions with the skyscraper made the stunt look even better. What makes this stunt even more special, though, is the fact that Cruise fired the film’s insurance company so he could do it himself. What a champ.
1. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) – HALO Jump
I wish the final three stunts on this list featured different performers, but the truth is that Cruise deserves each spot. His feats of insanity set the bar for all other stunts to reach this decade. To complete this free-falling stunt, the actor was required to jump from an airplane 102 times before it was completed, and he did so while recovering from a broken ankle, which occurred during another stunt for the movie that saw him jump onto a roof. Some digital effects were used to create a lightning storm, but overall this is just another prime example of Cruise taking an action performance to the next level.