American Made: Is Tom Cruise The Last Of A Dying Breed? [Opinion]

There’s a lot of things you can call Tom Cruise. Thespian, Scientologist, an impish rogue, a maverick, a little man with a towering personality. Yet, there’s one cap that just doesn’t fit the diminutive Hollywood heavyweight, and that’s the one worn by cowardly, yellow-belly actors who are too darn pampered and precious to get their hands dirty and do their own stunts.

Cruise has always made it a point of pride to perform almost all of his own stunts throughout his glittering career. He’s the action man’s action man.

In a world where health and safety regulations have become a religion and where going out on a limb is just as scary as breaking one, Cruise leads the charge when it comes to putting your body on the line for something that is as pure as the driven snow and gets your heart beating like a Keith Moon drum solo: a good old-fashioned adrenaline rush.

It’s all too easy to forget in these end times of bovine vacuousness and vicarious existence that human beings were designed to move around a lot. We were meant to skip, hop, dance, run, jump, and, in some cases, throw ourselves out of planes and hurtle through the skies, not sit on a sofa and drown in a tsunami of saturated fat and artificial preservatives.

As The Doors’ legendary frontman Jim Morrison once said, “We are content with the ‘given’ in sensation’s quest. We have been metamorphosed from a mad body dancing on hillsides to a pair of eyes staring in the dark.”

Not our Tom, however. In a world increasingly withered, worn, and tied up with the tyranny of the cautious, Mr. Cruise is thundering down the highway to hell and going all out to keep it real.

So real, in fact, that he recently busted his ankle during the filming of a stunt for Mission: Impossible 6.

Plucky Tom was jumping between buildings when he hit a wall and went splat! Fear not, fans. Apparently, Cruise is recovering well from his broken ankle and is looking forward to performing more cunning stunts in front of the camera sometime soon.

Cruise writhes on the floor

Mission: Impossible 6 writer/director Christopher McQuarrie said that Cruise remained in “high spirits” despite his injury.

“He is in better shape and better form than I have seen him on any of the movies we’ve worked on in the last 10 years.”

Despite his advancing years, the cocksure adrenaline junkie who made Ethan Hunt and Maverick such memorable characters still has plenty in the tank to keep blazing a trail when it comes to delivering the goods in terms of daredevil stunts.

The Peter Pan of Hollywood insists upon it, even though film studios and their insurance men wring their hands aggressively, shake their heads, and beg him not too.

And to be fair, it’s not just media hype. Cruise really has defied death to give his performances an authentic edge.

Let’s take a sly peek at some of his best stunts from the Mission: Impossible series in the video below.

So there you have it. Cruise is the real deal. Alongside other battle-hardened thespians such as Harrison Ford, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Craig, Matt Damon, Sly Stone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jason Statham, Cruise continues to practice what appears to be a fading art. Is tricky Tom the last of a dying breed, or is there another generation of rough-and-ready theatrical types just waiting for the opportunity to step into his shoes?

Tom Cruise ordering pizza?

[Featured image by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images]