Tom Cruise is one of the most storied actors in Hollywood and has many iconic roles lining his resume. He’s known to nearly everyone and has led some very successful action franchises since entering the business. Perhaps his most definitive character is Ethan Hunt: the leader of the Impossible Mission Force and protagonist of the Mission: Impossible franchise.
The character has faced some truly disdainful villains over the course of the movies, along with some endearing companions. However, Ethan may find plenty to respect and fear about the other characters his portrayer has given life to on the screen.
10 RESPECT: Lt. Pete Mitchell A.K.A. Maverick Is Capable And Caring
Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell of Top Gun would certainly earn Ethan’s respect given he’s an airman serving his country. Ethan does the same in his capacity at IMF and keeps people safe from very severe threats. Furthermore, Maverick has a devotion to his friends in the same way Ethan does, and the two could work together in a meta crossover. As he’s slated to return to the big screen in Top Gun: Maverick, Ethan would probably recognize the difficulty of continuing to lead action franchises in their 50s.
9 WOULDN’T: Vincent Is A Villain
Collateral is a relatively straightforward thriller starring Cruise as Vincent – a hitman hunting his targets during the single night the movie takes place. Jamie Foxx plays Max, who is the cab driver responsible for ferrying the bounty hunter to and from his victims.
Vincent is the kind of character Ethan would work to defeat, marking a tremendous shift from Cruise’s usual heroic work. This is the most notable villainous character he’s brought to life, and it proves a compelling match for Cruise’s signature IMF agent.
8 RESPECT: John Anderton Exposes Conspiracies
Steven Spielberg’s amazing Minority Report is an engrossing, thoughtful mystery surrounding the practice of stopping crimes before they occur. Cruise stars as John Anderton – an earnest agent of the so-called Precrime Division who unravels a series of events linking some very important people to some unresolved past deeds. Ethan would respect Anderton’s hunt for the truth, even at the cost of his career and worldview. Furthermore, the IMF agent would question the very existence of the Precrime Division given its evident encroachment upon civil liberties.
7 WOULDN’T: Les Grossman Is Power-Hungry And Ruthless
Ethan Hunt wouldn’t give Hollywood executive Les Grossman the time of day, much less entertain the idea of respecting such an amoral person. Grossman is comfortable letting people die as long as it benefits his bottom line. This is evidenced by his willingness to allow Tugg Speedman to remain a hostage. His mention of manipulation involving the press mourning Speedman would further infuriate Hunt. However, the final straw may actually be Grossman’s underrated dance moves.
6 RESPECT: Lt. Daniel Kaffee Grows As A Lawyer And Person
Ethan Hunt would probably mentor someone like Lt. Daniel Kaffee from Cruise’s iconic performance in A Few Good Men. In the same vein as Anderton, Hunt would respect Kaffee’s honesty with himself and maturation through the film’s runtime – not to mention the young lawyer’s search for the truth, which draws yet more parallels with the protagonist of Minority Report. In a theoretical “Cruiseverse,” Kaffee would be a candidate for induction into IMF given his credentials and character.
5 WOULDN’T: Frank Mackey Scams People
Arguably Cruise’s most pertinent demonstration of his versatility comes in the form of Magnolia‘s Frank Mackey, who is a pick-up artist that hides a more complex history. Ethan probably wouldn’t travel in the same circles as Mackey, but should they encounter each other, it’s doubtful Mackey would earn a second look. Peddlers like Mackey are common in the world and would interest Ethan as little as a car driving by on the street. Given this likely fact, Mackey’s failure to earn Hunt’s attention precludes him from getting his respect.
4 RESPECT: Ray Ferrier Staves Off Aliens For His Family
Ray Ferrier is thrown into extraordinary (or extraterrestrial) circumstances following the invasion of Earth in the surprise hit, War of the Worlds. Directed by Minority Report‘s Steven Spielberg, this family drama is the harrowing account of one man’s attempt to keep his family safe amidst an alien invasion. Despite the flashy premise, the film chooses to focus on the human condition more so than the invaders, imbuing the movie with a desperate and gritty tone. Hunt would be impressed with the tenacity that Ferrier demonstrates in the odyssey and would immediately offer his assistance.
3 WOULDN’T: Stacee Jaxx Is Conceited And Immature
Ethan may listen to a track or two from Stacee Jaxx on the radio, but as far as associating with the prima donna rocker, he’s simply got better things to do with his time. Stacee is self-absorbed and after only what satisfies him, which gives Hunt plenty of reasons to avoid him. Jaxx wouldn’t be performing at Hunt’s wedding or bachelor party, either. And given Arsenal’s breakup, Jaxx would probably fade from the public eye before Hunt had a reason to care.
2 RESPECT: Jerry Maguire Seeks To Improve His Industry
Jerry Maguire, alongside the original Mission: Impossible and A Few Good Men, established a young Tom Cruise as a rising star. The former’s titular protagonist would find gaining Hunt’s respect challenging, but certainly doable. Jerry is revamping his approach to his job by threading his negotiations with empathy for his clients.
The idealism of Maguire would inspire Hunt and perhaps give him a friend for life. The characters dominated Cruise’s career around the same time, which also potentially makes them the same age.
1 WOULDN’T: Lestat de Lioncourt Preys On Humans
As a member of the human species, on principle alone, Ethan would find the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt’s actions reprehensible. Ethan is no traitor to his organization or country, much less his entire race. And no matter how charming Lestat may come off, nor however idealistic, Hunt would have to put an end to the consumption of blood. He certainly wouldn’t stand for the death of innocents in Lestat’s pursuit to satisfy his thirst.
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5 Tom Cruise Characters Ethan Hunt Would Respect (& 5 He Wouldn’t)