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Before ‘Dead Reckoning Part One,’ DraftKings Network ranks the highs of ‘Mission Impossible’

Some of the DraftKings Network staff looks back at the Tom Cruise helmed franchise and ranks the best villains, best stunts’ and more.

Paramount Pictures

In two short days, Ethan Hunt and his crew will embark on another mission filled with espionage, death-defying stunts, bomb deactivating, and lots of running. Before Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One hits theaters, some of the DraftKings Nation staff give their thoughts on the best film of the series, the best stunt, and the best villain so far.

Best Film In Series

Chinmay Vaidya, Sports Editor - I am always partial to the opening series of any franchise, and my favorite film of the series remains the original Mission Impossible. However, I’ll say the best film overall in the series is Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. It had the most compelling storyline, a villain most worthy of being Ethan Hunt’s adversary, and helped set up the subsequent films. There were a lot of good twists and turns, with no real clue as to how the IMF would solve the case until the very end. This is also the film that introduces Ilsa Faust, who is an awesome addition to the franchise.

David Fucillo, Head of Sports Betting Content - My only disagreement with Chinmay’s point is Jeremy Renner was never a particularly compelling addition to the franchise. Rogue Nation is the best of the series, but the original film cast was a little more robust. You had a fantastic villain in Jim Phelps and a fun secondary villain in Max. It’s close between those two, but Rogue Nation is the better overall movie.

Pete Hernandez, Newsdesk Writer - Rogue Nation is a well-deserved selection, but to add some variety, I’m going with MI: Fallout, which is neck and neck with the former. There’s a reason why the five-year wait for its sequel has fans immensely hyped, and with today’s blockbusters featuring an overabundance of special effects, Fallout has a case to be made for being the best action film of the 21st century. I mean, the run from HALO drop into Paris, the nightclub bathroom brawl, and the extraction of Solomon Lane from the convoy are all memorable in their own right.

Best Stunt

CV - Some stunts have a bit of comedic relief – like Hunt dropping into a room at CIA headquarters to steal the NOC list in the first movie or Hunt hanging outside the Burj Khalifa in MI: Ghost Protocol. The best stunt is the helicopter chase in the climax of MI: Fallout, with the Paris street chase from the same film coming in as a close second.

DF - I’ll go more with my favorite stunt than the “best stunt” for this one. Hunt hanging outside the Burj Khalifa in Ghost Protocol or the helicopter climax with Walker in Fallout are the two “best” stunts, but my favorite is the very first, when Hunt dropped into the super secure room in the CIA headquarters to steal the NOC list. It was more subtle than the increasingly ridiculous physical requirements Tom Cruise has developed in each subsequent movie.

PH - “Best stunt” can have so many definitions, and for me, it equates to the “wildest” stunt, arguably the plane hanging from the opening scene of Rogue Nation. Director Christopher McQuarrie chose to usher in his era of the franchise with some style, and watching the runway grow smaller in the distance as if we were up there with Ethan Hunt is as memorable of a movie viewing experience as possible.

Best Villain

CV - Philip Seymour Hoffman (Owen Davian) will get a lot of love for his role in Mission Impossible 3, but my pick is Solomon Lane (portrayed by Sean Harris), specifically in MI: Rogue Nation. He was not nearly as convincing in MI: Fallout as in the fifth installment, where he first played his role as the leader of the Syndicate (the anti-IMF). There’s more high-level maneuvering in this one than in MI: Fallout and Lane is good at creating pressure points for Hunt’s team.

DF - I agree with Chinmay's statement, but I’m going differently. Jim Phelps in the original is the best villain because of the stunning twist it presented. Phelps had led the IMF team in the TV series, so to see him turn into the villain was arguably the most shocking twist in any of the Mission Impossible movies.

PH - Many of Hunt’s adversaries have used intelligence as a threat. Still, physical prowess can be just as dangerous, so I’m picking August Walker/John Lark, portrayed by Henry Cavill in Fallout. The case can be made that Walker was the first antagonist who could legitimately put Hunt in danger of being killed in a fight, which adds an extra layer to his already cunning persona.