The Mission: Impossible series has slowly become one of the best action franchises today throughout its 22-year plus run. Every time the action gets more chaotic and adrenaline-filling in each film, the idea for one to maintain their heart rate upon viewing is always in question. At the helm of all the features, Tom Cruise manages to shake it up with death-defying physics and a total recklessness of his environment. However, time is catching up with him, and it is a matter of the question of how long he can continue to commit to such stunt work (which has allowed this respective franchise to flourish from).

Cruise is in his late fifties, meaning he is at an age where he cannot perform as impressively as he did twenty years ago. It is mind-boggling how some actors feel the urge to try to sustain their muscles or athleticism when combating their aging and physical limitations. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone, who spent decades with their franchises, Terminator and Rocky. They try to rope in the factor of nostalgia, but that is not the same as maintaining a proper sense of health. Cruise, fortunately, demonstrates he is capable of refreshing the product with him in the presence (for now). Mission: Impossible – Fallout, one of the best action films of all time, released two years ago and assured us that Cruise has the nerve to evoke gasp-inducing moments every chance he gets despite injuries.

Another benefit of this franchise is the films have had long periods to rest and deal with several, unexpected date and location changes. The sabbaticals between installments always come to fruition, yet audiences will still show up when the next sequel hits theaters. To explain, the first and second films released in 1996 and 2000, respectively. The third came in 2006, fourth in 2011, fifth in 2015, and the sixth came out in 2018. It allows Cruise to get more time to plan and heal from injuries (as his last one during the filming of Fallout cost the studio millions of dollars and a two-month delay in filming). If Cruise was working for the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Star Wars, he might have ended up retiring already.

Although we have two more films on the way, where will it leave Cruise once those two sequels release? Will he decide to end this franchise, continue it, or pass the reigns over to someone else to maintain its standing? If the last option comes into consideration, it may be difficult for someone to have something resembling Cruise’s star power or the ability to suspend disbelief in front of the camera. Tom Cruise in these films appears to be ageless and unstoppable when one watches him run over rooftops or engage in high-speed motorcycle chases across entire cities. He is like a mix of Jason Bourne and Captain America, with a sprinkle of Deadpool’s recuperative abilities.

The time will come when Cruise decides to hang up his boots or end this franchise on a satisfying note. Every time he has upped the ante and delivered sleek and refreshing bouts, and each film progressively gets better and more fun. And yet, his body will decide to tell him when it’s over.

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