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Tom Cruise’s CIA heist stole action crown

Tom Cruise performed wildly impressive stunts introducing his superspy Ethan Hunt in 1996’s “Mission: Impossible.”

Then 33 and one of the world’s biggest movie stars, Cruise had Hunt escape a restaurant’s exploding lobster tank and battle in the high-speed train finale. 

Yet as “Mission: Impossible” turns 25 on Saturday, the scene in director Brian De Palma’s thriller that continues to shock and awe is Cruise’s controlled aerial stunt as Hunt breaks into an impossibly secure CIA vault in Langley, Virginia. 

The 11-minute scene – with Cruise floating from lines in the ceiling as Hunt avoids sound, touch and temperature monitors – turbo-boosted the $3.6 billion “Mission” franchise and set the blueprint for action films to come.

The instantly recognizable CIA heist remains the most iconic moment in a franchise that boasts an overabundance of spectacle (naturally, the cover art for the anniversary remastered Blu-ray features Hunt’s vault break-in).

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