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Tom Cruise Vs. Tom Cruise – Round 1

In spite of prevalent divergent opinions of the man and his personal life (worship, loath, swoon, snub, praise or attack – it’s all there), Tom Cruise has embodied some pretty badass characters on screen of both the heroic and villainous variety.

In this Friday’s Jack Reacher, Cruise may take the antihero approach, but that shouldn’t stop us from racking up eight of his most memorable and intimidating characters (on both sides of the spectrum) in a 5-foot-7-inch smackdown. This ride is set on Cruise control folks — let’s get started. 

Matchup 1 - Ethan Hunt (Mission: Impossible Franchise) vs. Chief John Anderton (Minority Report)

Two protectors of America decades apart, these men of the law both have the physical skills and lethal training to incapacitate and apprehend any threats that come their way. Certainly less of the hands-on brute is Chief Anderton, a man who has the precogs at his disposal to foresee future crimes and incidentally might even be able to entrap and capture Hunt before he is able to strike on his doppelganger. 

But if the Mission: Impossible franchise has proven anything it’s that the IMF has plenty of sophisticated tools at its disposal as well, and Hunt is well adept at using them and alluding all sorts of pursuers. What this matchup would inevitably come down to after all the gadgets are factored out is a mono e mono confrontation. When we’re not talking about John McClane, a cop is not the man to take down a world class spy and assassin, especially one who has survived four films worth of shit storms. 

Winner: Ethan Hunt 

Matchup 2 - Vincent (Collateral) vs. Lestat de Lioncourt (Interview with the Vampire)

Salt and pepper, grey-suited suaveness meets the eccentric undead in this clash of Cruises, and one, frankly, I would love to see in an actual movie. In Collateral, Vincent became a victim thanks to a touch of hubris and a substantial helping of substantive bad luck in the form of the precocious cabby Max. If these two met in modern-day circumstances, I could see the same fate befalling the man, as hitmen are typically not prepared to fight fanged immortals.

That being said, transplant Vincent to plague-riddled Europe and have Lestat one of the assassin’s targets and things change substantially. We know that in the world of “interview” that a vamp can be killed by drinking the blood of a corpse (and possibly throat slitting) and any of these weaknesses could be exploited by a seasoned murderer to carry out a successful hit. Vincent is simply too ruthless and calculated to not have the upper hand and his ability to adapt in dire circumstances makes Lestat seem decidedly an out of date entity (though our decision was quite close mind you) despite possessing what many think is eternal life. 

Winner: Vincent 


Matchup 3 - Nathan Algren (The Last Samurai) vs. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Valkyrie)


This time heading into the past, we have two military men, both dedicated to their respective causes, both battle-hardened and proficient with all sorts of deadly weapons. For Algren, it’s the Katana and fiery booby-traps and for the dear Colonel, it's high explosives and cloak-and-dagger backroom deals. In a straight-up duke-out, this would certainly pan out with the closest results on this list. 

As men in uniform with proficient in firearms, a clash of that nature could go any which way, and the addition of a Samurai sword can only add so much of an advantage when lead is flying. As such, I must go to the supporting players, and that pretty much seals the deal. Although Stauffenberg’s co-conspirators and Algren’s Samurai failed in concrete terms in carrying out their respective plans, I’d take a band of iconic warriors over some stodgy Germans any day, especially when it comes to a full-out skirmish. Algren just has that iota more heart and honor and the (literal) cavalry to boot. 

Winner: Nathan Algren 

Matchup 4 - Cole Trickle (Days of Thunder) vs. Maverick (Top Gun)

Man and machine team up and vie for victory in this final round with two of Tom Cruise’s earliest and most famous roles. Now right off the bat there is a character with a clear advantage, unless off course Trickle had a secret race car in his garage strapped with stinger missiles and Gatling guns. And unfortunately, that lead edges ahead further upon weighing in the fact that Maverick has military training and lives to chase bogeys whereas our friend Cole has no such background is content with chasing fame and women. 

Even if we were to place these two in a circumstance where their metallic counterparts were reversed the end result seems essentially pre-decided. After piloting a military aircraft at mach speeds would Maverick be able to handle a open-wheeled racer? Almost certainly. But would Trickle be able to hop into a F-14 and pull off some sick barrel rolls without winding up a smear on a mountainside? Almost certainly not. Although both talented thrill-seekers, one of these macho men feels the needs for speed a little more vigorously. 

Winner: Maverick


Stay tuned for Round 2!


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