Impossible Director Christopher McQuarrie Reveals Classic Movies That Inspired Dead Reckoning

That Christopher McQuarrie would cite “The General” as one of the films that inspired “Dead Reckoning Part One” should come as no surprise to those already familiar with Buster Keaton’s 1926 comedy classic. Being very, very loosely based on the real-life historical Great Locomotive Chase (a military raid in which members of the Union Army wreaked havoc on a railway line vital to the Confederates during the U.S. Civil War), the centerpiece of the movie is an elaborate stunt involving a runaway locomotive and the collapse of a burning bridge. This was also clearly the genesis — or, at the very least, part of it — for “Dead Reckoning Part One” and its own massive practical train derailment.

Of course, if your intent is to make a multi-car train go boom real good, there are plenty of other excellent sources to borrow from besides “The General,” with S. S. Rajamouli’s “RRR” being one such recent example. In McQuarrie’s case, he cited John Frankenheimer’s classic 1964 WWII thriller “The Train” as a film he, Tom Cruise, and their many collaborators “studied extensively” while developing “Dead Reckoning Part One.” Knowing what he knows now, however, McQuarrie admitted he can’t even begin to imagine making that film the way Frankenheimer did in the pre-CGI era:

“I don’t know how on Earth they ever made that movie. It’s truly an extraordinary achievement. Having now done a train sequence, I — if you had handed me that script, I would have run screaming. It’s incredible what they pulled off in that era with that technology. It’s all practical. It has no CGI. There’s multiple train wrecks that — it’s the original ‘Mission: Impossible.’ It’s really an incredible movie.”

“Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” is now playing in theaters.

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