New Mission: Impossible’s Fiat 500 Chase Scene Looks Like A Lupin Homage
After leaking over the weekend, Paramount released the first trailer for the highly anticipated filmthe penultimate film in the iconic action series, and as we’ve come to expect from the M:I series, there’s a great car chase, but with an unlikely car.
In the trailer, we see Tom Cruise and franchise newcomer Hayley Atwell racing through the cobbled streets of Rome and coming across a somewhat battered, bright yellow vintage Fiat 500 parked next to a Ferrari F12 TdF. The Fiat appears to exit the space with no one inside, Cruise and Atwell looking shocked. (I’m guessing it’s a self-contained IMF-supplied gadget, like the BMW 7 Series in Tomorrow Never Dies.) The trailer then jumps to clips of Cruise drifting the tiny Fiat through narrow city streets while being chased by Italian police and another villain in an armored Humvee-type SUV. It looks like an impressive sequence, and it immediately brought to mind another movie with a bright yellow 500: Hayao Miyazaki’s debut feature masterpiece The Castle of Cagliostro.
Released in 1979, The Castle of Cagliostro is the second animated film in the Lupine III franchise, which follows the antics of master thief Arsene Lupine III. The series began as a manga that ran from 1967 to 1969, but it spawned several television shows and nearly a dozen movies that were released over the following decades. While Lupine was a more evil character in previous works and drove a Mercedes SSK, Miyazaki reworked him to be goofier and more optimistic, putting Lupin in a yellow Fiat 500 he also lives in. His Fiat made appearances in many of Lupin’s other works, but he is best known for The Castle of Cagliostro where he stars in a phenomenal chase scene.
At the start of the film, Lupine sees a woman in a wedding dress driving a Citroën 2CV – Miyazaki’s personal car – followed by a group of gangsters in a Humber Super Snipe. Lupine jumps into his 500 to give chase, the trio speeding down a coastal mountain road outside Monte Carlo, crashing into each other, throwing grenades, smashing through forest, smashing through barriers of building and getting into a lot of general chaos. It’s not just one of the best animated car chases of all time, but a personal favorite chase scene of any guy, and one that’s certainly influenced other modern action movies. In fact, the Cagliostro Castle action sequences were a direct inspiration for the action of Indiana Jones.
I think it’s impossible that the choice of the Fiat 500 for Mission: Impossible was just a coincidence. Lupin’s 500 is one of the most recognizable and beloved animated vehicles, and the one used in Dead Reckoning is nearly identical. In M:I, the 500 drifts and shakes in an almost animated way, similar to how Lupine drives his car, and the movies also have similar settings. Pixar’s Cars franchise also features a vintage yellow 500, but I doubt that served as inspiration for the new Mission: Impossible. The yellow 500s are at this point synonymous with Lupin, with Fiat even offering several special editions of the modern Lupin-themed car.
The Fiat 500 isn’t the only vehicle that sees big action in Dead Reckoning. The trailer also shows Cruise driving a BMW 540i sedan with all the doors ripped off, causing it to drift around Rome and crash into other cars. (Interestingly, it appears an M5 was also used in the filming, although the badges were removed to make it look more modest, which may lead to continuity errors.) We also see a train exit a bridge and Cruise BASE jumps while riding a motorcycle off a very high cliff in a highly publicized scene that he has described as the most dangerous stunt of his career. There’s a submarine in the arctic and horses in the desert too, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part 1 won’t be released until July 14, 2023, with the sequel due out June 28, 2024. Christopher McQuarrie, who directed the previous two M:I movies (both had amazing chase scenes) , directed both Dead Reckoning films.