Stunt Hunt

Top Gun might have made Tom Cruise a matinee idol but it is the Mission: Impossible franchise that transformed him into more than just a pretty face.

While we watch in awe the crazy stunts he pulled off in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, let's not forget the other eye-popping feats from the earlier movies.


Mission: Impossible (1996)

The stunt: Cruise's Ethan Hunt breaks into a vault inside the CIA headquarters. He lowers himself from the ceiling, then dangles from a wire just inches from the floor.

Wow factor: 4/5

While it is not that crazy or dangerous, it is the most iconic and has been widely copied and spoofed. Director Brian De Palma trusted Cruise to maintain that plank position throughout the sequence as it was shot without cuts. Cruise banged his head a few times before they got the stunt just right.


Mission: Impossible II (2000)

The stunt: In the opening sequence, off-duty Hunt goes free-climbing on Utah's Dead Horse Point.

Wow factor: 3/5

This was the start of Cruise's obsession with big, dangerous stunts, an idea that scared the socks off director John Woo, who worried that his star would plummet 600m to his death. But Cruise wore a harness which was digitally removed.


Mission: Impossible III (2006)

The stunt: Hunt captures baddie Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) but was not expecting a rescue, and the Impossible Missions Force team ends up being attacked on a bridge by a missile-firing drone.

Wow factor: 3/5

Director JJ Abrams combined practical sets and digital effects for this impressive scene. Cruise was yanked by a cable and "flew" into a nearby car, an idea that came from the star.


Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

The stunt: Hunt scales, then runs down the side of the world's tallest building, standing at 829.8m, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Wow factor: 5/5

Cruise hung outside the window of the Burj Khalifa, much to the consternation of director Brad Bird. He could have done the stunt at only a few storeys high but insisted on going 130 storeys up the 163-storey structure.



Finding that 60s Vibe

Daniel Yun and Randy Ang explain why ceating an authentic set was key to local film 1965

Daniel Yun (right), 57, and Randy Ang (left), 36, the co-directors of 1965.

The new local historical film 1965 has a star-studded ensemble cast that includes Qi Yuwu, Joanne Peh, Lim Kay Tong, James Seah, Sezairi Sezali, Deanna Yusoff and Mike Kasem.

But the $2.8 million production, on the lives of immigrants in Singapore in the years before independence, has another unsung star.

We're talking about the massive set in Batam - at various locations around the island and at Infinite Studios' soundstages - that boasts realistic props that will, in an instant, transport viewers back in time to the 1960s.

The production team took two months to build the set and another 35 days to film the movie.

The biggest set, that of Chinatown where many of the scenes were filmed, is about the size of one-and-a-half football fields.

Daniel Yun, 57, and Randy Ang, 36, the co-directors of 1965, tell M what went on behind the scenes at these key locations.


Yun: "The set brings me back to an era when I was a kid... In this photo, you can see that there is no billboard on top of the Oriental Theatre building and that is exactly what it was like in the past.

"The roads were not pristine, they were dirty and wet, so our production team would wet the floors before filming began.

"Everywhere we walked, we could hear different sounds coming from different stalls - the sound of the news (bulletin being read in) Hakka over the radio, the sound of Teochew opera from another street... It brings out the feeling of an era when people lived in close quarters."


Ang: "This set is massive. The production crew would start setting up at 10am and we only got to shoot at 3pm. We had to direct every single person in this scene.

"In the morning, we bought all the fresh vegetables, fruits and fish from the market and transported them (here) to be used on the set.

"All the stalls and shops you see in the picture are fully set up, which means you could technically go shopping for real inside."


Ang: "You can see some of the dried cuttlefish hanging in front of the windows. The smell of the fish on set was overbearing. The words on the signboard are all hand-painted. It really gives you the feeling of being back in the 60s."

Yun: "The hair and make-up team put in a lot of effort as well. For example, we deliberately made Joanne's clothes looser in the movie as this was what people back in the day wore. They didn't wear tight-fitting outfits."


Yun: "(Local actor) Liang Tian (who plays Peh's father) used to run a coffee shop in Singapore in the 1960s. When he went on set and saw our coffee shop, he told us he felt like he was back at his old shop again. So that was like an acid test for us.

"We paid attention to a lot of details in the set-up, ranging from the old F&N posters on the wall to the Milkmaid condensed milk on the shelves. It was very fun."

Calvin Harris flaunts six-pack abs

Isn't Taylor Swift a lucky gal?

Not only is her current boyfriend the world's highest-paid DJ, he is now officially the hottest music producer on the planet, thanks to his Emporio Armani fall/winter campaign.

Calvin Harris set temperatures soaring when he teased on his Twitter account with a photo of him stripped down to his underwear, showing off his extremely chiselled six-pack.

This marks the 31-year-old Scot's second stint as the fashion label's main man, following his equally steamy spring campaign earlier this year.

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Taxi plunges into Toa Payoh drain after collision

Cabby loses control after collision with another taxi

CLASH OF TAXIS: The collision results in one taxi losing control and plunging into a drain outside Toa Payoh Palm Spring.

A Comfort Delgro taxi plunged into a drain at Toa Payoh yesterday after colliding with another cab from the same company.

The accident, at the junction of Toa Payoh Lorong 4 and Lorong 3, saw the taxi crashing through the kerbside barricade of Toa Payoh Palm Spring at 11.50am.

The driver said that he and his 77-year-old passenger, who was in the front passenger seat, were trapped in the car for a short while as the doors were jammed.

The 56-year-old driver, who declined to be named, said: “We had to force open the front door near the ground to get out.”

He said: “The passenger was feeling uncomfortable but there was no bleeding.”

Singapore Civil Defence Force said the woman was sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Read the full report in our print edition on July 29.

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Taxi reverses into HDB flat, knocking down wall

Taxi hits carpark barricade, car, then reverses into first-storey flat

CRASH: A taxi reversed into Block 68, Commonwealth Drive, on Saturday, tearing down the wall of a first-storey unit.
EMPTY: The tenant of the affected flat only recently collected the keys to the flat and had not moved into it.

A taxi reversed into a block of flats in Commonwealth on Saturday, tearing down the wall of a first-storey unit.

The accident, which happened at Block 68, Commonwealth Drive, after 1am, was captured on video.

The video shows the taxi first moving forward, hitting a carpark barricade.

It then reverses into a car, before moving forward, again into the barricade.

It reverses once more into an empty lot, and accelerates backwards up a slope onto a field, travelling about 20m before crashing into the first-storey unit.

The dramatic incident, split into two videos, lasted about two minutes.

Mr Andy Yeo, 48, who works in the service industry, witnessed the incident and sent the videos to citizen journalism website Stomp.

The resident of the area told The New Paper that he has also passed the video footage to the police.

"The traffic police told me that the driver wasn't drinking," he said.


"I find it strange. Then why did he keep moving backwards and forward?" he asked.

A police spokesman said they were alerted to the incident at about 1.27am on Saturday.

"No injuries were reported, and police investigations are ongoing," he said.

There have been no arrests made, but the cabby has since been fired.

Ms Tammy Tan, the group corporate communications officer of ComfortDelGro, said: "ComfortDelGro does not condone careless nor dangerous driving and has since terminated the hiring agreement of the cabby.

"With regard to the damage to property, we are awaiting an update from our loss adjusters."

Other residents TNP spoke to said it caused quite a commotion in the community, though none of them could understand how it happened.

When TNP went to the area on Monday evening, the wall had not been restored.

The only residents in the three storey block, a couple who declined to be identified, said they had moved in a day after the accident.

"It is a newly done up block of three-room rental flats, it is a good thing no one has moved in yet," said the woman.

"We heard about what happened from the contractors, but it is quite weird that the taxi avoided an electrical box, trees and even the drain before crashing into the unit,'' she added."

A spokesman for the Housing and Development Board said its engineers have since checked the building and found it structurally sound.

"Repairs to the flat will be completed in a few weeks' time," said the spokesman.

Residents of the estate remain perplexed as to how such a thing could have happened.

The driver could have stopped, why was he reversing and going back and forth so many times? If the driver had been drinking, it would have been much easier to understand.

- Mr Andy Yeo, 48, a resident