After it leaked over the weekend Paramount released the first trailer for the highly anticipated movie Mission: Impossible -- Dead Reckoning Part 1, the penultimate film of the iconic action series, and as we've come to expect from the M:I series it's got an awesome car chase -- but featuring an unlikely car.
In the trailer we see Tom Cruise and franchise newcomer Hayley Atwell running through the cobbled streets of Rome and coming upon a kinda beat-up, bright-yellow vintage
parked next to a Ferrari F12 TdF. The Fiat seemingly reverses out of the space with no one in it, with Cruise and Atwell looking shocked. (I'm guessing it's a self-driving gadget provided by the IMF, like the
BMW 7 Series
in Tomorrow Never Dies.) The trailer then jumps to clips of Cruise drifting the little Fiat through the tight city streets while being chased by the Italian police and another villain in an armored Humvee-like SUV. It looks like an awesome sequence, and it immediately brought to mind another movie with a bright yellow 500: Hayao Miyazaki's feature film debut masterpiece The Castle of Cagliostro.
Released in 1979, The Castle of Cagliostro is the second animated movie in the Lupin the Third franchise, which follows the antics of master thief Arsène Lupin III. The series started off as a manga that ran from 1967 to 1969, but it spawned multiple TV shows and nearly a dozen films that have come out in the ensuing decades. While Lupin was a more evil character in earlier works and drove a Mercedes SSK, Miyazaki reworked him to be goofier and more upbeat, putting Lupin in a yellow Fiat 500 that he also lives in. His Fiat has made appearances in many other Lupin works, but it's best known for The Castle of Cagliostro where it stars in a phenomenal chase scene.
At the beginning of the movie Lupin spots a woman in a wedding dress driving a Citroën 2CV -- Miyazaki's personal car -- being followed by a group of mobsters in a Humber Super Snipe. Lupin jumps in his 500 to give chase, with the trio speeding down a coastal mountain road outside of Monte Carlo, crashing into each other, chucking grenades, driving through the forest, smashing through construction barriers and just getting into lots of general mayhem. It's not only one of the best animated car chases ever but a personal favorite chase scene of any type, and one that certainly has influenced other modern action movies. In fact, The Castle of Cagliostro's action sequences were a direct inspiration for the action in Indiana Jones.
I think there's no way the choice of the Fiat 500 for Mission: Impossible is just a coincidence. Lupin's 500 is one of the most recognizable and beloved animated vehicles out there, and the one used in Dead Reckoning is nearly identical. In M:I the 500 is getting drifted and tossed around in an almost animated way akin to how Lupin drives his car, and the movies have similar settings, too. Pixar's Cars franchise also features a yellow vintage 500, but somehow I doubt that served as inspiration for the new Mission: Impossible. Yellow 500s are at this point synonymous with Lupin, with Fiat even coming out with multiple Lupin-themed special editions of the modern car.
The Fiat 500 isn't the only vehicle that sees great action in Dead Reckoning. The trailer also shows Cruise driving a BMW 540i sedan that's had all its doors ripped off, drifting it around Rome and smashing into other cars. (Interestingly it seems like an M5 was also used for filming, though with the badges removed to make it more unassuming, which may make for some continuity errors.) We also see a train careen off a bridge, and Cruise BASE jumps by driving a motorcycle off a very tall cliff in a highly publicized scene that he described as the most dangerous stunt of his career. There's a submarine in the arctic and some horses in the desert too, if you like that sort of thing.
Mission: Impossible -- Dead Reckoning Part 1 won't be in theaters until July 14, 2023, with the sequel set to come out on June 28, 2024. Christopher McQuarrie, who directed the previous two M:I movies (both of which had amazing chase scenes), is directing both Dead Reckoning films.