The first thing you need to know about me is that I don’t really watch the big contemporary movie franchises.
So when a friend recently suggested that we watch all the Mission: Impossible films, I was pretty sceptical. To be honest, I probably only acquiesced because the first one is from the 90s, and I have a serious soft spot for cheesy 80s/90s action movies.
My impression of these from the outside was that they would each be very much a vehicle for Tom Cruise to play out his real-life action-hero fantasies in a big-budget Hollywood playground. Ultimately, I do stand by this assessment — he gets a lot of licence to do basically anything he wants, and I think this sometimes shows at the seams (I’m looking directly at you, interminable Fallout helicopter fight). That said, there’s no denying that these are not only watchable and entertaining, but they’re also surprisingly... well written and tightly plotted? (Yes, the writer/editor in me is impressed.)
The first in the series, Mission: Impossible (1996) is enjoyable, ridiculous, and I love the depictions of the early internet (Max.com, anyone?!); the second, M:I-2 (2000) is actually the only one I had already seen, and it’s frankly a terrible, terrible, best-forgotten-about film. The third, however, M:I-3 (2006), really finds its stride — well paced, well written, tense; it holds its own among its contemporaries, and it’s very good fun. The fourth, 2011’s Ghost Protocol, is probably my least favourite, as it comes the closest to what I expected: glossy, high-octane, and a slightly nonsense plot.
Movie number five, though, Rogue Nation (2015) — excellent film. That fight scene at the opera? Magic choreography. That underwater heist? Had me genuinely breathless. And Rebecca Ferguson is legit perfect the whole way through. I also enjoyed the most recent, 2018’s Fallout, with its high-stakes, far-reaching plot, and I admit that I’m quite looking forward to the next instalment in the series, Dead Reckoning, due out in July 2023.
And so, in honour of my entry into our era of Tom Cruise blockbusters, here are ten fun, thrilling, missionary-possible (afterwards, in private, if you’re very good...) date ideas for you and me, your favourite London escort.
1. Train to Paris, from Mission: Impossible
Don’t you just love Paris? Let’s go together! It’s no longer the TGV pictured in the film, but we can get the Eurostar instead. Unfortunately, the WiFi today can be just about as bad as it is in the film, even without Ving Rhames on the Nokia jammer. But it’s comfortable, fast, and I love watching the pretty French countryside unfolding from the windows.
Need inspiration? Find out what I love about escort dates in Paris.
2. Shanghai-style dumplings, from M:I-3
Remember when they’re in Shanghai and Tom Cruise starts writing equations on the window? And then later he sprints along a scenic river? Don’t tell me that didn’t make you want dumplings! I love Shanghai xiaolongbao, or soup dumplings. Let’s fill up at Hutong and then go for a wander by the Thames — I also love the dumplings at Hakkasan! There’s so many great places in London where we can replicate this scene from the movie, but at a much, much slower pace (we’ll be full of dumplings, after all).
3. Steak night at Hawksmoor, from Rogue Nation
I love a steak — and I love this part of the start of the movie, when Tom Cruise strolls casually past the doors of Hawksmoor Air Street before the scene in the record shop (the record shop doesn’t actually exist, but I know plenty of gorgeous bookshops nearby that we can browse before dinner instead). If you’re a longtime reader of The Excellent Blog, you’ll know how I feel about the Hawksmoor creamed spinach — and we have to get the Shaky Pete cocktail. (Pro tip: if you’re eating at the Air Street restaurant, make sure to request a table in the quieter front-half of the restaurant, near the bar.)
4. A lasagna dinner, from Mission: Impossible
Hasta lasagna, don’t get any on ya! as Emilio Estevez tells Tom Cruise at the start of the movie. I love a good Italian restaurant, and we have so many good ones in London: my favourites include Bocca di Lupo and Fumo, and I would love to try Murano, Angela Hartnett's Michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair. But if you absolutely insist, then yes I am available to accompany you to Naples, the lasagna’s birthplace.
5. Tate Modern & St Paul’s, from Fallout
Well would you look at that — my favourite place! Are you even a high-class London companion if you don’t love dates at the Tate Modern? You know how I love this part of London, and I may have squealed with excitement when Tom and Henry Cavill popped up here. Let’s wander over the bridge at Blackfriars, enjoy a leisurely stroll to the Tate, and later cross the Wobbly Bridge to take in the glory of the Whispering Gallery at St Paul’s Cathedral. Or if you want to be really authentic, why not get a helicopter from the top of the tower? Hey, it worked for Henry.
Looking for more London escort date ideas? Check out my guide to a beautiful day in London!
6. The opera, from Rogue Nation
Send me tickets anonymously in the mail, and I’ll hop on a plane to Vienna to get all dressed up and act coyly surprised to see you waiting for me in our box? Or, closer to home, we can see our very own Royal Opera House in Covent Garden perform Turandot from 10th March to 13th April 2023. Truly a golden opportunity to recreate that classic scene from the movie, where they sit quietly and enjoy Puccini with no interruptions (it’s in the director’s cut).
7. Beach vacay, from Ghost Protocol
I have spent quite a lot of time in Dubai, and there’s really no compare if you want a bit of gloss and glamour on your sunny beach holiday. How about a cocktail at the top of the Burj Khalifa followed by an afternoon sailing the Creek? I love a good desert safari, too...
8. When in Rome / Vatican City, from M:I-3
Ah, bella Roma! Let’s take in the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon, before an afternoon exploring the Vatican — I’ve never been, and it’s on my 2023 travel bucket list! I won’t insist that we zip around in an orange Lambo... but then again, I won’t complain about it if we do.
I adore Italy! Does my Italian wishlist match yours?
9. Shopping date, from Rogue Nation
Rebecca Ferguson is immaculately dressed in Rogue Nation — and I have to admit that despite how good she is in this, for me the real scene-stealer is her green trench coat. Obsessed. You may know that I have been in the market for a new trench for a while (in fact, there is a replacement on my wishlist). I could also be tempted to try on the very fetching pair of Louboutin boots she’s wearing in the same scene...
10. Spa day, from M:I-2
While each of these films reminds us of the importance of good skincare, none uses the humble face mask to greater effect than this one. (Is it a coincidence that it is also the only movie set in Australia, sunscreen capital of the world?) Let’s enjoy a relaxing facial/massage combo at a spa together — bonus points for authenticity if we do this as part of a rock-climbing adventure-weekend getaway.
So there you have it!
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take me on one of these dates...