Christopher McQuarrie movies ranked
Christopher McQuarrie is perhaps one of the strongest voices in filmmaking to appear, disappear, then reappear years later, stronger than ever. The scriptwriter had immense success in the late 90s, turning in a script that would soon become one of the best of the decade, only to lay low for about ten years, then make a huge comeback not long after.
This is due, at least in part, to the discovery of his muse: none other than Tom Cruise. Since 2008, the pair have worked on six films (seven, if you count McQuarrie’s uncredited script doctoring on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol). The two work incredibly well together, but still managed to make one single dud. Here’s our selction of McQuarrie’s films from best to worst and see for yourself which ones to watch.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Easily the best of all of McQuarrie’s films is Mission: Impossible – Fallout. There’s no denying the craft and level of expertise needed to create something of this scale. The stunts, the story, the camerawork, the feel of the thing—it’s all thanks to McQuarrie and his years and years of collaborations with Tom Cruise. It’s spectacular.
The Usual Suspects
Did you know Christopher McQuarrie wrote this movie? He hadn’t worked with Tom Cruise yet, he hadn’t released a single big-budget action movie yet, but turns out he was always there this whole time. This movie is clever, inventive, and inspired in a way only McQuarrie could be. Plus, it’s one of the best movies of the 90s.
Edge of Tomorrow
Easily one of the strongest pieces of original science fiction to ever be released, Edge of Tomorrow is mind-glowingly cool. There’s no other way to put it: McQuarrie created a cool movie. It’s fantastic, Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are absolute stars, and it’s hard to believe this movie didn’t get more love when it was released in 2014.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Only a step or two below the impressive scale of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Rogue Nation is filled with so many cool set pieces and fun plot twists it’s impossible not to have a blast while watching it (even if you’ve already seen it countless times like me). The cast is at the top of their game, the villain is so good, and Fallout is the only Mission: Impossible movie to top it.
Way of the Gun
One of McQuarrie’s earliest films, Way of the Gun is a blueprint for many of his future soirées into the action-adventure genre. It’s gruesome, unrelenting, and incredibly fun, but it was a box office failure and received a tepid response from critics.
Jack Reacher’s faults can’t be blamed on Cruise or McQuarrie as much as they should be blamed on the flimsy source material from which they came. Based on the never-ending series of Lee Child novels, Jack Reacher never manages to transcend the mass market paperback shelf from which it came. It’s still a lot of fun at parts, especially when Tom Cruise is creatively threatening goons and then delivering through on those threats.
The problem with Valkyrie is that it manages to make fighting Nazis seem less interesting than other films. Released the same year as Inglorious Basterds, you can’t help but wonder how this movie could’ve been improved when compared to Tarantino’s unrelenting Nazi-killing extravaganza. It’s not bad, but it’s not all that good, either.
Jack the Giant Slayer
Are you interested in watching Jack and the Beanstalk but gritty? No? Neither am I. Still, it’s not as bad as it sounds (but it’s not as good as it could be, either). It’s as absurd and baffling as any other Bryan Singer movie, and McQuarrie isn’t responsible for any weird choices Singer made while in the director’s chair.
This movie is practically incomprehensible. There’s nothing of value to say about it, but we’ll leave you with this: the script was rewritten in two weeks and Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie were only attracted to the project because of its short shooting time and the beautiful locations in which the film takes place.
Not only the worst movie McQuarrie is associated with, but one of the worst movies of 2017. It’s really not that bad on its own, but when you consider the hackneyed attempt to create a universe based on this one flimsy remake-of-a-remake, it crumbles. Tom Cruise is so wrong for the role, the script feels like it could’ve used another couple of drafts, and it’s an absolute mess from start to finish. It’s entertaining, sure, but it’s no excuse. There’s no need for it to exist other than to set up a failed cinematic universe.