Max Crime Syndicate
A criminal weapons dealer who is negotiating with the rogue IMF agent known as "Job".
- Affably Evil: Max is a reasonable business person and took a like on Ethan after he told her that the NOC List Job gave her was fake. Other than that she can manipulate people and is an weapons dealer.
- It also looks like she's flirting with Ethan during their shared escape from an IMF hit squad.
- Arms Dealer: A particularly wealthy and powerful one at that, who is cooperating with "Job".
- The Corrupter: It is said by Kittridge that she is quite good at corrupting vulnerable and desperate people such as "Job"Jim Phelps. Funnily enough, she tries to do this with Kittridge at the end of the first film but it is unknown if she succeeded or not.
- Enemy Mine: Ethan gains Max's trust and forms a temporal alliance with her so that he can track down "Job" in exchange of giving her the NOC List.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: Downplayed. Max is, on paper, the more dangerous antagonist of the first film. She has an international weapon sales ring and if the data falls into her hands then it will put a lot of the IMF at risk. However, Max is shown to be quite pleasant and reasonable for a criminal businesswoman and even has some comedy at her expense. Job's coldness, onscreen body-count, and personal connection to Ethan makes him far more loathsome and central as the antagonist even though Max poses the greater threat. To her, getting rid of the IMF is a business move while to Job it's a callous and cruel action that has him betray and kill his friends and wife for his personal gain.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Rarely does anything herself, but overall manages to do alot anyway.
- Only Known By His Nickname: Max is her criminal nickname. Ethan jokingly asks her if her true name is "Maxine".
- Villainous Breakdown: Max blames her assistant Matthias when their laptop stops working during the NOC List download. It was actually Luther jamming down the signal.
- Villain with Good Publicity: She seems to be remembered as this in Mission Impossible: Fallout, having spent a decent sum of her blood money on charity in order to acquire a reputation as a philanthropist; apparently large sums of evil money can buy you quite the patina of virtue.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It seems to be implied that she died sometime after the events of the first film, given how her daughter in Fallout refers to her in the past tense, however it's never flat-out stated that Max is deceased.
"Job", real name Jim Phelps
The rogue agent of the IMF that works with Max. See IMF Agents for more details.
A henchman of Max's.
White Widow/Alanna Mitsopolis
Ethan Hunt: I'm not, actually. It's an alias.
White Widow: I suppose it's better than John Doe.
An arms dealer whom John Lark is supposedly meeting with to get his plutonium cores. She is the daughter of Max and also known in public as Alanna Mitsopolis.
- Affably Evil: Like her mother, she's an international criminal, but she's always incredibly polite and charming. It helps that she started working undercover for the IMF later in the film.
- Arms Dealer: Much like her mother, although she seems less... sophisticated than her.
- Blondes Are Evil: Subverted. Ethan thinks she's just a normal arms dealer, but Hunley reveals she's working with the CIA.
- The Chanteuse: Her first appearance visually invokes the trope, with her on a stage, dressed in white, sensually wrapped around a microphone stand. This establishes her with visual shorthand as a Femme Fatale.
- Dark Action Girl: Well, she's incredibly Affably Evil, but she's still an Arms Dealer and one who can definitely hold her own in a fight (from what is shown at least).
- Girl of the Week: Played with. She is clearly interested in Ethan. She even wears a big, conspicuous silver black widow dress clasp, in a nod to her nickname, and her possible Bond Girl inspiration. Ironically, it turns out she is working for an intelligence agency.
- In Love with Your Carnage: Her face went bright with excitement the moment "John Lark" mentioned his ruthlessness. Earlier, she was practically turned on when he killed the assassins to protect her.
- Ms. Fanservice: She wore a very form-fitting white dress in her first appearance.
- She's Got Legs: At one point, she lifts up her dress to get the knife she hid under it, showing her beautiful leg in the process. The camera even helpfully shoots from a low-angle in that brief shot.
- Stocking Filler: In this case, a Butterfly Knife.
- Villainous Crush: Well, not really a villain but still a morally ambiguous individual. She seems to be turned on by John Lark when he speaks of his reputation and gets excited upon seeing him in action. Later on, she kisses him passionately for no real reason just because she wants to.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Much like her mother.
Ambrose & Associates
A rogue agent of the IMF turned criminal.
- Ax-Crazy: He's a volatile, short-tempered man for whom violence is as natural as breathing.
- Bad Boss: He mutilates Stamp's finger for questioning his attempt to reignite his relationship with Nyah. It makes him especially bad considering that Stamp's suspicions about Nyah were correct. Ambrose also kills Stamp later on, but that was the result of Hunt swapping faces with him.
- Big Bad: Of the second film.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Ambrose is smug, arrogant and greedy, but his love for Nyah is genuine.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He has a pretty dismal view of Ethan's preference for elaborate ruses rather than just offing civilians.
- Evil Counterpart: Set up as Ethan's, right down to being used as an "alternate" to him in the past. Part of his going rogue was his resentment at being Always Second Best. Among the film series' major villains he's also the only one able to match Ethan blow-for-blow in a physical fight up until the sixth film's John Lark (since Solomon never fights Ethan directly).
- Evil Gloating: He does this quite a bit which fits nicely with his overconfidence.
- FaceHeel Turn: He was a former agent before going rogue although he wasn't much more heroic then given his willingness to take out bystanders.
- Faux Affably Evil: He can try to be charming, but it always breaks down into temper tantrums at the slightest provocation.
- For the Evulz: Averted. While Sean is a bad, bad man, he's ultimately in it for the money and pride rather than just to be a dick.
- Genius Bruiser: He's quite clever, in addition to a dangerous physical combatant.
- Greed: His entire plan is motivated by greed with a dash of resentment thrown in for good measure.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Ambrose storms through his film in a barely-concealed rage at virtually all times.
- Jerkass: In addition to being a sociopath willing to kill millions for a hefty payoff, he's generally a dick with a serious anger management problem.
- Lack of Empathy: He's completely indifferent to the millions who will die in his scheme.
- Large Ham: Scott's performance is many things. Restrained is not one of them.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Ambrose lives quite extravagantly for a government civil servant. Contrast Hunt's comfortable middle-class house in Mission Impossible III with Ambrose's oceanside Australian McMansion.
- Only in It for the Money: Unlike Jim Phelps, who went insane from decades of job burnout, or Musgrave, Hendricks, or Lark, who all were Well Intentioned Extremists employing various extreme methods to achieve their idea of "the greater good", Ambrose is simply an opportunist who decides to go rogue when the opportunity for an obscenely large payout presents itself.
- Poison-and-Cure Gambit: His Evil Plan boils down to this on a massive scale, causing a worldwide outbreak of a deadly, genetically-perfected hemorrhagic fever, before getting incredibly rich from getting all the stock in the company he's selling the cure to.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He claims: "Women are like monkeys. Won't let go of one branch until they get hold of the next." It's a double offender when the "monkey" comment is heightened by the fact that Nyah is a black woman.
- Smug Snake: He's not dumb, but he's got quite an opinion of himself that his actual skills just don't measure up to. His operational M.O. is basically Murder Is the Best Solution, in contrast to Ethan's more subtle and clever Guile Hero methods. His cleverest ruse, impersonating Ethan in the beginning of the film, wasn't even his own idea, but rather standard IMF protocol that he was assigned due to Ethan not being available for the job.
- The Sociopath: His feud with Ethan goes way back. Ethan generally goes out of his way not to hurt innocent people and security guards just doing their jobs, while Sean is never happy unless he "leaves a few hats on the ground."
- Violent Glaswegian: He's a man of rage and violence with a Scottish accent as thick as his temper.
- Villainous Crush: Appears to be genuinely in love with Nyah, enough to be legitimately hurt and angry upon realizing that she's playing him.
Ambrose's main henchman.
- The Dragon: Ambrose's right-hand man.
- Fingore: Ambrose mutilates one of his fingers for questioning his relationship with Nyah. It's how he identifies him after Hunt swaps faces with him and tricks Ambrose into riddling him with bullets.
- Properly Paranoid: He suspects Nyah is up to no good when she returns to Ambrose. He's right.
- Red Right Hand: Ambrose cuts off the tip of his finger ("mercifully" deciding not to cut it to the first joint) and Stamp spends the rest of the film with it in a cast. It's very distinctive and focused on whenever he's in scene, shown to bleed when Billy slams a door on him and identify him as the man Ambrose accidently killed thinking he was Ethan.
Ambrose's tech savvy henchman.
- The Brute: Though we never get to see such brute.
- Oh, Crap!: His final expression before an articulated lorry smashes into the car he's driving.
- Too Dumb to Live: Insists on driving at full speed on a busy Australian highway, despite visibility being reduced to nothing thanks to a thick cloud of smoke caused by Ethan. It ends with Wallis and a couple of other mooks getting obliterated when a lorry they didn't see coming smashes into their car.
CEO of Biocyte Pharmaceuticals and an ally to Ambrose.
- Bad Boss: Injects his scientist with the nre virus willingly and kills him.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Reveals that his motive was to only get money and allies with Ambrose to spread the Chimera virus despite finding it repulsive.
- Even Evil Has Standards: As mentioned above he's absolutely horrified by Ambrose's plan to infect Sydney with the virus.
- Fat Bastard: He's fat and an asshole.
- Karma Houdini: Nothing bad happens to him discounting the fact he's now disgraced.
Davian & Associates
A sociopathic arms dealer.
- Arms Dealer: He's notorious for selling weapons to terrorist organizations. The plot of the third movie revolves around him trying to sell the Rabbit's Foot, a theoretical weapon of mass destruction.
- Ax-Crazy: Despite his dispassionate and flat demeanour, his penchant for torture and murder along with putting bombs in peoples heads for little more than shits and giggles show that an unhinged mind lurks within.
- Bad Boss: Executes his head of security for failing to prevent Ethan from abducting him.
- Big Bad: Of the third film. He turns out to be in a Big Bad Duumvirate with Musgrave.
- Creepy Monotone: He often speaks in a low, almost drawling voice with little emotion.
- Deadpan Snarker: Extreme emphasis on the deadpan, which he keeps up even when interacting with regular people. After Zhen spills wine on him as part of a plan to get him alone, he responds to her apologies with."It's fine, I always spill red wine on my custom-made white shirt."
- Dissonant Serenity: A major reason why he's so terrifying is that he carries out, or talks about carrying out, horrific acts of violence while rarely dropping his bored-sounding voice. The one time he shifts his tone to something resembling vague amusement is when he's remembering how he murdered Ethan's friend for fun.
- Evil Sounds Deep: He's got a very deep voice, which he combines with an eerily calm and soft spoken tone.
- Explosive Leash: Seems to be one of Davian's preferred tricks. He implants small bombs in the heads of his hostages and activates them when they get away. Or for fun.
- Fat Bastard: He's not obscenely overweight, but he's still fat and an utter sociopath.
- For the Evulz: During his interrogation, Davian briefly becomes an unusually intimidating Cloud Cuckoo Lander as he gives the aforementioned speech, but then he says that when he blew up the skull of Farris, he did it for one reason; fun. Played straight at the end when Davian tortures both Hunt and Julia and gives his promise; that he will make them scream and Julia will cry Hunt's name out.
- Forced to Watch: He promises to make Julia watch while he kills Ethan, but in the climax, decides to force Ethan to watch him kill Julia instead.
- Genius Bruiser: Davian is a criminal mastermind and, while not a top-level fighter like Ambrose, he is able to do decently in a Good Old Fisticuffs brawl with Ethan, albeit while the latter is seriously weakened.
- I Have Your Wife: He kidnaps Ethan's wife, Julia, to force Ethan to steal the Rabbit's Foot and deliver it to him.
- It's Personal: The softspoken rant to Ethan quoted above when the agent catches him.
- Kick the Dog: His murder of Lindsey Farris and taunting Ethan about it definitely qualify.
- Knight of Cerebus: Possibly the darkest villain in the whole series.
- Lack of Empathy: He barely spares a second thought to all the bloodshed and pain he causes.
- Necessarily Evil: Not how Davian views himself—he personally couldn't care about such things—but Musgrave believes eliminating him would only result in two others springing up in his place, making it more profitable to use his unsavory business to further "nobler" ends.
- Nerves of Steel: He shows zero fear after being captured by Ethan and left at his mercy, ignoring all his questions while calmly stating how he's going to torture the woman Ethan loves in front of him. He doesn't even cave when Ethan opens the doors of their airplane, threatens to throw him out, and begins cutting the restraints securing him one-by-one. He also doesn't flinch at all when Ethan shoots at him with an assault rifle from well outside the weapon's effective range.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Gives a very brutal one to Ethan in the finale, due to the charge going off in Ethan's head.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: When he has Julia as his hostage, he does the standard, "I'll kill her if you don't cooperate" move with Ethan, saying he has ten seconds to tell him where the Rabbit's Foot is before he kills her. Unlike other villains, he's completely immune to Ethan's attempts to talk, threaten or negotiate his way out of the situation. When he gets to ten, he shoots her. Subverted when it turns out it wasn't Julia but a hench-woman who failed him, but his partner does state Davian just wanted to kill Ethan and Julia both.
- Sadist: Likes to make people suffer for fun."And you saw what I did to your little blonde friend at the factory right. Oh... that was nothing. That was... fun. That was fun."
- The Sociopath: His finger won't shake when he has it on a gun's trigger.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: He can talk about all the pain he'll inflict on a person with a very casual tone.
- The Stoic: He's a Soft-Spoken Sadist who almost never loses his cool even when being shot at or subject to "enhanced interrogation".
- War for Fun and Profit: He's in on Musgrave's plan to sell the Rabbit's Foot to Middle-Eastern terrorists to give a pretext for America to go to war. While his partner is well-intentioned, Davian's just in it for the money.
- Undignified Death: When brawling with a weakened Ethan in the street he gets anticlimatically and almost comedically face crushed by a passing truck.
- Unwitting Pawn: Musgrave is using him to start a war in the Middle East. In fact Musgrave says that Davian is just one of hundreds of interchangeable weapons dealers and is essentially just "a weed".
- Villain with Good Publicity: He's respected enough to be invited to the Vatican.
- You Have Failed Me: His head of security failed to prevent his abduction by Ethan's team. In response, Davian puts a mask over her to make her look like Ethan's wife then kneecaps and murders her as part of his psychological torture of Ethan.
The man in charge for placing explosive implants.
Head of Security
Owen Davian's interpreter at the Vatican and also head of security.
- Cunning Linguist: As an interpreter, her job is to communicate with Davian and other foreign people. She is fluent in Italian (the only language shown as she didn't live for long).
- You Have Failed Me: She did not do her job properly and hence pays the price by being disguised as Julia to psychologically torture Ethan.
Cobalt & Associates
Kurt "Cobalt" Hendricks
A Swedish nuclear strategist who wants to start a nuclear war.
- Affably Evil: Yeah yeah, Kurt is making a plan on destroying the world and is a complete maniac. Hell, the first thing he does in the film is breaking someone's neck, but Hendricks isn't a Bad Boss like many other villains and often negotiates with them.
- Big Bad: Of the fourth film.
- Cold Ham: His relieved sigh after he launches the missile in Mumbai comes out as overdramatic as he tells to himself that his plan came out as expected.
- Disney Villain Death: Committed by himself. He throws himself from a parking lot with the suitcase and lands several stories below, so Ethan can never catch him and thinking he succeeded in his plans. He survives just long enough to see Ethan deactivate the missile, then he succumbs.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: In his younger days, Kurt was a Swedish commando. The unit was never specified.
- Genius Bruiser: Hendricks is a genius nuclear physicist with an IQ of 190, as well as being former Swedish special forces and, while he's aged out of his glory days, he's still able to give the team a good chase in Dubai and put up a decent fight when confronting Ethan in the finale. He's also clever enough to anticipate Ethan's moves during the chase in Dubai (including Ethan's incredibly unorthodox ploy of using a car as a battering ram) and stay one step ahead of him.
- Glass Cannon: He might not be able to go the distance in an extended punch-out like Ambrose could, but he doesn't really need to since, thanks to his training, he manages to break Ethan's leg within seconds (though Ethan counters by breaking his arm just as quickly).
- Go Out with a Smile: He smiles at Ethan before falling to his death in the parking, believing his plan for nuclear armageddon has succeeded.
- Light Is Not Good: He seems to favor clean white suits, compared to the 3 previous villains' preference for black suits.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: His fight with Ethan in the finale is pretty brutal, resulting in a broken leg for Ethan and a broken arm for Hendricks.
- Oddly Small Organization: His organization seems to be limited to himself and Wistrom, with him contracting out work to mercs like Sabine. To top it off for much of the movie "Wistrom" is actually Hendricks wearing a Latex Perfection mask. Presumably when your goal is to destroy the world it can be hard to find recruits.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Cobalt thinks a nuclear war will bring peace and prosperity to (whatever is left of) humanity.
- Stealth Expert: He somehow manages to singlehandedly infiltrate the Kremlin, plant explosives in key locations, and steal a nuclear football suitcase as well as the KGB's files on his identity, all without being detected and even successfully framing the IMF for blowing the Kremlin up. He also sneaks up on and fiber wires at least one security guard like a pro.
- Thanatos Gambit: Throws himself off the top of a parking garage while clutching the control briefcase for the nukes in order to stop Ethan from preventing the launch.
- Unknown Rival: The only villain in the series to not personally know Ethan, nor say his name or exchange any dialogue with him.
- Villainous Breakdown: He is very pissed off when Ethan comes to Abu Dhabi to stop his deal with Sabine after fighting him during the sandstorm disguised as Wistrom.
- Villainous Underdog: This guy came within seconds of destroying the world, with nothing more than his own personal skills, 1 loyal henchman, and a modest sum of money for buying resources, presumably obtained from selling his worldly possessions and going underground.
- Weak, but Skilled: Hendricks is still in pretty good shape, as evidenced by the chase in Dubai, but when he goes toe-to-toe with Hunt at the end of the film it's clear that he's pretty heavily outmatched, as Hendricks has been retired from field work for decades while Hunt is a younger, top-level, and still currently active operative. He still manages to hold his own even after getting his arm broken early on, even managing to break Ethan's leg with a single strike within seconds of engaging in hand-to-hand.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He wants to start a nuclear war just to prove himself right about the dangers of nuclear missiles to humanity. Which, in any sane person's mind, defeats the point, but...
- A deleted scene elaborates that his goal is to start a nuclear war now while one would still be survivable, rather than wait for the next generation of WMDs which would be powerful enough to exterminate all life on Earth.
Hendricks' main (and seemingly only) henchman.
- Badass Normal: Subverted. Manages to evade Hunt during a chase scene until it turns out it's just Hendricks in a mask. Though he does manage to give Brandt a decent fight later on in the finale.
- The Dragon: To Hendricks.
- Dramatic Ammo Depletion: He apparently didn't bother to bring even 1 spare magazine for his pistol, as he immediately discards it after emptying the mag in his firefight with Jane in the finale.
- In the Back: How he dies; Benji shoots him from behind while he's got Brandt in a chokehold.
William Brandt: The best.
Sabine: (Laughs) I've killed the best.
A French assassin who kills IMF operative Trevor Hanaway in order to steal nuclear launch codes, which she plans to sell to Hendricks for a large sum of diamonds.
- Badass Boast: She brags that she's "killed the best".
- Clothing Damage: Her dress is ripped during her fight with Jane.
- Combat Pragmatist: Her method of dispatching an agent who is noticeably taller and more muscular? Getting close and shooting him in the chest. She also uses a cork screw and a vase in her fight with Jane.
- Dark Action Girl: Kick ass and is bad.
- Designated Girl Fight: With Jane, justified as she killed Trevor.
- Destination Defenestration: In the tallest building in the world.
- Disney Villain Death: She falls from the very Burj Khalifa after Jane kicks her out. Strangely enough we don't see her body while Ethan chases Wistrom.
- Evil Wears Black: She wears a black dress.
- Faux Action Girl: Mostly averted due to being lethal with a gun and a Combat Pragmatist, but she is clearly hopelessly outmatched against a trained IMF agent like Carter in a hand-to-hand fight.
- French Jerk: She's French and a cold-hearted assassin.
- Hero Killer: She kills Agent Hanaway in the opening.
- Loves Only Gold: It's mentioned that as an assassin, she only accepts diamonds as payment. Given her Smug Snake attitude, it seems likely she just enjoys having a dramatic signature.
- It's Personal with the Dragon: In a manner similar to Lethal Weapon 2, Moreau was responsible for the death of Carter's love, Agent Hanaway.
- Not So Stoic: Panics when she sees Jane charging at her with murder in mind.
- Professional Killer: Appearing from nowhere and kills Trevor immediately when she approaches him. Efficient and quick.
- Smug Snake: Sabine's full of pride when she thinks she has the upper hand, but quickly loses her composure the moment things start not going according to plan, in contrast to the heroes who manage to improvise and adapt when their plans fall through.
- The Sociopath: A cold blooded assassin. She didn't shed any tears for anything she did.
- Weird Currency: She likes to be paid with diamonds.
The Fog: War is very good for business.
Ethan: Nuclear war?
The Fog: Go on.
A Russian arms dealer.
- Arms Dealer: He's one.
- Enemy Mine: He makes a deal with Ethan to track down Hendricks in Mumbai and later with Sidorov to demonstrate Ethan's innocence.
- Only Known By His Nickname: Much like Max, he prefers to use his nickname to preserve his anonymous status.
- Pragmatic Villainy: The above quotes. He's not above taking advantage of the countless of wars in the world as opportunities to sell his weapons and make good profits, but he draws the line at nuclear war, because it means the world will be devastated with billions of casualties, most likely including him as well, and you can't sell weapons when you're dead.