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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Plenty of the usual spy movie betrayals and killings, but the heroes also know it's important to look out for others' well-being, even if you don't know them -- and even if they don't know you're doing it.
Positive Role Models
Ethan Hunt operates in a world of violence and destruction but also works selflessly and sacrifices much to keep world order. He's brave, and he and his team demonstrate integrity, humility, compassion, teamwork, perseverance, and excellent communication skills.
Several main characters are White, but key characters are also played by Black, Latino, and Asian actors. Higher-ups in the intelligence agency and armed forces are ethnically/racially diverse. Women are portrayed as smart, cunning, and extraordinarily physically capable. That said, Ethan is also clearly the hero, and he does a fair amount of rescuing the female characters -- although, to be fair, many characters come to one another's aid throughout: Women save Ethan, women save other women, men save Ethan, Ethan saves men, and so on.
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Violence & Scariness
Characters are in near-constant peril. Shoot-outs, one with mercenaries using automatic weapons and a heroic character using a long-distance sniper gun in self-defense, resulting in a high body count. Other fatalities, including a key character. Lots of heavily choreographed action violence, including intense fight sequences with knives, swords, lead pipes, and hitting heads against a wall. Multiple stabbings. Car accidents. Explosions. Dead bodies with a close-up on faces.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Nightclub scene with "sexy" dancers in the background; a woman is briefly touched under her breast.
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A couple of uses of "dammit," "hell," "goddammit," and one "what the fu--" that cuts off.
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Products & Purchases
A Fiat makes a comical extended appearance.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tom Cruise returns as Agent Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Part One, the first movie of the two-part seventh installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. In many ways, it's more family friendly than, say, your average James Bond movie: There's no drinking or smoking, women are more empowered than they are objectified or romanced, and language is limited to "goddammit," "hell," and an unfinished "what the fu--." That said, the action violence and peril are nonstop (though not graphic). Both villains and heroes use guns, people die, and there are intense physical fights with knives, swords, a pipe, and a shovel. The Mission: Impossible movies are known for their astonishing daredevil stunts, which Cruise is famous for doing himself, and those are definitely here -- as is a message about the importance of doing the right thing, even when no one knows you're doing it. Ethan Hunt and his team also demonstrate character strengths like teamwork, perseverance, and courage. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
For parents who want to watch action movies with older tweens and teens, Cruise and longtime collaborator Christopher McQuarrie make it possible with this riveting thriller. Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Part One is a perfect example of Cruise Control, and the hands-on star and producer outdoes himself, delivering an edge-of-your-seat actioner that pulls you in immediately and never lets go until the screen goes dark. It's one long, audible gasp. Cruise clearly takes the franchise's name to heart, creating action sequences that seem impossible to pull off -- and yet he does. And "he" really does -- making sure the camera captures his face as he rides his motorcycle off the side of a mountain or climbs up a falling train or drives down the Spanish steps in Rome backward.
That particular car chase scene clearly aims to best both Bullitt and The French Connection -- and it succeeds. In those classics, audiences were entranced by Steve McQueen flying down the enormous hills of San Francisco's main thoroughfares, or Gene Hackman speeding through busy New York City traffic. Taking note, Cruise spins through the cobblestones, narrow passages, and famous landmarks of Rome in a tiny, manual Fiat. It's as exciting as it is hilarious, with the filmmakers ensuring that viewers' eyes don't glaze over during the long scene by keeping the comedy coming. Add to this the gorgeousness of the many international locations -- Arab Emirates, Austrian Alps, Venice -- and a simple story that doesn't require overthinking, and Cruise's spy thriller reminds us: This is why we go to the movies.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.