Mission: Impossible III
By Cynthia Fuchs,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
More boisterous and violent action; teens and up.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Ethan rides a motorcycle without a helmet; Ethan lies to his fiancee; villains kidnap Ethan's fiancee, tie her up, and hold guns on her; Ethan and IMF crew operate undercover, so they're lying for a living; villain/mole inside the U.S. government agency.
Positive Role Models
The heroes are brave and strong.
Violence & Scariness
Action violence (explosions, fights, gunfire, missiles, two-chopper shootout, car chases, adrenalin shot to the heart, stabbing, throat-cutting, brain zapped by device through nasal passage); action sequences involve lots of shaky handheld camera; Ethan mourns his student's death (crying and holding body); threat of bioweapon ("Toxin 5"); gizmo called "rabbit's foot" (never explained) threatens world decimation; leaps off tall buildings (falling images); Ethan holds villain as if to drop him from a plane; Ethan zapped by weapon, convulses violently; fight in elevator (Ethan slams multiple men into walls); Ethan bites a villain to escape restraints; Ethan runs into people on the street in Shanghai to reach his destination; some slow-motion crashing and shooting; repeated threats to "kill you."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One agent wears a sexy red formal gown to go "undercover" at a party (shots emphasize men staring at her long legs and visible back/cleavage); Ethan and Julia show affection (kissing, nuzzling) and her siblings discuss the "new family" they'll be starting; Luther and Ethan joke about marriage to each other; sex scene post-marriage in hospital supply closet (brief and suggestive, shirts off, then cut away); Julia in shower (shoulders up), to establish vulnerability before her kidnapping.
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A couple uses each of "ass" and "hell," plus "damn," "sonofabitch," "t--s," and four s-words.
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Products & Purchases
7-11 store; Slurpee; Kodak camera; Lamborghini.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking (toast to engagement, champagne, martinis); villain smokes cigarettes; Ethan drinks a drug to become unconscious during ride to hideout.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mission: Impossible III includes frequent, intense scenes of violence, including a few (repeat) shots of a dead character's grisly face, whose loss causes some brief heartache for our hero). Secret agent action includes explosions (including tiny bombs that detonate inside agents' brains), shootouts with automatic weapons, missile fire, car and helicopter chases, falls, crashes, and torture (victims tied to chairs, showing sweaty faces and teary eyes). A couple kisses and then, following a quick hospital chapel wedding, has sex in a supply room (scene cuts away following removal of shirts); girl appears briefly in shower, head and shoulders up. Blood is visible following a few shootings. Ethan's face is repeatedly bruised and scraped. Characters drink wine, champagne, and beer. Villain smokes cigarettes a couple of times.
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Mission: Impossible III
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What's the Story?
In MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) faces off repeatedly with Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), seemingly over a very expensive ($850 million) world-killing device they call the Rabbit's Foot, but really, over their boy stuff. They are, after all, hero and villain, and they're destined to duke it out for your viewing pleasure. Now married, Ethan has given up field ops to train new IMF agents, but he's called off on an impossible mission by Musgrave (Billy Crudup) to rescue former student, Lindsey (Keri Russell), who has been kidnapped by the diabolical Davian. Ethan's rushed off to meet with his old partner Luther (Ving Rhames), and the two get help in their series of high-octane action scenes, including a couple of beautiful newbies, Zhen (Maggie Q) and Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), and an aptly twitchy tech, Benji (Simon Pegg).
Is It Any Good?
This sequel is a boisterous and violent good ride, but for all the fun, it also includes some acknowledgement of costs: emotional, physical, and political. Reconceived by the Cruise-selected writer-director J.J. Abrams, Ethan is here made vulnerable by his love for someone else. That's not to say he's not also the usual Ethan, admirably decisive and troublingly hard-headed.
While Mission: Impossible III tends to privilege Ethan's perspective -- his stunts, his goals, his urgency -- when it cuts to occasional other views, the effect can be jarring. Pursuing his own ends without regard to consequences makes Ethan heroic from one angle, and not a little barmy from another. Ethan's excesses are admirable: he jumps off any building, drives any vehicle, shoots any weapon at any target. But when he risks those close to him, the stakes are different. The scariest possibility in M:I:III is not that Ethan will lose, but that he'll win, and along the way, absorb his pretty little wife into his fearsome orbit.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the tension Ethan feels between his job and his personal life/romance in Mission: Impossible III. How does he learn that lying to his wife has various costs, in terms of trust as well as her physical danger?
What role does violence play an action film like this? Does its glossy nature distract from the brutality on the screen? Is it necessary to the story? Do different types of movie violence have different impact on kids?
- In theaters: May 5, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: October 31, 2006
- Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tom Cruise
- Director: J.J. Abrams
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 125 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: for intense sequences of frenetic violence and menace, disturbing images and some sensuality.
- Last updated: April 2, 2023
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