Mission: Impossible III

  • Review Date: October 30, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

Common Sense Media says

More boisterous and violent action; teens and up.
  • Review Date: October 30, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 125 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.


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."


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.


A couple uses each of "ass" and "hell," plus "damn," "sonofabitch," "t--s," and four s-words.


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.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie 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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?


Mission Impossible IIIis boisterous and violent, a 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 the movie 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the tension Ethan feels between his job and his personal life/romance. How does he learn that lying to his wife has various costs, in terms of trust as well as her physical danger? They can also talk about action movies in general, and whether a movie needs violence in order to be thrilling.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 5, 2006
DVD release date:October 31, 2006
Cast:Laurence Fishburne, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tom Cruise
Director:J.J. Abrams
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:for intense sequences of frenetic violence and menace, disturbing images and some sensuality.

This review of Mission: Impossible III was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 16 years old Written byMath-U April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Just Plane Awsome!!!!

Mission Impossible 3 was the best one yet.
Teen, 14 years old Written bythat_one_guy726 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


This movie is tons of fun! But be warned, it was rated PG-13 for a reason. But if you obey the rating you'll be fine, because it's fine for anyone 13 and up! There's lots of violence, some language, and a bit of sexuality.
Adult Written bysassy007 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass