Ethan Hunt has decided to retire from active duty and instead train agents in the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), choosing to settle down with his fiancé, Julia. When one of Ethan’s protégé’s is captured while investigating an arms dealer named Owen Davian, he joins a team to launch a rescue attempt. Obtaining information regarding a mysterious object called the ‘rabbit’s foot’, Ethan plans to capture Davian to bring him to justice but the possibility of there being a mole within IMF forces him to do everything off the radar.

Mission: Impossible III (2006) – Director: J. J. Abrams

Is Mission: Impossible 3 appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 126 mins

Starring: Tom Cruise, Billy Crudup, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Genre: Action, Thriller


The third instalment of the Mission: Impossible franchise sees Ethan finding happiness and settling down with Julia, the love of his life who is completely oblivious to his dangerous past. Providing an extra layer to his character helps Ethan become a fully rounded person with weaknesses – weaknesses that his enemies are able to exploit. Thankfully, ‘Mission: Impossible III’ saw the franchise coming back to form; Ethan is not the super-cool, superhuman agent that he was in ‘Mission: Impossible II’, he makes mistakes and the sense of danger towards him and the people he cares about is very real.

What lets ‘Mission: Impossible III’ down is the lack of definable story. Philip Seymour Hoffman is suitably villainous in his role as Davian but, other than wanting the ‘rabbit’s foot’, he doesn’t seem to have any further depth. His motivations appear to be non-existent and it feels like his character is simply there to be the ‘bad guy’ rather than make the character fully formed; he appears to be more of a henchman than a major character. The plot itself is lacklustre and forgettable and, while it is not necessarily his fault, it feels like a showboating exercise for Tom Cruise. However, ‘Mission: Impossible III’ is an enjoyable movie to watch. There is plenty of realistic action and the usual twists and turns of the franchise provide plenty of gripping moments to keep you watching until the end.


The opening scene (which is a flash forward to a moment later in the movie) contains the strongest of the violence. Ethan has been captured and Julia is being threatened at gunpoint. Davian threatens to kill her after he has counted to 10 if Ethan doesn’t provide the information he wants. As Ethan clearly doesn’t have the information, he tries to negotiate but ends up just begging Davian to stop. Towards the end of the countdown, Julia is shot in the leg and she screams in pain. When Davian reaches 10, a shot is heard and Ethan cries out in anguish.

There are several intense action sequences through the movie. When attempting to rescue his protégé, Lindsey, Ethan sees her tied to a chair with her head lolling back. Her face is covered in bruises and when he reaches her, he has to inject her with adrenaline. The syringe he uses has a long needle and he stabs it into her heart, which causes an instant reaction. Another scene, around two thirds into the movie, is quite unexpected. Helicopters circle a bridge and open fire on innocent people. A woman is shot (not fatally) but she is helped by two other characters. A drone is also flying around the bridge and it launches a missile towards Ethan who may not be able to escape in time.

One character is killed unexpectedly and those around her are deeply upset, especially Ethan. When she dies, he holds her tightly and cries. At her funeral, Ethan remembers her and there is a montage of the two of them together. A bodybag is opened and there is a brief, 1 – 2 second shot of her face which has now turned a light grey colour. She died with her eyes open and this may be a little distressing for younger viewers. There is then an autopsy on her body but nothing graphic is shown.



Mission Impossible III’ is a movie for adults. The themes involved and the action sequences are not particularly child-friendly and it is unlikely that the plot will be engaging enough to keep young kids interested. Whilst the content itself is not too strong for children we feel that, due to the structure, plotting and execution, we would not recommend this movie as appropriate for kids under the age of 12.

  • Violence:  4/5 (the opening scene is by far the most violent, the rest of the action scenes in the movie are relatively tame in comparison. One character is killed by a truck crashing into their head although the camera cuts away at the appropriate moment)
  • Emotional Distress: 3/5
  • Fear Factor: 4/5 (Davian is a particularly menacing man, he kills without care and often threatens the families of people who try to stop him)
  • Sexual Content: 3/5 (there are a couple of implied instances of intimacy between Ethan and Julia where they are naked from the shoulders up, kissing and on one occasion move down towards the floor, off-camera. One character asks another if they have been intimate with a female character to which they reply, ‘no, she’s like my little sister’. They are then asked ‘You never slept with your sister, right?’. This is done in a matter-of-way and is not sleazy in tone)
  • Bad Language: 3/5 (infrequent mild to moderate cursing and blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 3/5 (Davian’s dialogue is often very threatening and menacing)  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of family, fighting for the people you care about and knowing who to trust.

Words by Laura Record

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