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Still shot from the movie: Mission Impossible.

Mission Impossible

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is a spy who must recover a computer file that discloses the real identity of American double agents. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B- 3.0
Violence: D+
Sexual Content: A-
Language: B
Drugs/Alcohol: --
Run Time: 110
Theater Release: 22 May 1996
Video Release: 11 Apr 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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The title of this movie more aptly describes the viewer's task of understanding the plot. Much like when I watched the original television series as a young boy, I found the self-destructing tape recorder and catchy theme music more interesting than the story.

This movie is fun while you are experiencing it, but later you are left wondering just what Tom Cruise was up to. It seems the whole point is to catch someone trying to steal a computer file that lists the real identities of all U.S. double agents. Doing this involves hidden spy cameras, meetings on dark streets, high technology, and more than a few shots in the dark. Most of the cast are killed in the opening minutes, leaving me wondering who would be left to finish the complex story.

Director Brian De Palma is a master at creating suspense through visual images without dialogue, and his craft is at it's best in this film. While the music and stunts pull you through all the usual spy cliches, murderous violence, and plotless story, you quickly quit trying to understand what's going on and just sit back and watch Cruise get you home safely.

The violence is not exceptionally gory, but blood is detailed after people are stabbed, and one killing involves a violent car explosion. Other deaths include a man thrown off a high speed train, one crushed between an elevator and a roof, and another killed while flying his helicopter through the Chunnel connecting England to France in one of the most amazing (and improbable) action sequences I have seen.

Parents, as usual, will need to make decisions as to what is acceptable violence. I wouldn't recommend this movie for under 13, and some families may find it totally unacceptable. The script contains just a few vulgarities and there are some minor sexual inferences. But be assured that this mission, if you choose to accept it, won't leave you sleeping in your seat.

Mission Impossible is rated PG-13: for some intense action violence.

Cast: Tom Cruise

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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