Making the Grades
I clearly remember agent Phelps, played by Peter Graves, getting his secret assignments via a self-destructing tape recorder at the beginning of each Mission Impossible television episode. Now in the 21st century, agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) receives his covert assignments via a pair of video playing self-destructing sunglasses.
From the sizzling shades Hunt learns he must enlist the help of Nyah Hall (Thandie Newton), a professional thief, to find Chimera, a mysterious substance stolen by agent Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott). Hunt connects with Hall (in a very physical way), only to discover the reason for including her in the operation was because she stole Ambrose's heart during a former relationship.
In spite of the protective feelings Hunt has developed for Hall since that first night together, she remains the only bait capable of luring Ambrose out of hiding. Ambrose bites the hook, taking Hall and the transmitter she is wearing under her skin (a good hiding place considering her skimpy wardrobe) back to his lair. From information gathered by Hall within Ambrose's headquarters, Hunt learns that Chimera is a man made deadly virus. Hunt assembles a team to try to prevent Ambrose from unleashing this epidemic and then profiting from selling the cure. Meanwhile, he must try to keep Hall safe.
Besides Hall's sexual relationships with Hunt and Ambrose, parents may be concerned with the gratuitous violence. These scenes include a major airline crash in the opening sequence, guns, car chases, and fist-to-fist combat. A few of these incidents are explicit with blood spurting from punched faces and oozing from gunshot wounds. The thin plot also provides ample opportunity for reckless driving and destruction of property with nary a consequence.
What is missing are the typical plot twists that have been the trademark of this franchise. Instead of story, this mission relies solely on stunts (featuring a painfully long final fight scene), effects, and one anorexic female to keep the audience interested -- perhaps an impossible task. Parents may even suspect the real mission of the movie is to fit as much violence as possible into a PG-13 rating.