At what point does do multiple sequels to a successful original film cross over from being a continuation of the original storyline to unnecessary cash grabs? The point lies at different places for different franchises. But for Brain De Palma, the answer is clear when it comes to sequels of his 1996 hit Mission: Impossible. They should have stopped at one. The filmmaker elaborated on the answer during an interview with AP News.

"Stories, they keep making them longer and longer only for economic reasons. After I made Mission: Impossible, Tom [Cruise] asked me to start working on the next one. I said: 'Are you kidding?' One of these is enough. Why would anybody want to make another one? Of course, the reason they make another one is to make money. I was never a movie director to make money, which is the big problem of Hollywood. That's the corruption of Hollywood."
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When it comes to the Mission Impossible sequels, it is hard to argue with De Palma's sentiment that they were made to mint money. While an action series like the original Bourne Identity trilogy featured sequels that were a tight continuation of the story from the original film and can be thought of as three parts of the same overarching plot, the Mission Impossible sequels all essentially recycle the same plot in each new movie. A bad guy threatens to unleash a dangerous new technology. The government thinks Ethan Hunt has gone rogue, and now Hunt must work against time to clear his name and stop the bad guy with the help of a ragtag group of allies.

But then again, it can be argued that the purpose of the Mission Impossble franchise is not to tell a new story each time, but demonstrate Tom Cruise's abilities as an action star who still believes in old-fashioned stunt filmmaking that finds few takers in today's CGI-infested studio landscape.

For the longest time, the biggest attraction of a new Mission Impossible movie was in seeing how Cruise and his team would top the stunts of the previous film. The audience sits through the recycled plotlines to see Cruise scaling the side of the Burj Khalifa, hanging off the side of an airborne plane, or climbing a rocky mountain without any gear. Knowing Cruise is actually out there doing all those stunts provides a second-hand thrill to audiences that films like the MCU or the Fast and Furious series cannot hope to replicate.

For his part, Brian De Palma looks back on his time spent making films in the 1990s as his best period in Hollywood.

"In my mid-50s doing Carlito's Way and then Mission: Impossible. It doesn't get much better than that. You have all the power and tools at your disposal. When you have the Hollywood system working for you, you can do some remarkable things. But as your movies become less successful, it gets harder to hold on to the power and you have to start making compromises. I don't know if you even realize you're making them... I tend to be very hard-nosed about this. If you have a couple of good decades, that's good, that's great."

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Neeraj Chand