Just in time for the holidays, two huge Hollywood action films are arriving in theaters. One is set in Victorian times and one in present-day. But they have more in common than mysteries, chases, explosions, trains, and meaningless after-the-colon titles. They both star actors from the superb Swedish “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series, just as the American remake with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara is about to open next week. In “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol” Michael Nyqvist plays a brilliant scientist after some nuclear launch codes. In “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows,” Noomi Rapace plays a gypsy looking for her missing brother.
The movies have something else in common — a remarkable similarity in the aspirations of the villains. They may be a century apart but their outlook and their dastardly plans are very similar. I don’t think it’s a coincidence but I don’t think there was any copying involved. I think both are a reflection of current concerns about world affairs while general enough to be fun-scary, not scary-scary. When you see them, let me know what you think!