Is Russia Now An Action Movie Third World Country?

Since the end of the Cold War, Russia hasn’t really been a plausible antagonist country. But unlike China, it doesn’t appear to be a country that we’re worried about antagonizing by showing them as an enemy country, or as a country where really terrible things happen because we’re worried about turning off an important consumer market and trading partner. Take the new Mission Impossible movie, where blowing up the Kremlin, which would have been a trigger for global thermonuclear war two decades ago, instead is the semi-random site of an act of terrorism that mostly seems to be an excuse to throw around stupid movie terms like Ghost Protocol and to create tension between Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner, to whom he’s handing off the franchise:


Or The Darkest Hour, where Moscow is the kind of semi-anonymous foreign city where you go to have a decadent vacation, much like the random tropical countries in the Hostel movies, and where dreadful things are allowed to go down:

When bad things happen in Russia, it’s obviously more significant than if they happen somewhere truly random and implausible. But that significance relies mostly on ghostly memories rather than persistent anxieties. The Cold War is generations ago in Hollywood terms.