As the movie opens, the Hero watches his mother die. Overcome, he runs away from his extended family.
The Hero, an adult now, jogs alongside a white plastered building in a dark hoodie. He turns a corner enters a street full of loud vendors, scooters, white-gloved cops, and hot, sooty air. Near a high-walled compounded he ducks into an alley, scales the wall and makes his way to an opulent and spacious office where he retrieves a small device with a blue light. Guards arrive, led by a black man with a British accent wearing a white linen suit. “I believe you have something that belongs to Mr. Li.” There are some fisticuffs and some shooting but the Hero is wearing an earbud and explosions and sprinklers go off as planned. The Hero makes it out onto the street where he blends in by wearing glasses and a straw hat.
Back in Europe, the Hero discovers his rendezvous point in Prague is compromised and communications with HQ shutdown. He assembles a group of local mercenaries that includes the love interest, a wild card, the wild card’s sidekick, and a very serious man. They’re at odds but we find out who they are.
- The Love Interest: “Li took care of me when I waz young, trained me. He iz dangerous but he iz not my fahzer.”
- The Wild Card: “Nobody trained me. Not my parents, not my country. I do whatever pays the best.”
- The Sidekick: “I am Yukio.”
- The Very Serious Man: “I went rogue when Li went after my wife and kids.”
Business happens and the Hero and the others discover the device is dangerous/valuable. Let’s say it’s a code key. For a global military-industrial network. The five don’t work well together, and Li’s men take the device from them. During the chase scene, the Hero chooses to save the Love Interest’s life rather than fleeing, and the five end up trapped somewhere. In a Russian prison, say. Or in Munich with no gear, no money and INTERPOL agents watching the train stations and airports. The five realize they will have to trust each other to escape, and they band together to stop Li from using the key to take control of the military network.
More business happens that sets up the plan by which Li will be defeated in a final confrontation inside a Chinese skyscraper. Each of the five characters plays an important role. Let’s imagine that:
- The Love Interest infiltrates a nearby bank where she confronts her sister who manages Li’s finances. One of Li’s men is using the bank’s servers to hide Li’s attack on the military network from western observers. The Love Interest subdues her sister and forces her to lock Li’s man in the server room and to shut down his terminal. She then uses the company’s systems to establish communications between the other team members and to contact the Hero’s former liaison at HQ. At some point, sitting in front of her computer screen, she will say “Okay, I’m in.”
- The Wild Card hides in a server closet in the skyscraper and hacks its computer system. He seals doors and locks elevators. He also shuts down the security system protecting Li and coordinates the team’s approach. As he watches the screens and eats Twizzlers, he jokes “Hello Mr. I Thought I Was Bad Ass. Meet Team Yo’ So Not.”
- When one of Li’s agents bursts into the server closet and shoots at the Wild Card, the Sidekick takes the bullet and karate chops the agent, saving the Wild Card’s life. As the Wild Card works to stop the bleeding, the Sidekick mutters, “We is Yukio.”
- The Very Serious Man confronts Li as he enters the upper levels of the skyscraper, a tall bright space full of computers and criss-crossing catwalks. He is nearly cut down by Li’s guards but manages to save an older and a younger woman who stand frozen by fear in front of their work stations. He does not know they are the IT department chief’s family. Later when Li’s men finally get past the sealed doors and broken elevators, he helps keep them occupied to give the Hero time.
- The Hero arrives late to the scene. He has been held in a decommissioned safe house by the man who raised him, taught him to be a spy and who now wants the control key for himself. The Hero outwits/overpowers the man and rushes to the skyscraper to confront Li. Li is well dressed, calm and gloats. Columns of numbers and code scroll across the computer screens. He explains, “You are too late.” In the server closet, the Wild Card is again typing furiously, his screen reads “password accepted,” he says “yes!” and hits return. The screens next to Li go blank, and he asks, “What is happening? What have you done?“ The Wild Card laughs and sends “pwned” to the blank screen.
Action ensues, but together the Hero and his team capture Li and subdue his men. They hand him and the code key over to the agents from HQ who have finally arrived. The IT chief thanks them for saving his wife and daughter. As the movie closes, the five sit side-by-side in an airport lounge, the Sidekick with his arm in a sling. As they chat a gate agent comes up and hands the Hero a brown envelope. Inside is a sheet of paper stamped “Top Secret.”
(Or if you prefer, imagine Li is a bearded Indian industrialist who dresses in black shirts and suits. In this case the device holds schedules and security details, the threat is an assassination attempt and/or terrorist attack, and the final confrontation involves a car chase on the streets of London.)
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