Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Russian Raid Review: A Russian Martial Arts Spectacle

Ilya Antonenko		 Nikita Kologrivyy	Nikita Kologrivyy		 Ivan Kotik	Ivan Kotik	...	Nikita Vladimir Mineev	Vladimir Mineev		 Sofya Ozerova	Sofya Ozerova

Release date: March 9, 2021 (Physical Release)
Running time: 103 minutes
Starring: Ivan Kotik, Alexander Krasovsky, Elias Antonenko, Vladimir Mineev, Nikita Kologrivy, Sophya Ozerova, and Kirill Sarychev
Director: Denis Kryuchkov

Long after the murder of his father—a secret agent killed in a missile factory raid—former special forces operative Nikita (played by renowned stuntman Ivan Kotik) returns to Russia as a mercenary. He leads an elite team on a top-dollar heist targeting the same facility, but no one else knows his true objective is revenge.

Directed by  Denis Kryuchkov	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Denis Kryuchkov	 Olga Loyanich	 Robert Orr
Russian Raid has a serious setup but the raid itself and initial fights have a more light-hearted tone.  The cast of fighters are quirky enough, or at least have enough unique, out there personalities that it keeps the raid interesting.  I really enjoyed the various fighters because they were in fact characters.  A few were pretty over the top, but backed up their silliness with toughness and overall solid fighting.  And because there is an older, more grizzled leader and a bunch of younger, punk fighters, these two clashing personalities have a fun dynamic that is entertaining to watch.  The action of Russian Raid is really enjoyable, with a mix of fast-paced action, slower drawn out fights, and differing styles.  Although the movie is MMA focused, the action was fast and quick with a few types of fighting styles represented to keep the movie interesting.  From more traditional martial arts, to grappling, to some hand to hand and projectile weapons, the movie keeps the action varied and intense.  This movie is all about the fighting and from the start of the raid, there is a ton of great combat.  And although there is some CG used for effects, overall the film relies on practical effects to highlight the fighters and injuries that they sustain.  

However, the story of Russian Raid is convoluted at best.  Sure it sets up some of this great action and provides enough of an excuse for this team to attack a factory and fight a lot of people, but overall the story seemed like a complicated plan for what should have been a pretty simple attack.  Additionally, the story seems to go on for longer than expected, with a twist and turn here and there that cause the overall story to change directions, but also makes the film overstay its welcome a little.  And additionally, some of the scenes just end oddly.  There is one scene where a big fight happens, and part way through it, the camera just stops and moves onto the next scene.  The fighters come back later so I imagine they worked out their issue but it just caught me off guard.  However, overall some of the intrigue is interesting and the characters themselves are fun to see, so if you can just sit back and enjoy the action, then this will be a good experience.  

Russian Raid hits you with its quirky characters, fast and varied action, and fantastic mix of martial arts styles and fighters.  

Rent it.

Produced by  Alexander Kalushkin	...	producer Denis Kryuchkov	...	producer Sofia Kvashilava	...	producer Olga Loyanich	...	producer Andrey Lyakhov	...	producerCinematography by  Alexey Sedov	Film Editing by  Georgiy Isaakyan	...	(as George Isaakian)Production Design by  Denis Kryuchkov	Editorial Department  Vladimir Mo	...	colorist
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Russian Raid is available on Blu-ray and digitally on March 9, 2021. 

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