A Russian supervillain is a free speech advocate. No kidding.
I know that Russians historically have had some strong propaganda game, but I would have thought that the internet and the Cold War being over for a large percentage of their population might have started reducing that. However, apparently the former Soviet state is still churning out state-sanctioned stories, to a degree that would even make Navy-recruitment-film Top Gun blush. This movie advocates for a very specific viewpoint that is pretty hard to get for modern Americans, even Conservative ones. If you do happen to be a rich person who wants to be allowed to be corrupt with impunity, though, this is the movie for you.
Major Grom (Tikhon Zhisnevsky) is a police detective in Saint Petersburg who manages to stop a number of bank robbers but causes serious property damage. He’s chastised by his superior officer, Colonel General Prokopenko (Aleksei Maklakov), and is assigned a new partner, the rule-abiding trainee Dima (Aleksandr Seteykin). At the same time, a wealthy youth named Grechkin (Yuri Nasonov) is acquitted of murder after he bribes a jury. IT millionaire Sergei Razumovsky (Sergei Goroshko) and his friend Oleg (Dmitry Chebotaryov), who grew up in the same area as Grechkin’s victim, are outraged by the acquittal. Oleg steals one of Sergei’s experimental combat suits and uses it to kill Grechkin and announce his intention to kill all of the corrupt rich people in the country as the “Plague Doctor.” Grom, Dima, and blogger/love interest Yulia Pchyolkina (Lyubov Aksyonova) must work together to save all of the corrupt millionaires.
Yeah, this movie literally has the worst case of “bad guy has a point” in almost any story ever. Sergei, the millionaire, dedicates most of his wealth and time to trying to create a system for free speech on the internet that the Russian government can’t control. A literal line in the movie is Grom saying that we have restrictions for a reason. In the film’s context, it’s supposed to be a restriction against terrorism, but Sergei is literally talking about expressing dissatisfaction about the government. So, the “bad guys” in the film are people who are A) trying to stop corrupt millionaires who literally get around the law to the point of murder and B) trying to stop the government from cracking down on people bad-mouthing it. I’m not a fan of the idea of killing the corrupt, mostly because I believe in trials and laws, but this movie basically says that there is no actual system to bring these people to justice, then makes the person who tries to change that the bad guy. It also portrays Grom and Dima as among the only non-corrupt people in the police force. While one of his superiors looks out for him, another superior officer literally shows that he’s willing to fabricate evidence or avoid investigation as long as he gets promoted. It’s just a movie that blatantly wants to advocate a point that I cannot possibly think people will like. At the end, it tries to have the Plague Doctor go darker so that you can’t support him, but, again, HE STILL KIND OF HAS A POINT.
It’s even worse because everything that doesn’t involve the odd perspectives of the hero and villain is imminently forgettable. Most of the plot of this movie is just ripped off from a dozen better American films. At least when Russia made their crazy Avengers rip-off Guardians, it had a were-bear with a machine gun. This just has a guy with a cool suit fighting a cop in an old-timey hat. There’s the funny sidekick and the reporter love interest and the scene where the hero is stopped by corrupt higher-ups and a dozen other scenes you’ve watched before. It’s just super generic.
Overall, the only reason to watch this film is if you want to see some modern day propaganda.
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