Denis Kryuchkov (director)
103 min (length)
22 March 2021 (released)
25 March 2021
When former Russian Spetsnaz operative Nikita is hired to ‘neutralise’ the private security force at a local factory it becomes clear that that one of the reasons for accepting the job has to do with Nikita’s traumatic past…
The opening scene sees two snipers, one of them the introvert Nikita (Ivan Kotik) aiming at a group of soldiers though suddenly Nikita starts shooting at one man in particular: a seemingly high ranking army figure (played by Alexandr Krosovsky), with Nikita’s comrade clueless as to what’s going on though we quickly learn (via a flashback scene that takes us back to Nikita’s childhood) what the reason for his rage might be…
Back in the present Nikita is hired to lead a very special mission that tasks him with neutralising the private security (apparently unarmed) at a large factory (which seems to produce vodka) so the board of directors can be pushed into selling their business but well, Nikita isn’t really interested in any of that for unbeknownst to the others he has his very own agenda…
In order to take out the security he needs to assemble a team of kick-ass fighters who initially seem neither too bright nor interested in taking orders from Nikita. Soon though those guys take on security after having successfully managed to infiltrate the factory and all hell breaks loose. Enter actors Ivan Mulin, Nikita Kologrivyy, Andrey Sviridov, world heavyweight kick-boxing champion Vladimir Mineev and powerlifting world record holder Kirill Sarychev while the rest of the cast are comprised of some young company representatives in smart suites, an older executive and his blond assistant Eva (Sofya Ozerova) who has precious little to do other than walking around in her high-heel shoes and acting mysteriously.
That said, the paper-thin plot (which is in any case drawn out) really doesn’t matter all that much. What matters are the high-octane action sequences and they’re coming thick and fast! The relentless kicking, punching and fighting with assorted weapons are incredibly well choreographed though Nikita’s fighter team look more like a rap band from the Bronx (we even get treated to some rap music Russian style) than your usual military-style marionettes. Of course there’s a twist towards the end, well, a twist of sorts when it transpires that Nikita was simply after the very man responsible for killing his father and the showdown between Nikita and actor Alexandr Krosovsky leaves this film with no winner and no happy ending.
RUSSIAN RAID is the directorial debut of Denis Kryuchkov and although there’s hardly any location work the cinematography – courtesy of Alexey Sedov – is extremely well done. Inspired by Gareth Evans’ 2011 martial arts hit The Raid, this unique and anticipated Russian thriller will please all fans of martial arts even though it’s oh so macho!
In Russian language with optional English subtitles.