An RCMP officer is ordered to discreetly take a Russian immigrant into custody in advance of a state visit by the Soviet premier. When his prisoner is kidnapped, the officer is drawn into a complicated assasination scheme.
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During the 1970s, on the eve of Soviet leader's official visit to Canada, the Soviet Ambassy alerts the Canadian authorities to the existence of a Latvian immigrant who may plan to kill the visiting Soviet leader.The Soviets explain that Latvian immigrant Rudolf Henke is bitter over Latvia's treatment by the USSR and that he may attempt to assassinate the visiting Soviet leader in Vancouver, Canada.The Soviets request that Henke be kidnapped by the Canadian police to prevent him from any wrongdoing.Commander Petapiece of the Special Branch of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police assigns Corporal Tim Shaver to kidnap Rudolf Henke.This seems to be the only solution since the Canadian government fears political backlash from publicly detaining such a high profile political agitator without any concrete evidence of criminal activity from his part.The Canadians want to accommodate the Soviet requests in order to keep good bilateral relations with the USSR.When Corporal Tim Shaver of the RCMP ... Written by
'Russian Roulette' is one of the plethora of Anglo-Canadian co-productions from the mid-seventies and probably the best. The Anglo contribution is mainly supporting parts (a typically seedy Denholm Elliott, an unconvincingly accented Nigel Stock, Gordon Jackson) and behind the camera, with centre-stage taken by George Segal's disgraced Mountie (plain clothes, thankfully) caught up in a plot to assassinate the Russian premier during a visit to Canada.
The plot ticks along nicely enough but it's the quirky touches along the way that really stand out, with memorable little character moments putting a memorable spin on the conventional scenes we've seen in this kind of film a thousand times before (a tour guide reading her badly memorised shtick to Segal's sole cable car passenger, Segal accidentally killing a crook who's just about to spill the beans, Denholm Elliott stealing papers and putting his drinks on other people's tabs, a sweet little old lady having trouble memorising a message about the KGB). Directed by Peckinpah and Robert Altman's legendary editor Lou Lombardo, who was apparently as high as a kite throughout filming and only directed one more film (the finale was apparently largely the work of an uncredited Anthony Squire), it's a neat little movie rather than a great one, but that's more than enough here. But it's hard to guess what attracted then recent Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher to a bit-part as a telephone operator.
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