Movie is based on the same-titled novel by Viktor Dotsenko.
But on the contrary to a novel, film contains no such number of sex scenes, so frequent in the novel (in the novel, '30th' womanizing every female character, he met on the way, and all those affairs are described to the smallest detail). Despite, its been shoot shortly after 'Glasnost' bursted out, and sexploitation on the screen was widespread and encouraged. Vast majority of initiated audience (mostly VDV and Spetsnaz servicemen) considered that movie is quiet more interesting and related to reality. Like one of them said: "Typical soviet action for mid 1990th". That's cause Dotsenko, who is Director as well, has invited very qualified military consultants. By the way, actor Igor Livanov (the '30th') served active duty in Soviet marine troops, and in his time he was well-experienced in martial arts as well. Dotsenko himself make a cameo appearance in one of the episodes, playing a cargo barge captain (you can easily identify him by the distinctive tobacco pipe he use to smoke).
The Plot is a one big Conspiracy theory about some infernal group, which trying to force their way to the supreme power in the mess of 'Perestroika'. And it's totally unclear: "Who is who?" in this situation. So, don't be surprised if you will barely comprehend what's going on the screen during the viewing.
For your better understanding, here is a main protagonist's points of biography: Sergei (the '30th') was brought up in an orphanage, VDV and Spetsnaz Sergeant, martial arts sensei's best trainee, Afghan vet, after being retired he was convicted for a crime he didn't commit, became a prisoner, then a fugitive from justice, later considered not guilty, back in the Afghan, MIA, POW, during his escape he came into a copter crash, badly wounded and healed by some pakistani Zoroastrian sect which later initiated him as adept. And by the time depicted in the beginning, he's just a lonely drifter in some oriental country. His sidekick Cpt. Voronov (or '11th') is his only relative - they grew up together in the orphanage.
Complicated tangle, eh? And there is no wonder that KGB, Russian mob and Mujahideen wants him dead or alive. Finally he came back in the USSR, but now it's not the same Country he had left a years ago. New trends, new ideas, new liberties are in the air. All other you can see, viewing the movie.
Dotsenko released more than twenty novels with- or about a '30th', a.k.a. "Rex" ("Mad", "Beast"). Only two of them were pictured: This one and its predecessor "Po prozvishchu 'Zver'" ("His Nickname Is 'Beast'"), an entirely criminal action without regard to the army period of life of main protagonist.
You can read competent opinion (one of the film consultants reveals some details there) about movie, novel and author (in Russian):