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|Index||35 reviews in total|
I was amused by American reviews of the "Brat-2".
Americans were taken by surprise: how dare those Russians to make a film that depicts Americans as evil gangsters? How dare Danila to shoot Americans? This is not politically correct! It was clearly assumed that Russians are always the bad guys, whose only role in any film is cannon fodder to be shot by American Rambo.
Now "Brat-2" arrives, uncovering the horrifying truth: the bad guys are Americans! And it is OK to shoot them.
After years of Hollywood films depicting Russians as bad asses (no single Hollywood film showing Russians at least from a neutral point of view), the Russian cinema finally strikes back.
This movie delivered a long-awaited entertainment for Russian viewers.
It also proved complete lack of sense of humor of American viewers.
I just watched Brat 2 after ordering a copy from a Russian video store in
New York and I was not disappointed.
I saw Brat on the International Channel a couple of months ago and was blown away. Ever since I've had been trying to hunt down a copy of Brat 2. While these films are not technically perfect they have a rough hewn charm that no longer exists in most American films. (The lone exception from last year being Spike Jones' Adapation.) Then there's Sergei Bodrov Jr. it is a damn shame that he died last year (along with his film crew in an avalanche) because he was a major talent. He is so damn watchable and the unrelenting honesty of the Danila character makes for a compelling anti-hero in the brother movies that reminds this viewer of the great days of early Brando and Paul Newman.
Once again I will remind people to look at the actual vote rating for this film and ignore the silly IMDB weighted total. (The weighted average seems to be based on the strength of the Top 1000 voters whoever they are - it is not however a true weighted average in a classic math sense.) This film may not be perfect but it is one hell of a ride.
I have read all comments and realised that not many western people got
the message from the film. Probably that was because film's poor
subtitles or translation and lack information or knowledge about real
life in Russia and post Soviet countries. Maybe following explanation
will help to clear couple of things.
Firstly Danila went to America not because of money but for revenge of his very close friend with whom he was in the army and was killed by Russian gangsters who misunderstood an order of their boss. Russian mobster was not killed because Danila liked his son.
Secondly film try to show that like in Russsia in America there are a lot of good and bad people and their nationality and race does not matter.
In my opinion Brat 2 is about life and life is different. You can not make opinion about people because of their nationality or race. In this film Danila speaks his mind and his opinion of other people is based on what they do not on what he thinks about or what other people think about them. If people are bastards he will treat them in the way appropriate way if not he will treat them as well in the appropriate way. This film is not about bad Americans and good Russians it is about life.
In my opinion, one has to live through the times depicted in this movie
to truly appreciate it. If you think this movie was cheap,
anti-American and racist, you missed the point. It would be like
calling "The Godfather" racist and sexist. Brat 2 does a great job in
giving an idea of what life is like in Russia and for russians in
post-soviet world. It is a world of great uncertainty. A system that
just fell apart with everyone in it left to their own devices. In many
ways, Brat 2 is an inspiration and Danila is the hero or the bright
light that captivates viewers by his humble demeanor and his good
The beauty of the movie is that Danila is not played by Arnold, Vin Diesel or Tom Cruise. He looks like an average Russian and that is what makes it real. His military training is not about ripped muscles or fancy acrobatic moves. It is about working in real situations with low resources and odds stacked up against him. His personality is real and he is easy to relate to. He is a simple guy and he believes in good, something that many people lost their faith in.
America is definitely portrayed from Danila's eyes. It is not an attempt to portray the way America really is, but rather how it really looks to a Russian that just came to this country. In addition most of the movie involves russians in America.
In terms of ideologic statements, I don't think this movie tries to convey a message that Russians are about truth and Americans are about money. I think it leaves things the way they are that there are russians who believe in truth and Americans that prefer money, but i think there are enough of bad russians and good Americans in the movie...
Anyways, highly recommend the movie, thumbs up.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
POSSIBLE SPOILER INFO BELOW
This film has a simple plot - although, in my opinion, it is not a plot oriented movie. Danila and his friends have returned to civilian life after a tour of duty in Chechnya.
Danila, after an excursion in Saint Petersburg (watch the original film "Brat" for more info), travels to Moscow, where this movie begins. Danila's army buddy's twin brother (and professional hockey player in the U.S.) is having problems with the Ukranian/American mafia in Chicago. Danila's friend is killed for having requested an influential Russian "banker" to intervene on American brother's behalf.
This leads Danila to travel to the U.S. to help solve the hockey star's mafia-related financial problems. There are essentially two phases to this film: the preparation to go to America (which occurs in Moscow) and carrying out the business in the states (mainly NY and Chicago).
I enjoy this movie immensely, but I can see how it is not for everyone. I was living in Moscow at the time this movie came out - I saw a matinée at the Pushkinsky theater in the center of Moscow. While many of my Russian friends consider this movie to be extremely low-brow, I still can't put my finger on what I like about it so much. Danila and his brother are great characters. Like I saw another reviewer write, Danila cares about others' lives more than his own. I think there are brilliant shots of Moscow and many are picturesque. I recognized most of the locations in the movie, including the inside of Sanduni banya (located behind TSUM) where Danila and his friends party with some pretty ladies. The soundtrack is great - I even bought it on CD (although some of my more hip Russian friends refer to it as "otstoy" or "lame"). Generally, the film is action-packed, funny at times, nostalgic, and one of the more commercialized Russian movies that I know of.
If you have some connection to Moscow and enjoy gangster-type movies, you will probably like this film.
I have seen several critiques of this film, some of which are valid. However, I haven't seen a criticism that overwhelms this movie's appeal.
Brat 2 is a nationalistic movie, but not in a bad way. The basic message is that life in Russia is NOT really worse than the un-realized American Dream that many Russian immigrants experience.
Although I read many reviews that deemed this movie "racist," I haven't seen a single reason presented. I'm sure some viewers from Los Angeles cannot comprehend that Danila's use of the Russian term "negr" is not to be confused with the extremely offensive English "n word." In Russian, "negr" is the appropriate and non-offensive way to refer to a black person - although it is very harsh on American ears.
In response to Danila's statement to the police, an American (non-Russian speaking) cop hears Danila use the word "negr." The cop confuses this statement as being racist and uses it to segway into a truly racist comment of his own. Just because a character makes a racist comment in a film does not mean that a movie's message is racist. This is a critique of race relations in the U.S., not a reason that this film is "racist."
The soundtrack is cool. I like most of the music on it, which includes some commercially successful Russian groups like: B2, Zemfira, and Krematory.
My only real criticism of Brat 2 is that many of the Americans are either portrayed as evil or stupid. This is most likely in direct response to how Russians are repeatedly portrayed in American cinema - either as gangsters or stupid (Yakhov Smirnov-esquire characters).
Overall, this film has a very positive message - one of loyalty, anti-materialism, honesty, and friendship. How is that negative?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the sequel to Balabonov's Russian blockbuster Brat, or Brother
for our English speaking fans. It is a different movie, a little bigger
in scope, but the formula stays the same.
Danila returns this time to take on Moscow. After his friend is killed needlessly, events take him to America to make things right. I really liked this film too. The thing that differentiates Brat and Brat II from a typical film is that it is real, you can feel it. Balabanov shows a talent here for screenplay that has no false pretenses, the same as he did in the first film.
Is America all about money and Russia all about Truth? In the best sense, yes. Seeing America through Balabonov's eyes is an nice reminder of where popular American values stand. Danila asks, "What is in English 'How are you?' Answer: "How are you?" "What, is everyone interested in how I am?" "No." "Then why do they ask?" "Just like that. In America everything is just like that, except for money." Isn't this ze truth?
There is something intangible that makes Brat and Brat II magical. It very well maybe that you have to be Russian to understand it. The Russian and intelligent viewers will understand, also, that Danila comes back from a war. I don't know why it is written that he saw no action, but as usual, when a soldier comes back from war, they have seen men killed as a matter of course and have likely killed people themselves. This fact, along with the economic situation in Russia at the time would seem to mitigate somewhat Danila's propensity for killing. The fact that he is such a calm soul while murdering people left and right, ironically, also ads to his charisma. I am reminded when Margarita in Bulgakov's classic says, "I like it when someone does things well."
All in all, it is uncanny how a story of a killer taps into the best of our emotions. Maybe it's the elliptical style, maybe it is the heartfelt motive, but more than not, I think, it's Sergei Bodrov.
"BRAT 2" is the best movie since "BRAT". I loved it. May be it looked like a fairy tale as One-man gang destroyed whole Mafia. But it was MAD. I've seen this movie may be 50 times and everytime I turn it On I still wanna see it again. I hope they gonna make part three, because it didn't look that Danila's adventure is over. If you haven't seen it go and see it ! Best movie on the market - Kick ass any Hollywood big budget movie. :o)
This film is not a spook for Americans. Don't worry, America isn't going to be flooded by Russian gunmen. Russian girls who have emigrated to the U.S. will also stay there. Afro-Americans can also live peacefully, God bless them. This film reflects the present-day mood in Russia. When the euphoria caused by the openness of the country of great possibilities vanished, everything settles. That's why the song "The Farewell Letter" (Good-bye, America) which was written more than 10 years ago turned out to be prophetic. It expresses the main idea of the film. At last Russia has produced an action movie which can compete with western thrillers, the only hitch is Russia has its own idea of the good and the evil. That's why "we are not gangsters, we are Russians." One really hopes that some traditional Russian moral values still stand. Some can find the film low-brow, some can find it patriotic. It's for you to judge.
I thought that this film gave off a somewhat one-sided look of Americans. And while that is probably no surprise, what got me was the constant examples of how we were portrayed. From the beginning, we're labeled as conniving swindlers who are just out to cheat people any way we can. From there we are given examples of pimps who seem to rely on foul language (however Americans do have some extremely colorful metaphors), prostitutes, crooked cops and truckers who are more goofy than anything. I liked the film, I enjoyed the plot and the action, and thought that overall, the movie was solid. It just nagged at me the way we were made to look. That's the filmmakers discretion, I know, but I just wanted a chance to say it.
Near the end of 90s Russian cinema market was full of cheap
gangster-related action movies. And, of course, there were comedy films
- laughing at different kinds of fraud. People were buying it, because
of the similarity of situations depicted to the real life. Economy
collapse of 1990s in Russia when criminals were ruling everything
played it's role. Even the original "Brat" was influenced by these
ideas - to depict how artificial this life of "raw power" was. Today
you are great and in power but tomorrow you're dead and no one
remembers about you.
Brat 2 appeared in 2000, when everything in Russia started to change. And this film is a milestone declaring the change in Russian cinematography. Raw violence was utilized to show that it isn't an ultimate power.
You may say that Danila uses violence to prevail as well. But the following monologue show the main idea of the whole film: - Say me, American, what the power is? Money? My brother says that as well. But TRUTH is the power. You may steal from someone or lie, but that other person will have the truth behind him. And that's why he is stronger.
Raw power is nothing when it's used against the TRUTH. To get money or recognition. There always would be something taking the offender down.
The secondary value of this work is to respond to immigration problem of 80s-90s when "Iron curtain" broke down. Life abroad is not that good. African American ghetto gangsta, Ukrainian mafia of Chicago - that was of course a hyperbole showing to Russians that it isn't good to run from their problems to other country either. That's why so many Russians value this film so much. It was the first film in decade with such big patriotic value.
So, summing up, the film was fit for its time. In fact, that's why I'm watching it once again and again - to relive all my emotions of 90s. That is one of the few modern films that I'm willing to show to my future children along with classics of 60s/70s.
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