Oleg Taktarov delivers powerhouse performance in "Montana."
Oleg Taktarov, the powerful actor of "15 Minutes," "We Own the Night," and "Righteous Kill," packs heart, soul and talent for the journeys within "Montana," a new movie about cultural clashes overcome by acts of compassion. Taktarov plays Nikolai, a Russian hit-man who escapes from his adversaries into the streets of Los Angeles. He is taken into the household of Lesley and her son Johnny. In exchange for refuge, Nikolai repairs the single mother's decaying house and symbolically mends fences between everyday people of Russia and the U.S.
When enemies get too close to his new home, Nikolai makes his escape to Montana. The American West that mesmerized Nikolai as a child proves to be an empty emotional landscape. Nikolai returns to Los Angeles and finds his adopted American family under siege by the mob. Nikolai's revenge, as enacted by Taktarov and the excellent supporting cast, caps a compelling domestic drama with unrelenting action. Only a screen hero of Oleg Taktarov's stature and international reputation, as both a UFC champion and accomplished actor, could enable "Montana" to succeed on so many levels: personal drama, crime adventure, and a plea for understanding.
Nikolai is a searcher who wants to retreat into a new, textured life. Taktarov delivers a performance that elevates the movie above another mob potboiler. The film's poster shows Taktarov's face broken into pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. It is a suitable image for an actor who reveals the muscle and soulful complexity that will appeal to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Oleg Taktarov, the Russian actor who charmed audiences with his humor in "National Treasure," has become an international treasure. "Montana" is an effective showcase for his vast range of talents and appeal as a leading actor.
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