Three American students vacationing in Finland, cross the border into Russia for fun of it. When they are spotted by the Russian soldiers who are shooting to kill, it's not fun anymore. ... See full summary »
Well, all kinds of things went wrong with this movie.
For starters, the opening sequence is awesome. One thing this movie really had was best camera crew ever. Everything feels very intense all the times, very close to the real war footage. Also, all the props, vehicles, uniforms, even explosions look very real. This is the good part.
The mediocre part is main story. It's a mix of Hotel Rwanda and Tears of the Sun, but feels like a bootleg version, a cheap knockoff of those.
And then there's the bad part. Just after awesome intro, you get "treated" with shots of Tbilisi, with landmarks, people smiling, and god forbid, trancey music in the background. It looked like a commercial for some travel agency, with only "Visit Georgia" message missing from the scene and was most tasteless thing I've ever seen in a film. I live in similar post-soviet country and I do understand the mentality in desperate desire to explain your culture to the world to get less looked as some remote hellhole, but this is outright tasteless and maybe Georgia hasn't come to this yet.
The script had generally no direction. Awesome war scene here, some corpses there, cameramen and photography director knew what to do... But director didn't. First, that simple shot with church and bloody river from 'Tears of the Sun' gives 10 times stronger emotion than whole pile of bodies shown in '5 days of August'. Even though latter tries sooo hard to portray Russians as savages.
Second, despite awesome camera and props, fighting had no point in this movie. You see soldiers shooting stuff and each other, but it's unclear why or what's their plan. I don't think any people who had any idea about how soldiers and military works were on the set. Mi-24 choppers shooting random buildings with rockets? And here I thought that every pilot is given orders and targets to waste expensive munitions on... Also, MI-24 sports a deadly cannon, but it's used only once, missing everything, and soldiers act as chopper had blind men for pilot and gunner, not taking cover. Tanks constantly missing targets and not using machine guns? Taking down a chopper with a single LAW rocket? SU-bombers taking down a restaurant residing in basically nowhere? This all felt very bizarre and pointless.
I could go on, but there's no need. Let's just say that this movie is very average, has some good moments, lots of unmemorable moments, and some outright stupid ones. So pick it up from bargain bin, but don't expect too much.
6 stars I give are for 2 reasons: Awesome camera work (it felt like live action at places) and the fact that despite being incredibly dumb, this movie IS entertaining... and that's good, even if it's for all wrong reasons.
...as for amount of propaganda, this movie is 100% okay, considering what comes from Moscow. Sure it's all bloated and overrated but this is how we rock in those former USSR satellite countries. Even 50 of such movies can't counter a single evening news show from random Russian TV-channel. For westerners, you just have to accept that rules are different, but watching all those Normandy landings in every Hollywood movie and video game, maybe not as much as you might think.
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