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Russia 88 (2009)
Sometimes Ignorance is NOT a bless
This movie already made a small history by getting banned in Russia. Of course the meaning of "banned" is not the same as it was before, there is no prosecution of the filmmakers nor burning the negatives. It's just not allowed to get screenings in theaters and will not be screened on TV as well, but people will be able to buy it in video stores.
The film is a mockumentary about Nazi underground movement in Russia, the skinheads. You know, fascist swastika, quotes from Mein Kampf, Nazi salutes, hunting and beating "others" on the streets, training camps in the forest, lots of cursing, the usual. The story is told through the video camera, filming "real" people and events, and following group of young working class punks in Moscow in their racist and violent life.
All of it was staged, but the documentary quality of the film successfully creates unpleasant sensation and involves the viewer in the watching experience. And it is very disturbing, some scenes are truly stunning in their rough and gritty feeling. Of course, you can't hold feature film without some kind of a plot, without protagonist and some kitchen sink drama. So it is there as well, but dramatic subplot is really the weakest part of the film, resulting in ridiculous and over dramatic ending, spoiling the overall impression. I guess lack of experience of the director is to blame in that case
I won't be surprised if some film critic will write a big academic article or a book, analyzing the political, cultural and cinematic sides of Russia 88. It is possible to write many pages, reviewing this film from all angles, and there are many things to discuss about this film. Recommended, but don't expect too much.
Kung Fu Disaster
Despite positive reviews and screenings at the international festivals, this movie is not for everyone.
The story is very similar to other movies, in which a teenage girl from the family of immigrants needs to overcome many common personal problems of her age, and also to struggle against the pressure of ethnic traditions in her family. She does that by choosing some kind of sport, and with the help of a local boy, that for some reason falls in love with her, she confronts her problems and wins.
In Girlfight it's boxing, in Bend it like Beckham it's soccer, and now it's Kung Fu.
But Fighter is much inferior product than these two, it was simply embarrassing to watch it. Semra Turan, the "actress" that playing the role of a teenage girl, maybe can do a lot of things, but one thing she can't do is to act. Her presence on the screen is anemic and clumsy, the dramatic situations, in which she tries to show some emotions, are dreadful, her body and facial language are of amateur actress, badly instructed by the director. The rest of the cast is a little better, but they just cannot save this cliché movie with stereotypical characters and shallow plot. Besides a few relatively good moments this movie has nothing new or interesting to offer.
Even the kung fu fighting is not a reason to watch this, it's just so boring. The slow motion was really unnecessary, the choreography was basic and lacked the inspiration, and most of the kung fu scenes are just training or standing in all kind of kung fu positions, not actually fighting. Not to mention how ridiculous it looks when a small and skinny girl fights big and muscular boys, and knocks them off their feet.
The only reason this movie has been noticed at all is because it's European. It's very easy to publicize this movie - A first martial arts film from Denmark, but don't be fooled, it's not. It's just a drama about stupid teenage girl and her problems, which are, by the way, not really convincing.
Bad movie with embarrassing lines, acting and story.