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A subpar movie by Hollywood standards but powerful for Russian cinema
One could view this movie in several different ways: Russia's cry for its lost position of superpower, a rise of a superhero that takes care of evil forces and someone who Russian younglings can finally relate to, or simply as an entertaining action movie about mafia. The last one appeals to me most of all. Despite a fair amount of xenophobia in the movie, it is still nothing but a typical, at times subpar, superhero tale that has been recreated many times by Hollywood studios. In Hollywood, this movie would be nothing special, but since it's produced by Russian cinema it is put on a pedestal by Russian viewers who are not yet used to great films produced by their country. Xenophobic comments like "kirdyk Amerike" aimed towards a guy who is not even American, but clearly non-English speaking European adds up to non-significance of whatever is supposed to be symbolic in this movie. On the contrary, the music in this movie, performed by Russian cult band Nautilus Pompilius, deserves the highest notes, it's simply awesome. 'Brat 2' is next on my list, I heard it's better than the first one.
Van Helsing (2004)
Silly fairy tale with too many special effects
I thought this movie was a bit too stupid. It's just not my taste... I only went because my wife likes this kind of movies. And, my God, what did they do to Kate Beckinsale?? In Serendipity she was such a sweet girl, and here she looked like a baywatch babe wearing a corsette and 15 layers of makeup. The way she was doing that accent was horrible: i guess it's not her fault, it just doesn't suit her. In general, her persona would fit better for romantic flicks or even serious dramas, but not for a$$-kicking dominatrix type roles. If not for Hugh Jackman, this movie would be absolutely and utterly pitiful, but he saved it just by his presence. Hope KB doesn't wind up doing this kind of movies permanently.