Back in the U.S.S.R. (1992) Poster

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Preposterous but entertaining, light thriller
allen214-318 January 2002
On his last day on vacation in Moscow, a young American's (Frank Whaley) attempts to get laid are sidetracked by a search for a stolen icon with the most preposterous set of plot twists imaginable. Worth watching (perhaps) as the first U.S. production to be filmed entirely in Russia, and much of the visual tour of Moscow is very impressive. Also, many of the performances by the Russian cast, especially co-star Natalya Negoda, are excellent. The film is fast moving, and the motivation and twists, especially the premise, are so ridiculous that one doesn't need to stop and wonder if they're believable -- they quite obviously aren't. Painless to watch if you're not too demanding.
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A great flick for those - familiar with the scene
exciter-29 May 2006
I can sort of understand the confusion of anyone watching that film who is not familiar with the era and the subject matter. For those - movie makes no sense whatsoever making. Causing annoyance for the time wasted. One of the reasons (and there are few) I have totally loved the movie is that it hits the spot. It depicts something that is no longer there. The grotesques are right on the money. From the trashy metal band (that is surprisingly still around with the same stupid look sporting lack of personal hygiene) to stupid dance moves and overblown interest of some local youths to all things American. Polansky was awesome BTW. So if you are born in the sixties and ever been to the USSR in the eighties - there is a very good chance you will love that movie.
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Sloppy Movie, but Polanski's presence redeems it.
iF....25 March 2000
While on a Russian tour, Archer; a young American tourist's experience takes an unexpected turn when he meets a mysterious woman named Lena. She has accidentally stolen a priceless work of art, and as events spin out of control Archer finds himself without a passport, accused of murder, hunted by the police, and pursued by a ruthless smuggler.

The main reason I saw this movie was to see Roman Polanski's performance as an actor. He was great in The Fearless Vampire Killers, The Tenant, and A Pure Formality. Like in A Generation, Polanski has a small role in this movie as well; nevertheless he proves he is a very talented yet overlooked thespian. As for the movie itself it's rather poor. It has the elements of making this a good thriller but the director aims for the Hollywood approach and it simply doesn't work. The use of young actors was a mistake in my opinion, if the protagonists would have been a little older the style of the film might have been more mature and we might have gotten a completely different movie. Instead we get a ridiculous film that doesn't really have any substance at all, and proper organization. The film leaves a great deal of questions unanswered; I can't even begin to explain how many holes were left uncovered. Basically it's just a sloppy movie. The only reason to see this is for Polanski. If he wasn't in it, trust me I would never have seen this movie.
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Lucky bastard ! (web)
leplatypus28 September 2016
So this cool Whaley guy has young Jenny as partner in 1991 and the next year, he goes to Moscow to shoot with Natalya, the best Russian actress ever! I would be him i would consider my career as a winning one just for those 2 productions! Sure this movie may not have the best story for a thriller but it has the unique opportunity to have been shot entirely on Moscow and just after the collapse of CCCP! So every single minute of it is worthy the watching because you really discover a totally different country : streets, buildings, homes, fashion, everything is familiar but strange… How many American movies can offer you so much new stuff ?? As for Natalya, she was totally great : dynamic, smiling, careful and full of life ! So at the end, it may not be the movie of the century but i rank it among my best because we don't see anymore like this today, especially as Natalya nearly stops doing movies after…
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Really back there in the CCCP
marciserentant5 November 2017
Why is everybody describing this movie as a thriller ? It isn't at all , this is a comedy and a rather good one. I really loved it. If you ever have been there at that time (1992) you will recognize it. And mostly visitors of Russio in general love it of they never will go back. Beside this I loved the camera-work, careful lightning and the vivid editing of the film. The difficult language exercise is acceptable realized and for the music : the Russian version of the Beatle-song Back in the USSR was as an extra for me with a good cup of coffee. I can see that movie again and again. It will never get an Oscar or whatever other price, but it should have some for his smooth entertaining character with a little bit spirit for the connoisseurs. Comedy's are not my cup of tea, but this one has stolen my heart.
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How do you spell 'garbage' in Cyrillic?
Michael Neumann6 November 2010
Nothing works in this absolutely witless teen fantasy, a lame Hitchcock rip-off about a stolen Russian icon and the plucky young American tourist who has to find it, pursued all the while by Soviet cops, Mafia killers, American embassy stooges, the Russian Orthodox Church, evil art dealers, assorted black marketeers (including a presumably desperate Roman Polanski), and the lovely Natalya Negoda, doing a somewhat sanitized variation of her delinquent character role from 'Little Vera'. Why travel all the way to Russia to make such a bone-headed, embarrassing movie, when even the local actors are so unconvincing? The answer is obvious: the film looks as if it was produced by the Moscow Tourist Council, with the full support of a government anxious for western currency, and eager to cash in on the promotional value of a slick, action-packed comedy caper filmed in their backyard. Ship this one to a distant Gulag.
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actionless action film
goya-428 August 2000
Back in the ussr is a confusing film without much going for it except the gorgeous natalya negoda.. who barely makes it watchable.. besides her it is a nonsensical film without any real coherent plot or good acting.. on a scale of one to ten ..a 3
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Never visit a communist country
helpless_dancer29 January 2004
Nothing special but a fairly entertaining movie. Several Ruskie groups want a valuable artifact they believe a innocent tourist has, and will stop at nothing to get it, thus making life miserable for the flabbergasted visitor. Whaley was good as the continually upset tourist; seems like he is always playing the sniveling wimp who blows his top only to immediately begin apologizing.
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Not the real Moscow...
JohnnyCNote9 February 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Having spent some time in Moscow as an exchange student, and being very fluent in the language, I was interested in "Back in the USSR" even if it was already "Russia" by the time it was released. It was pretty lame, despite the appearance of Roman Polanski. Just in case anyone didn't already know, the old car (a ZIM) that the one guy drove is very rare it's extremely unlikely someone like him would have one.

It would have helped if the director could have learned a little Russian. There's one scene where Whaley runs down the street beneath a very prominent sign saying "Tualet" - toilet.

This is a possible spoiler, so beware:

After been shot in the hand by Polanski, Whaley acts as if it's nothing by the end of the movie, despite the lack of any real medical attention. Oh well, I'm always looking for details like that...
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Ish !!
WordtwisterMN20 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the reviews, and the low rating, so I decided not to record this movie while away from work. Surprisingly released for the holidays at an early hour, I turned the movie on when I arrived home. Somewhere in the movie I began at a club scene...the people in the club were dancing like I've never seen anyone dance. Their clothing and hair so fake. It was like watching a Cyndi Lauper video..but worse. The guy from the USA tells some Russians he's from Chicago..and they say Chicagay. Now we know Russians can pronounce their O's. So the guy hits the dance floor bopping up and down like a cork hit by a large bream, and this Russian gal just grabs him by the arm and they hook up instantly. All the while every one in the club is just having the best time of their life..all talking, all dancing..there are no wall-flowers!

It's so bad..As I sit typing this, and watching what supposedly are "punkers" who have more makeup than Marilyn Manson on halloween, I feel the need to continue my leaning towards a 2nd beer. This is the worst set, worst acting, worst clothing, that I have ever seen in 10 minutes of cinema. Horrid horrid stuff.
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