By Erik Gruenwedel | Posted: 14 Mar 2009
Rated ‘R’ for language, some violence and brief nudity.
Stars Norman Reedus, Slava Schoot, Konstantin Yushkevich, Xusha Buravsky.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the ruse of egalitarian communism has given way to unbridled greed and corruption within the former Soviet states for control of oil, natural gas, military and financial and commercial concerns.
Enter American computer hacker Ray Perso (Norman Reedus), who despises sleazy trans-nationals, global terrorists and banks. In short, he’s a wannabe Robin Hood who believes that anybody who is part of the conspiracy to destroy the individual should be “blown open and cold-busted.”
This apparently includes New York ATMs Perso hacks into, turning them into cash-spewing spigots for the masses.
While in prison for said crimes, Perso is sprung by cliché Russian mobsters (complete with free-flowing vodka and cigarettes) and put on an American military transport to Moscow.
Their boss is an imprisoned business tycoon (Vladimir Kuleshov) who wants $40 million he claims was stolen from him. Perso naively agrees to help redirect the funds electronically from Swiss accounts, believing the tycoon (who also happens to know his deceased mother) was a victim of the “system.”
The mob, specifically quirky henchmen Vasya (Konstantin Yushkevich) and Dolphin (Slava Schoot), however, has separate plans, which include violence, murder and liberal doses of black humor.
An engaging soundtrack of techno, hip-hop and rock backs this 2007 effort from first-time American writer-director Chris Solimine that offers a raw glimpse into contemporary Russia (and prisons) not often seen in movies.
The DVD’s bonus material includes a bio on Reedus, who was once a motorcycle mechanic in Los Angeles and Prada model.
Oddly, select scenes in the film for extended periods are in Russian with no English subtitles. The movie contains Spanish subtitles and could have used English captioning as well.