Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on May 6th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Russia, April 24th 2009
Director: Anders Banke
Writers: Hing-Ka Chan (screenplay), Tin-Shing Yip (screenplay), Sam Klebanov (screenplay), Aleksandr Lungin (screenplay)
Cast: Andrey Merzlikin, Yevgeni Tsyganov, Mariya Mashkova, Sergey Garmash, Maksim Konovalov, Aleksei Frandetti, Pavel Klimov.
DVD released: May, 3rd, 2010
Approximate running time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Russian 5.1 & 2.0
DVD Release: Showbox Home Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 2 UK (PAL)
Retail Price: £17.99
The Moscow police bungle the arrest of a brutal gang of armed robbers leading to a lengthy firefight that spills out onto the streets and causes multiple civilian and police casualties. Caught on film by a news-team covering a minor traffic incident the entire mess is shown live on TV and the authorities are made to look like incompetent fools and cowards. The police command look to their PR specialist, Katya (Mariya Mashkova), to help restore public support and faith in the force, her proposal; kit out the police with individual helmet-cams and broadcast the subsequent tracking and capture of the armed robbers as a live reality TV show.
The villains by this point have holed themselves up on the 12th floor of a crowded apartment complex and taken hostages. When they realize what the police are up to they respond by posting videos on the internet and trying to sway public opinion in their own direction. Meanwhile detective Smirnov (Andre Merzlikin) and his team, who were involved in the original bungled arrest, are out for revenge and are going in against orders.
A Russian remake of Johnnie To’s Breaking News from 2004. The thrilling editing, cinematography and gunfight choreography of that cult Hong Kong actioner is unfortunately not recreated here, instead we are presented a somewhat inert action film in which the actual (workmanlike) shootouts are few and far between. In the interim we have to put up with a heavy handed political agenda that’s way past it’s sell by date and TV-movie level melodrama and acting. All the main players are cardboard cutouts, none more so than PR woman Katya in her slit skirt and heels callously looking for the money shot in amongst human death and destruction. It also doesn’t help that the story bounces frequently from one conflicting point of view to another.
Apparently a US remake is on the way as well, we can only hope they take note of the errors made here!
Anamorphic transfer looks very good. 5.1 track is well balanced, clean and clear. Extras are an original theatrical trailer and six trailers for other, primarily Asian action-oriented, Showbox Home Entertainment releases.