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  Iron Fury Let Us Give Tanks
Year: 2018
Director: Aleksey Sidorov
Stars: Alexander Petrov, Irina Starshenbaum, Viktor Dobronravov, Vinzenz Kiefer, Yuriy Borisov, Anton Bogdanov, Artur Sopelnik, Semyon Treskunov, Guram Bablishvili, Danila Rassomakhin, Joshua Grothe, Dirc Simpson, Wolfgang Cerny, Artyom Bystrov
Genre: Action, War, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1944, and in the Soviet Union the Nazis have invaded and are attempting to take over, but have not counted on the ingenuity of the Russian forces which, despite fewer resources to work with, are managing to fend them off now winter has arrived. In one region where the German Panzer tanks are laying waste to the countryside and the population alike, a Russian tank command have just one of their vehicles left, but it will be piloted by Lt Nikolay Ivushkin (Alexander Petrov), a plucky young officer who has recently proven his worth by escaping from German missile fire. This final tank is pressed into service with little hope of the four-man crew surviving - or is there? Ivushkin is a lot more resourceful than anyone gives him credit for, enemy and ally alike...

There is a long tradition of Russian films about World War II, a victory over the Nazis that was frequently referred to for propaganda purposes in the Soviet Union to buoy the national mood, saying if you can beat them, you can beat anyone, that sort of thing. But with the war and the resulting Cold War long over, was there any place for this type of nationalistic entertainment in Russia? You had better believe it, and Iron Fury, or T-34 as it was originally called (named after a Soviet tank) was a sizeable success there, quickly gaining the reputation as "The Fast and the Furious with tanks" (as appeared on all the publicity). It was certainly as ridiculous as that franchise, especially its latter entries, and there was a comradeship element comparable to the "family" stuff.

But in its opening act, it was more akin to David Ayer's Brad Pitt collaboration Fury, as the plucky little T-34 goes up against a group of Panzers in a deserted village and trounces them in rather difficult to believe circumstances, the fantasy element not allayed by the frequent resorting to computer graphics for the abundant action setpieces. Presumably this lack of realism was down to two things: they wanted to emulate the Hollywood action model, and that was not known for its faith to authenticity, and also, well, the target audience who liked to follow stars like Petrov were not too bothered that this was utterly fanciful. As long as they were supplied with their adventure yarn, that was sufficient, and anybody quibbling with how farfetched and unhistorical it was, was merely a stick-in-the-mud with no sense of fun (or patriotism, if Russian).

Who needed killjoys pointing out there was no way the Nazis would use concentration camp prisoners to train their soldiers, anyway? If you were that kind of person, then this would not be the film for you, but if you liked your war movies less concerned with the utter horror of it all - this was assuredly not Come and See - and more happy to supply a romp through the trappings of the conflict, more Kelly's Heroes than Schindler's List, then you would find Iron Fury perfectly enjoyable and diverting. Sure, it was another film based in military matters that acted as a promotion of the armed forces, and they were prevalent across the globe, not just Russia (or the U.S.A. or China, for that matter), but try not to take it too seriously and you would get along with its hyperbole. One drawback perhaps was that it offered a false impression of the war, since the Russians won more because of the sheer weight of numbers willing to, frankly, die rather than live (though living was preferable), but you'd likely let them have this one.

[Altitude's DVD has no extras, and the soundtrack features dubbing with American accents for the Russians and German with subtitles for the Nazis.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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