Vampire Owl: It is a shame that vampires don’t have the ranks of major.
Vampire Bat: We do have titles like vampire-at-arms and master vampire.
Vampire Owl: They seem to be a little too much limited in scope.
Vampire Bat: Scope is what Uncle Dracula talks about it.
Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula is no longer interested in matters of war.
Vampire Bat: He is not against the peace which prevails among vampires, werewolves and zombies of all realms.
Vampire Owl: He is too old for another war, just like the vampire elders.
Vampire Bat: The wars are led by vampires-at-arms and master vampires.
Vampire Owl: But there is always one Uncle Dracula banner in the front side.
Vampire Bat: The limitations of not having a new banner designer. Nothing more.
[Gets a masala dosa and three cups of iced tea].
What is the movie about? :: Major Igor Grom (Tikhon Zhiznevsky) is chasing three bank robbers dressed like clowns, supposed to look like hockey players from a popular Soviet cartoon. He manages to catch them, but at the same time, causes a lot of damage to public property. Colonel General Fedor Prokopenko (Aleksei Maklakov), Igor Grom’s boss and head of the Saint Petersburg Police doesn’t like what has happened in the streets, causing ten million of currency to be lost, putting the blame on the police department. He doesn’t like the fact that Grom is not wearing police uniform and not having any police equipment. He asks Grom to quit, but tears apart the resignation himself, as he feels the need for his presence in the police department. It is then that the trial of Kirill Grechkin (Yuri Nasonov), the son of a billionaire, takes place, and he is accused of a hit-and-run incident under the influence of alcohol. Kirill, despite being apprehended with proof by Grom himself, feels that he won’t be convicted.
So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Aleksei Lyosha Makarov (Oleg Chugunov), a boy from the same orphanage where the girl who was hit by Kirill lived, feels that the court is corrupt, and is against the common man. He is extremely disappointed, and is also supposed to have disappeared somewhere after the verdict acquits the rich boy. IT millionaire Sergei Razumovsky (Sergei Goroshko), who is the founder of a new social network Vmeste, and his friend Oleg Volkov (Dmitry Chebotaryov), who grew up in the same orphanage as the murdered girl, are not happy with the court’s decision. A masked man attacks and burns Kirill Grechkin, whose car is also destroyed completely. With flame throwers, armour and great skills in combat in possession of the killer, Grom is not able to catch him. Lyosha is taken by the police for the murder, but Grom tells everyone about the incidents of last night, which the police dismisses. He investigates on the case, but it seems that almost everyone wanted the boy to be dead, as he was such a nuisance.
And what more is added to the tale as something strange is coming up? :: Yulia Pchyolkina (Lyubov Aksyonova), a blogger and journalist also wanted a role in the investigation. Later, Oleg comes to Razumovsky and confesses the truth that he is the man on the streets with the flamethrower. Razumovsky is upset by this, but doesn’t want to turn his friend in to the authorities. It is then that videos of a strange man known as Plague Doctor appear on the internet. He wears a mask and a combat suit, and has bombs and flamethrowers – he promises to clean the city and take it out of all the criminal mess. Olga Isaeva (Anna Nevskaya), head of RosGarantBank is the next victim of the Plague Doctor, as she is accused of taking away the money of the poor. There seems to be a war on the rich and influential, called on by the Plague Doctor, while Lyosha is released. The newly formed vigilante is now considered as a hero by many people, who don’t want him to be caught. What does this change do to the law and order situation in the city?
The defence of Major Grom :: The movie does have a hero played well by Tikhon Zhiznevsky, and Sergei Goroshko makes a fine antagonist. Lyubov Aksyonova plays the lead well too. The film can also boast about its stunning visuals, which is interesting in more than one way. There is the feeling of quality here, which is maintained at all times. The beautiful world of Saint Petersburg is a boost, and we do get some fine action sequences around here, with the strong antagonist who seems to be better than the most. The protagonist here is not a Batman, Thor, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Spider-Man – kind of hero, as he has no specific superpowers or a lot of money, except for the fact that he is strong and surely has an expertise in fighting. The film focuses on his strengths and moves forward well. Even for a seemingly superhero movie, it does stay close to reality, and keeps the hero somewhat flawed too. There is also the presence of some humour which works, and keeps the pace quick at all times.
Positives and negatives :: The movie basically follows the usual plot, and that too, without trying too hard. It is not really different from the usual superhero movies, with a villain having a grand motive, and also having those psychological problems, but talks about being ideologically superior. The choice of the villain’s costume is interesting as well symbolic, as he intends to take away the plague in the form of a few people, from the city, striking as the Plague Doctor providing treatment. It is no surprise that movie makers outside Hollywood are making some fine superhero films these days, for the cultural difference is contributing very nicely to making these flicks more interesting than seeing something which we have seen for a very long time. Yet, there is always more that these kind of movies can do, with creative imagination that can go beyond some comics, suiting the age. A superhero can be built differently, and transformed as much as a creative thinker can – something which would make the admirers of the genre proud. After all, you are never really far away from finding the perfect superhero.
How it finishes :: Here is another interesting heroic adventure of our times, based on another comics. For a change, we do have the superhero policeman, and not the common man who takes the law into one’s hands, mostly due to circumstances. Well, we require our superheroes in all forms, even without the superpowers – defeating what seems to be a supervillain is surely what matters the most. It does remind us of those other superhero movies, but with its setting, as well as with the choice of cast, it does stand apart. There are not many superheroes who can get a strong villain like this one, and therefore, just like Minnal Murali, this one powers up well enough. In a world populated by humans who have been degrading further into their evil ways, the requirement of a superhero seems to be understood better these days, along with the understanding that one can never have such a hero in reality. With the same, the movie does provide some good escapism, even though it is still close to reality than most superhero works.
Release date: 5th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Oleg Trofim
Starring: Tikhon Zhiznevsky, Lyubov Aksyonova, Aleksei Maklakov, Aleksandr Seteykin, Sergei Goroshko, Dmitry Chebotaryov, Mikhail Evlanov, Oleg Chugunov
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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.