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The Guardians

Russia Enters The Superhero Market, Stage Left

30th August 2017

We know that it can be difficult, in the best of markets, to bring a new band of superheros to the big screen. Even with graphic novel status, they don’t always receive the best of receptions. So, kudos to Russia for giving The Guardians a go.

August Kuratov, Stanislav Shirin (Vse o muzhchinakh), was one of the founding scientists from the Patriot program, where, in response to reports that Germany and the US are creating superhumans, leader Stalin orders the same.

Things went wrong and these ‘Patriots’ went into hiding, but years later Kuratov emerges, himself a superhuman (looking not that dissimilar to Sloth from The Goonies) hell bent on taking over the world.

In response, Major Elena Larina, the impossibly beautiful Valeriya Shkirando (Batalon, All That Jam), is tasked with rounding up the subjects from the Patriot program to take down Kuratov.

These Guardians are: Kseniya, the impossibly beautiful Alina Lanina (Kukhnya, Sklifosovskiy (TV)), a woman who can turn invisible and withstand immense temperatures. Arsus, the exceedingly handsome Anton Pampushnyy (Minnesota, Poor Liz), who transforms into a bear. Khan, the very handsome Sanjar Madi (The Way Home, Hunting The Phantom) a martial artist with lightning speed and Ler, the ruggedly handsome Sebastien Sisak (The Earthquake, Foujita), a monk-like character who can control rocks.

In case you hadn’t guessed, everyone in The Guardians is impossibly good-looking and slim, very slim. I’m sure Hollywood films aren’t much different but it just seemed to stand-out more here for some reason.

The Guardians had a budget of just $5 million which, at times, is noticeable. Some of the CGI is completely fine, but at other times it looks ropey to say the least.

The dialogue is cheesy, verging on camp, think Flash Gordon and you’re not far off, whilst the editing can sometimes mean we’re leaping about like a cat on a hot tin roof.

However, it would be wrong to say I didn’t enjoy it on some level. I did. Shocking, I know. The fact is, as I said at the start, kudos to writers Andrey Gavrilov (Mafia), Gevond Andreasyan (producer of American Heist) and writer/director Sarik Andreasyan (American Heist, The Earthquake), for giving something new a try.

Not just new, but on a fraction of the budget of Marvel and DC, to name but two, they’ve created four, ok maybe three, well ok two, characters that are actually good.

Khan looks bad-ass in his, not-that-dissimilar-to-sub-zero-from-mortal-kombat, outfit. His super-power is cool and the effects around him are good.

Similarly, Kseniya is a character you could see developing further. She’s lost most of her memories and when Larina is sent to find her she’s working for the Moscow State Circus.

Arsus is very obviously modelled on the Hulk/Bruce Banner only, he’s not as good, whilst Ler…well…I just couldn’t get excited about a man who could control rocks. Although when they get their upgraded suits later, he becomes pretty cool.

The writers and directors even dropped in a little teaser for The Guardians sequel after the credits, you know, just like Marvel and DC sometimes do.

With only a limited release outside of Russia it is difficult to know how this was received. Within Russia it has more than made its budget back which would suggest a sequel could be on the cards and with Sarik Andreasyan being given a reputed four-times the budget for his next film, stranger things have happened.

As for the Blu-ray, the transfer is absolutely fine, crystal clear quality and sound is good too. There are no extras but you get the option of watching the film in Russian with subtitles or dubbed. I’m sure things are being lost in translation (and culturally) so whichever works for you is good.

The Guardians might have a story that you’ve seen before and some, at times, ropey CGI. But there’s something about this plucky little film that will charm you and, perhaps-unintentionally, have you laughing at it, rather than with it.

DETAILS

  

RELEASE DATE
11th May 2017

DIRECTED BY
Sarik Andreasyan

WRITTEN BY
Sarik Andreasyan, Andrey Gavilov, Gevond Andreasyan

Running Time:
1h 29min

Certificate:
12

THE QUICK SELL
We know that it can be difficult, in the best of markets, to bring a new band of superheros to the big screen. Even with graphic novel status, they don't always receive the best of receptions. So, kudos to Russia for giving The Guardians a go.

CAST & CREW
Alina Lanina, Andrey Gavilov, Andrey Gavrilov, Anton Pampushnyy, Gevond Andreasyan, Sanjar Madi, Sarik Andreasyan, Sebastien Sisak, Stanislav Shirin, Valeriya Shkirando

DETAILS

  

RELEASE DATE
11th May 2017

DIRECTED BY
Sarik Andreasyan

WRITTEN BY
Sarik Andreasyan, Andrey Gavilov, Gevond Andreasyan

Running Time:
1h 29min

Certificate:
12

THE QUICK SELL
We know that it can be difficult, in the best of markets, to bring a new band of superheros to the big screen. Even with graphic novel status, they don't always receive the best of receptions. So, kudos to Russia for giving The Guardians a go.

CAST & CREW
Alina Lanina, Andrey Gavilov, Andrey Gavrilov, Anton Pampushnyy, Gevond Andreasyan, Sanjar Madi, Sarik Andreasyan, Sebastien Sisak, Stanislav Shirin, Valeriya Shkirando

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