A Russian crime, paint-by-(racist)-numbers

Alien Girl (Chuzhaya)

on December 17, 2010 by Vadim Rizov
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A "gritty" Russian graphic novel adaptation, Alien Girl has less in common with the hyperkinetic asskicking of Timur Bekmambetov (despite the involvement of Night/Day Watch producer Konstantin Ernst) than truly dismal, direct-to-video '90s action movies. In the same way that Dolph Lundgren's latter day work is often set in Russia, Alien Girl offers uncomplicatedly brutal violence punctuated by extensive sex scenes and racist banter, a thorough throwback to the c-list action movies of the mid-90s, when the bulk of the film's narrative takes place. The "alien girl" (Natalia Romanycheva) isn't an extraterrestrial, just a girl deep in mob business who manipulates junior associate Wise (Evgeny Tkachuk) into a world of trouble. Undemanding (or exceedingly patient) viewers may see a movie with interesting geopolitical implications, but they're all unconscious; this is basically guns and tits all the way, rendered with maximum scuzz. American viewers are unlikely to be interested.

Alien Girl largely concerns itself with the activities of a group of indistinguishable Ukrainian thugs sent to the Czech Republic to retrieve said Alien girl. After acquiring weaponry and cars from their local aide (and actively being loud and loutish in a Czech cafe, creating tension wherever they go), they rescue her from her chained-up prostitute state. Alien convinces Wise that her uncle - crack-smoking boss Rasp (Evgeny Mundun) - has to die before he causes more trouble, setting the pair up for war against the mob. Or so it seems to Wise, who clearly can't recognize a femme fatale when he sees one.

Alien Girl takes place mostly during 1993, with an abrupt ending in 1997 that's either grimly fatalist or a cliffhanger for a second part; it's impossible to tell which without consulting the graphic novel. And though it's aware of post-Soviet balkanization and the many terrible ways Eastern European men can behave, it mostly seems to unironically enjoy degradation. There's a long, strenuously trashy train sex sequence for the cheap seats, ethnic insults fly fast, and the ultimate tone is of exploitative fatalism.

Distributor: Paladin
Cast: Natalia Romanycheva, Evgeny Tkachuk, Kirill Poluhin, Anatoli Otradnov, Aleksandr Golubkov, Evgeny Mundun
Director: Anton Bormatov
Screenwriters: Vladimir Nesterenko and Sergei Sokolyuk
Producers: Konstantin Ernst and Igor Tolstunov
Genre: Crime/Action
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 100 min
Release date: December 17 NY/LA

 

Tags: Natalia Romanycheva, Evgeny Tkachuk, Kirill Poluhin, Anatoli Otradnov, Aleksandr Golubkov, Evgeny Mundun, Anton Bormatov, Vladimir Nesterenko, Sergei Sokolyuk, Konstantin Ernst, Igor Tolstunov
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