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  Last Warrior, The When Two Tribes Go To WarBuy this film here.
Year: 2018
Director: Rustam Mosafir
Stars: Aleksey Faddeev, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Yuriy Tsurilo, Izmaylova Vasilisa, Fomin Andrey, Vitaly Kravchenko, Saido Kurbanov, Rustam Mosafir, Aleksey Ovsyannikov, Aleksandr Patsevich, Aleksandr Samoylov, Victor Solovyev, Boris Zverev
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The man they call Marten (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) is a member of a once-proud, golden-eyed race who proliferated throughout Asia, but now they have been reduced to a sorry state despite their ability to fight as fearsome warriors, and their numbers have been greatly depleted. This does not stop him from hiring himself out as a mercenary, as a member of the ruling tribe who are supplanting the previous one is about to find out. Lyutobor (Aleksey Faddeev) has just been blessed with his first son, and should be settling down with his wife Tatyana (Izmaylova Vasilisa), but his tribe's internal strife will put paid to that...

Game of Thrones was apparently very popular in Russia at the time this was being scripted, variously known as The Last Warrior, The Scythian or Skif in its original language, for here was an attempt to concoct a variant on that television adaptation of a epic series of novels, or at least the stuff set in a medieval location. There were no dragons here, so the magic elements were thin on the ground, but there was a character whose ability to go berserk in battle was enveloped in a special effect reminiscent of a monster, so there was that. Otherwise, if you like down and dirty sword and knife fights, there was an abundance of such material here.

So much so that the action turned repetitive early on, despite the spins on those well-worn setpieces director Rustam Mosafir placed on them, quasi-fantastical in their fashion and admittedly impressively staged as far as they went. However, there was less of the George R.R. Martin court intrigue as the whole thing appeared to have been filmed either on a stretch of chilly plains in Russia, or in an equally uninviting forest, all to emphasise the tough personality of the characters, and by extension, those who were making the project in the first place. There was only one female character with any importance, Tatyana, and she was purely included to be rescued by her husband.

Every so often amidst this grime there would be something to make you think, okay, that's an interesting addition, but two of those were additions from other movies. At one point, having teamed up with Marten to get his kidnapped wife and child back, our hero unleashes an ability to basically transform into the Marvel protagonist Wolverine, only without the adamantium claws, and goes into Logan extreme and uncontrollable violence mode, disembowelling a baddie or two. This was after Marten had been stuck with battling in what amounted to the arena from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, complete with elastic rope tied around him - there was even a leader of this tribe presented as a dwarf carried around on the back of a hulking, brainless thug.

Therefore "derivative" would be the best word to describe The Last Warrior, and if you had enjoyed the works that inspired it, you may be less than generous to this, essentially a compendium of rip-off sequences with a Russian flavour to mark it out from the pack. This suggested the cinema from this part of the world in this era was seeking to copy hits from elsewhere, much as the Italians or Bollywood had a habit of doing, both historically and contemporaneously, all very well but it wasn't so long since a movie like Night Watch which had been identifiably, eccentrically, wildly Russian and did not feel the need to pander to audiences who liked the bit in that film they had seen once upon a time. This was more like watching a fight outside a rural Russian pub replayed with variations for around an hour and a half, an experience that may pall unless you were truly invested in the nation in question's entertainment industry.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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