Russian Raid (Russia, 2020)

Loads of twists and plenty of action comes in this Russian-made homage to The Raid films.

Ex-military officer Nikita has the chance to lead a group of soldiers on a major heist with businessman Sanya set to take charge of a military armory. The plan is to force the CEO of the armory to force his signature so he can take over the property. However, he learns that his team are not military officers, but rather a team of young fighters in tracksuits. As the group infiltrates the building where the CEO is located, they find themselves on the verge of fighting off the high-profile security with their martial arts skills.

However, for Nikita, it’s more than just a simple heist. It’s about revenge. Upon finding the CEO, he reveals his identity to him. Nikita’s father was killed in a raid at the armory years ago by a warlord known as the Ghost. As if that isn’t bad enough, Eva, a young woman working for the CEO is revealed to be a former detective for the Russian police who lost her job after a weapons deal led to the disappearance of her boss and her getting terminated. With all bets now off, Nikita is readying for his mission of justice and vengeance when he hits the armory.

Gareth Evans’ smash film The Raid can be considered a groundbreaking film in terms of its story and frenetic action set pieces. With India’s Baaghi having a finale influenced by the film and nearly facing a major lawsuit, it is clear the influence the film holds. Russia decided to take a page off the bandwagon and come up with a concept entirely different with fight sequences inspired by the Indonesian original.

Stuntman Ivan Kotik takes the reins as Nikita, a former military operative who gears up to lead a team to pull off a heist involving an armory. We get to see flashbacks early on involving Nikita’s father being killed off as well as his early training in both Kossack dancing and fighting as a child. Living in what looks to be the countryside, Nikita resorts to using a log as his training device as he whirls and spins it while punching the wall outside of his house as part of his training.

His team consists of young guys in track suits led by Vladimir Mineev’s Alexander. However, Nikita Kologrivyy’s role is that of the arrogant, smart-mouthed member of the team and at times, you just want to see him get his butt kicked whether it’s by Nikita or someone else. The co-mastermind of the mission, Ilia Antonenko’s Sanya is shady from the moment you meet him. He is this sly businessman who only wants the armory for his own gain. Sofia Ozerova’s Eva is the CEO’s assistant who actually is a former cop hellbent on revenge as well.

Konstantin Adayev’s fight choreography is not too bad with a lot of fighting going on. From kickboxing style action to close quarter knife fights, they are pretty fun to watch. However, the only flaw is the sound effect of the shots, which may have a more realistic effect but doesn’t have much of an impact compared to other fight action in films. There is plenty of gunfire as well especially during the action-packed finale, which culminates in a hand-to-hand showdown between Nikita and his arch-nemesis, the Ghost, played by Alexandr Krasovskiy. There’s lots of brutality and casualties in the film and the final moments stand to be pretty good as well.

Russian Raid is a nice twisty action film whose action pays homage to the Indonesian breakout action film. Ivan Kotik and company showcase some decent action despite the lack of pulse pounding sound effects in action shots. But the overall story elevates the film as well.

WFG RATING: B

Well Go USA presents a Radragon/OKKO Studios/SSB Films production. Director: Denis Kryuchkov. Producers: Olga Loyanich, Andrey Lyakhov, Alexander Kalushkin, Sofia Kvashilava, and Makar Kozhikov. Writers: Robert Orr, Olga Loyanich, and Denis Kryuchkov. Cinematography: Aleksey Sedov. Editing: George Isaakian.

Cast: Ivan Kotik, Vladimir Mineev, Nikita Kologrivyy, Sergey Podolniy, Aleksey Maksimenko, Konstantin Ignatiev, Ilia Antonenko, Alexandr Krasovskiy, Sofia Ozerova.

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