I am a great fan of Russian made war movies. In general, I find most of them to be historically accurate, as well as having quality actors, great plots and quality cinema-photography.
This movie had great potential to be far better than it wise. Be it budget restraints, script writing or some other failed endeavor, the movie was left wanting.
This one I viewed this movie via an on-line streaming service. While I could say 'fortunately' it had been dubbed in English, I would equally say the dubbing was pitiful. The chosen dubbed voices did not in any way match or honor the actors, who I do believe did a good job. I have a feeling the whole sound track for the English dubbed version was added, and the real or original sound was not used. The music score was not at all complimenting a war movie. The sounds of gun fire and other weapons sounded so fake and were out of sync (example - different weapons fired but giving the same sound, and the shaking of a machine gub while it is fired in full automatic, but the dubbed sound was that of a semi-automatic ). The voices sounded so pasty as if a script was being read in turns in a recording room. The dubbed voices sounded far more like a script reading, then actual voice over actors. I might be forgiven in thinking the voices were recorded in a studio with those voice actors not actually watching the movie as they read their lines. The sound track spoiled what otherwise I would have considered to be a higher end B grade movie. Historically, uniforms, vehicles and weapons were in par of authenticity. Although, it seemed the Russian uniforms were taken from a costume gallery as opposed to made to fit the actor. In one scene where the Russian actors are by the river, the overly baggy trousers were a significant distraction. One historical matter of authenticity is the Katyusha as the secret weapon. It was in reality far from secret to the Germans, notwithstanding the fact that the Germans already had the Nebelwerfer which was far superior. The Katyusha was cumbersome and needed it's own dedicated transport vehicle whilst the Nebelwerfer was much lighter and could be towed by any vehicle or even horses. In the movie, it portrays the Katyusha to be a secret weapon, but what we see in the movie is just the launching rails on the back of a truck. That is hardly some great prize. Timofey Tribuntsev is a well accomplished actor with multiple credits under his belt. He did equally well in this movie, but again, the dubbing was a let down.
++++SPOILERS, TRIVIA and GOOFS++++
- The repeated situation of German soldiers encountering the Russians and not shooting them straight away made me think the Germans were gun-shy. The scene of blowing up the bridge is probably best example. Russian soldier had the saboteur in his sights for a good 7 seconds, giving the saboteur time to think about what to do next and then to blow the bridge.
- This repeated thing with Russian war movies where the heroes die in the end is becoming corny and stale.
- a burning truck at the end of the movie? how do metal rails burn? And for that matter, they were still straight and not destroyed as per the intent of the saboteurs.
- dropping 2 inches off the back of a cart while you have a noose around your neck is not instant death as this movie portrays.
- In this movie, Germans with non-lethal torso wounds die immediately, while Russians with fatal chest wounds are able to fight on to save the day.
- repairing a bridge with 1 centimetre pine planks will not take the weight of a truck, but that is how they were repairing the bridge.
- a single hand grenade took out a half-track, but in later scenes, the allegedly immobilized half track had disappeared.
- The weight of a boot is inadequate to compress a hand grenade to prevent immediate detonation until the German lifted the boot.
- The scene of the village must be a popular film location. I have seen the same buildings and landscape in multiple Russian war movies. Maybe it's time to make a new village.
- Four Russian parachutists are in very close proximity to each other descending just above tree level, but after landing which would in reality have been no more than 10 seconds later, they are now hundreds of metres apart.
Most Russian war movies I have seen far excel this one, but this one is far from the worst Russian war movie made.