If you liked:
The Last Warrior
The Book of Masters
As soon as you give Russian cinema a chance, it immediately sinks back to the bottom, right into the dirt room.
"The Last Warrior: Root of Evil" is a Russian fantasy-comedy family film, produced by the Russian representative of Disney; the same people that made "The Book of Masters", dramatically failed at the box office, and after 8 years raised money for these "The Last Warrior" films. This film is a continuation of the 2017 film of the same name, in which the lost son of Ilya Murometz (an epic knight from Russian folklore), enters the world of Slavic fairy tales and remains there to protect the world from evil. I remember the first film being actually quite amazing, but I wasn't yet writing revies at the time, so it's possible that I just didn't pay proper attention to anything that might have been bad. The very idea of taking the rich Russian folklore - Baba Yaga, Koschei the Deathless, the Frog Princess, Kolobok, etc., and make a whole cinematic universe out of it with unique, memorable characters - it's just so darn cool. I had accordingly high expectations for the sequel, and just how it was possible to fail so spectacularly is beyond my understanding.
It's budget was $8,5 million - almost twice as much as the first film's. So, they've got money for decorations, they've got money for an excellent cast; they apparently didn't have enough money for decent CGI (Kolobok is just terrifying to look at), but this part could be neglected - it's not the main aspect of the film. And this situation is similar for most Russian films, with these resources and actors you could make excellent movies. So, what's the problem?
Abominable screenwriters. "The Last Warrior" is an archetypal story about the awakening of an ancient evil, that only our main character and only with love, friendship and support of his environment could stop. Everyone knows this story, it has been played out in countless books and films (The Lord of the Rings, for example), and still, with a ready-made template, one had to manage to write such [email protected] From the very beginning of the film, from the very first minutes of it, an illogical development of a confusing, fragmented and limited plot begins. The scenes jump back and forth without any thought put into the pacing and structure; it's like a hastily chopped-up salad, just throw everything in the pile. For the first time in my life, after ~ 700 films, the editing of a film got my attention (how scenes are glued together), that's how bad it was. And no wonder - in any decent film, such element as editing is there to make the transitions smooth and unnoticeable.
Everything about the plot is uncoherent - what does this "Evil" want? Why did it come here, what's the motivation? It's just: "Here comes the Evil, beat anyone who gives pretentious speeches and is dressed in black." "The Villains" are absolutely useless and stone-cold emotionless. One of them appears on the screen for 5-10 minutes at max and has like 5 lines of dialogue throughout the entire movie. The heroes are a little better off, at least they are occasionally funny, but every time the plot needs to go beyond silly, mostly out-of-place jokes; its just cringe all the way. The film resembles an animated theater play for elementary school kids - no expectations of decent acting, everyone is there just to entertain the children. And I would like to point out that it isn't the fault of the actors, but of the poor scribble they got instead of a script. Each of the actors has potential, but if the writing is awful, your acting skills can't help you much (exactly what happened to Pattinson in "Twilight", you need years of rehabilitation after that).
Unfortunately, by the end of this year there will be a part three released. Brace yourselves.