8.4/10
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6 user 2 critic

The Russian Five (2018)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Sport | 11 April 2018 (USA)
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In the late 1980s, the Detroit Red Wings worked to finally break their decades long Stanley Cup drought by extracting players from the Soviet Union, and in the process, changed the way North American hockey is played.

Director:

Joshua Riehl
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Popularity
1,651 ( 6,642)
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jeff Daniels ... Himself
Jim Devellano ... Himself
Sergei Fedorov ... Himself
Viacheslav Fetisov ... Himself
Wayne Gretzky ... Himself
Vladimir Konstantinov ... Himself
Vyacheslav Kozlov ... Himself
Igor Larionov ... Himself
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Storyline

In the late 1980s, the Detroit Red Wings worked to finally break their decades long Stanley Cup drought by extracting players from the Soviet Union, and in the process, changed the way North American hockey is played.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

For Detroit to Win, They Had to Become One

Genres:

Documentary | Sport

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Canada | Russia | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 April 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Russian Five See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$439,395, 12 May 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
The Russian Five: My Good, Bad, and Ugly
17 June 2019 | by tbuchalskiSee all my reviews

The Good: As a documentary, this film succeeded by invoking popular tropes from successful narrative fiction films - some based on true stories. It has the espionage intrigue of Spy Game (Tony Scott, 2001) with tales of locker room conversations in Russia under KGB surveillance. It has the front office machinations and calculations of Moneyball (Bennett Miller, 2011), wherein a General Manager from an already successful team is brought in to turn around a franchise circling the drain. Most importantly it has the kinetic excitement and tale of adversity of a hockey film like Miracle (Gavin O'Connor, 2004), and ironically enough The Russian Five has one of the same players as that "miracle on ice" story.

The Bad: The story is inconsistent in its delivery. Early on, there are elements of intrigue and ingenuity, but those fade in favor of a more conventional, less exciting teleological point of view. Perhaps it's a drawback associated with tying documentary talking head interviews, and archival footage with narrative films, but there isn't a throughline of thought concerning what kind of story is being told. The film's greatest strength is perhaps its greatest weakness. Is it a story of intrigue with late night state department phone calls? Or, is it a film about the genius, or collective geniuses, required to build a championship contender? Or, is it a film about the triumph over adversity, even when a team can be at the top of its sport?

The Ugly: Documentary style with shades of Ocean's Eleven (Steven Soderbergh, 2001), The Cove (Louie Psihoyos, 2009) begins and ends with a cohesive story. Psihoyos introduces an old dolphin trainer with a broken heart who reveals what could possibly be the greatest inhuman injustice known to contemporary consciousness. The steady rise to the film's climax and the constant suspense as Psihoyos and his crew of crack filmmakers set the stage is excellently orchestrated. The Russian Five tells a nostalgic story of a great era in the history of a storied hockey franchise, but The Cove better exemplifies the callbacks to narrative genre films that both films rely on for success in their storytelling.


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