2000s

Published on October 19th, 2010 | by Chris

2

9th Company (2005)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On October 19, 2010
Last modified:October 5, 2012

Summary:

In a way I think this film is especially relevant today. You could likely take all those red stars off all the equipment and uniforms, and replace them with OD green stars and stripes, and the guts of this picture would be the same. Yeah its really pretty damn good.

Wow, man.  Talk about perspective.  Just released on DVD and Blu Ray over here is the Russian-made 9th Company.  It's about a group of recruits who are trained up and sent off to Afghanistan.

In a way I think this film is especially relevant today.  You could likely take all those red stars off all the equipment and uniforms, and replace them with OD green stars and stripes, and the guts of this picture would be the same.  Yeah its really pretty damn good.

What makes it so good?  Its almost intangible, really.  It's the way the mood of the characters and the picture itself changes, at times a 90-degree corner that really drives it.  One minute everyone is laughing, or sullen and beat-down, and the next they're exactly the opposite, or in the middle of a brutal firefight, but not without good cause.  One scene in particular stands out in this respect to me, the one as they arrive at Bagram air base.  Things go from intrepidation as the ramp comes down, a little more light-hearted as one of them meets an exiting vet from his hometown, and then utter panic as a plane is shot down by a Stinger missile....  Pure emotional roller coaster, and a pretty fine action sequence.

I was expecting a Soviet version of Full Metal Jacket by the write ups.  Group goes to basic, deals with harsh DS, goes off to endless and hopeless war, etc. etc....  in a way that's sort of true, but only in the most abstract of ways.  Their DS here, Dygalo, actually has a lot of depth to him.

There's another thing that is real subtle, but production-wise they were sure not to leave out, and that's the US "non-involvement" with the Mujahideen fighters.  Besides the aforementioned stinger missile attack, you'll see them wearing obvious 80's-issue American camo field jackets, and aviator sunglasses and the like...  A nice touch, and a not-so-subtle reminder to us now of our current problem....

Speaking of production, I don't think I've ever seen a more authentic display of Soviet military hardware on film.  At least from what I know and have seen, anyway.  A lot of times you'll get US planes and vehicles with simply a red star painted on the side, but not here.  From the inimitable Mi-24 gunship, to the transport planes and APC's.  I guess considering the source I shouldn't be surprised, but its damned interesting to see.

Caveats?  A few.  There's one scene in particular that leaves me puzzled, the group of recruits and their encounter with "Snow White" in the boiler room.  I'm not quite sure I understand it completely, maybe its a cultural thing, but you'll know what I'm talking about.

The other, and this is a big one, don't even bother with the English audio dub.  It's awful.  I switched it over to the Russian audio w/ subtitles immediately after the first couple of lines were delivered.  I was going to anyway, but brother, ick.  Imagine the worst anime dub you've ever heard and turn it up to 11....  And of course there are quite a few war movie cliches to contend with, but none of them really get in the way here, in fact they fit right in.

But above all, (and this goes back to my first point) this is a tale about "brothers in arms", most evident in the final sequence, which I won't spoil for you here.

Check this one out, its really worth it.

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0417397/
Amazon: 9th Company (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]

Here's the Stinger missile sequence I was talking about.  The attention to detail and the little touches just blew me away.  The condensation on the transport plane's deck is only the tip of the iceberg.  A good representation of the entire film, especially the incredible mood swings, and hardware.

9th Company (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] 9th Company (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
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Description

Based on real-life events, 9th COMPANY recounts a year in the shared lives of a group of young soldiers drafted to serve in Afghanistan during the final year of the Soviet conflict. It is a poignant story of the unit s dedication to each other during their valiant defense of Height 3234...

DVD Information

Binding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio:
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand: WELL GO USA
Manufacturer: Well Go USA
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Alexei Chadov
  • Artur Smolyaninov
  • Konstantin Kryukov

Features

  • Factory sealed DVD

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9th Company
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9th Company (2005) Chris

Summary: In a way I think this film is especially relevant today. You could likely take all those red stars off all the equipment and uniforms, and replace them with OD green stars and stripes, and the guts of this picture would be the same. Yeah its really pretty damn good.

4.0


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



2 Responses to 9th Company (2005)

  1. I reviewed this a while back but started to have a feeling I am the only one who appreciated it. Didn’t think the “Snow White” scene was puzzling though. A lot in this movie is Russian pathos I guess.

  2. thomas says:

    You are absolutely right. A great movie.

    Col Thomas

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