Originally titled Ekipazh and renamed The Crew for the English speaking market, The Crew is a Russian action movie directed by Nikolay Lebedev (Legend No.19) and is a remake of the 1979 movie of the same name.
The story revolves around a flight crew who risk their lives by their utilizing commercial planes to save those trapped by lava flows from an erupting volcanic island.
Cinematically revolutionary in Russia, The Crew is only the second Russian film shot using 3D IMAX cameras. Filmed in Moscow and on the Crimean peninsula the crew used two planes and perfectly blended practical and CGI effects to create a visually stunning spectacle.
It seems as thou Russians are a fan of spectacle rather than substance. What The Crew lacks in depth of story it more than makes up for with cinematic brilliance. The budget was roughly $9m but it looks and feels like a movie five times bigger than the budget would suggest. The images just pop off the screen and the set pieces blended with the action sequences are right up there with such movies as Deepwater Horizon. American disaster movies such as San Andreas, for example, have moments where the CGI is so embarrassingly obvious. The Crew doesn’t have this issue as everything feels seamless and deadly realistic. Hats off to all those involved in making the film look as vibrantly stunning as it does.
Danila Kozlovsky, Vladimir Mashkov and Lithuanian actress Agne Grudite put in wonderful performances but sadly the film is English dubbed and this was an issue for me. I’m not a big fan of dubbed movies, the voice acting is usually terrible and with The Crew, this was no different. We had big bulky Russian men being voiced by younger polite English men and it just felt weird. I hope that the DVD release has the original Russian version with subtitles as the horrible voice acting diminished the wonderful performances that I could see on screen.
The movie oozes the confidence of a Hollywood blockbuster and wouldn’t feel out of place amongst it’s US counterparts. I’ve read some mixed reviews about the film where they say the script isn’t as strong as many Hollywood disaster movies. I’m not entirely sure which movies they’re comparing this particular feature too but disaster movies over the last 5 years have been truly lacking in the script department. No one really cares about the script when you have a giant volcano exploding or an earthquake reducing a city to ashes. If you want script substance, go and watch a well-crafted drama instead.
What this movie does so well is that it gives us an early slow burn then the second the plane touches down on the volcanic island the action becomes relentless. The movie never holds up for one second and that’s exactly what you want as a viewer. When you watch a sports match that is an end to end spectacle you don’t want it to end. The Crew stored all that energy and brilliance and dragged it out for the duration keeping you hooked throughout.
As it stands, I’d give this movie 4-stars but only for the original Russian version. Throw in the cheesy and hilariously awful English voice dub and it becomes more of a comedic affair despite the scenes on screen. Hopefully, the DVD comes with an English subtitled version. It really shouldn’t have been dubbed whatsoever.
This summer, TriCoast Entertainment will bring The Crew to the U.S. and VOD platforms on June 25th.