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The Russian Specialist
DVD disk
02.17.2006 By: The Arrow
The Russian Specialist order
Director:
Dolph Lundgren

Actors:
Dolph Lundgren
Ben Cross
Ivan Petrushinov

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In Russia, Ex-Spetznaz badass Nick (Lundgren) sees his family killed by Sasha (Petrushinov), a ruthless gangster. He nips the baddie in the bud (or so he thinks) and goes into hiding in LA, working as a mechanic. One day, a woman pops up at his work place and asks him to rescue her kidnapped daughter. Nick declines until he finds out that the girl was snatched by the “surviving” thug that slaughtered his wife and kid. Peeved, Nicky heads back to Russia, tags himself with some Mercs and break limbs, pound skulls and goes gun crazy… all in the name of retribution baby!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The Russian Specialist (also known as The Mechanik, a much better title if you ask me) proved that Dolph Lundgren is a better director than actor. I’m floored! After the promise he showed with his first directing gig, the hastily prepped/shot The Defender, Dolphy dived into his second directorial bout with guns fully loaded and delivered hardcore.

The Russian Specialist was a kinetically shot, emotionally charged and straight for the jugular revenge opus. It had much more in common with Death Wish in terms of dread filled tone and down & dirty attitude than Dolph’s usual cheesy straight to video releases like Army of One (a fun film in its own rights). Wow! Who knew He-Man had it in him? Now, have no fear; we still get our “Dolph Special” i.e. all kinds of mayhem but this time it was cooked up in a more grounded, gory and hard hitting manner. I couldn’t get enough of the harsh hand to hand fights, the gripping chases and the gruesome shootouts that were found in this film! Leone, Woo and Peckinpah were obvious stylistic influences on the latter and they would be proud! Nice!

The quality didn’t end there as the flick also managed to inject layered characters, sly dialogue and a strong cast amidst the unflinching chaos. Dolph wisely played it down yet still intense on his end whereas Ben Cross was credible and amusing as the sidekick. Result, they gave me anti-heroes to root for and that upped the ante of the action, since I was invested in them and their plight. Sure, the whole was fairly formulaic, plot turns were clichéd and some of the subplots didn’t hold as much interest as the main narrative but as a tight and gritty revenge dish, you can’t get much colder than this one.
THE EXTRAS
We only get Trailers for other Sony straight to DVD action flicks. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: WHERE’S MY DOLPH LUNDGREN COMMENTARY?
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The title sounds like a standard Dolph Lundgren movie. The DVD art looks like a standard Dolph Lundgren movie. Trust me; it is not a standard Dolph Lundgren movie. Much like Van Damme did with Wake of Death, Dolph Lundgren has entered a level of maturity with The Mechanik (no I won’t call it The Russian Specialist anymore). With its able script, stylish directing, strong acting and unrestrained violence, this one gave me my healthy “you messed with my family, now I kill you” macho serving for the year. Fans of Dolph, dig into what has to be one of his best films period. Non Dolph fans see it if you like you revenge movies straight up and old school. I can’t wait to see what Lundgren does next! Keep directing action films bro! You excel at it!
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