Story: ‘The Crew 3D’ is the first Russian film to be released in India. Inspired by the 1979 Soviet film ‘Air Crew’, the English dubbed version of ‘Ekipazh’ revolves around a flight crew and their personal lives, as they set off on a dangerous rescue mission.
Review: Being Russia’s highest-grossing film in 2016, ‘The Crew’ comes with great expectations. In an attempt to get the audience invested in its characters, the first half works towards building interpersonal relationships between three pilots. The male leads Danila and Vladmir, have both starred in Hollywood movies and their expertise shows. Danila plays his character Alex McCoy with sincere effervescence as the rookie pilot with a conscience who dares to defy seniority. However, his romance with Agne Grudtye’s Sandra is a damp squib, owing largely to Agne’s wooden and stereotypical turn as a career-driven pilot. Causing friction with Alex, Vladmir plays a steadfast yet weathered senior pilot who prefers to stick to the rulebook. The strained relationship with his wife and precocious son lends some comic relief to an otherwise somber film.
The dynamic between these three provides some emotional footing before the action takes off, though the time taken to get there is long drawn. There’s ample empathy for the lead players, but a host of secondary characters introduced during the catastrophe have an erratic impact on the proceedings; some of them hit home while others fail to register. Although, this is when the film’s ‘blockbuster’ status begins to make sense as it is dedicated to the crew’s rescue mission. Shot in IMAX, the stunt choreography is relentless, albeit unrealistic, though that’s in tune with most Hollywood disaster-action flicks so it’s not entirely indigestible. As the two male leads begin to shine, they create some nail-biting sequences helped along by excellent CGI work.
‘The Crew’ lands somewhat short of hitting the emotional mark as some of the beats are lost in translation (read ‘dubbing’), yet top-notch effects and an uncompromising second half puts it on par with some of the best action-adventure flicks Hollywood has to offer. Hopefully, this signals the infusion of more Russian cinema to Indian screens, something that film aficionados, and even casual moviegoers should look forward to.