Moscow, 2004, and wealthy entrepreneur Kuptsov drills deep beneath the city, trying to reach a huge diamond vein. Aware that his ruthless drilling will destroy the city and its denizens, it's a result he's willing to accept for untold additional wealth. Fortunately, his equipment lacks enough power. He needs the Nano-catalyst (developed years ago) to fuel his machinery, but its current whereabouts is unknown. Meanwhile, in another part of the city, college boy Dima dreams of owning a car and dating gorgeous co-ed Nastya. His wealthy friend Max has a Mercedes Benz and is flirting with Nastya, which frustrates Dima. On his birthday, Dima finally gets a car (from his parents) - a grungy, antiquated Volga of which he is privately ashamed; but, unbeknownst to anyone, the car - the recipient of ''failed'' Nano-catalysis - is capable of much more, and turns Dima into an unidentified crusader of justice known as Black Lightning.
Directed by: Dmitriy Kiselev
, Aleksandr Voytinskiy
. Starring: Grigoriy Dobrygin
, Ekaterina Vilkova
, Viktor Verzhbitskiy
, Valeriy Zolotukhin
, Yekaterina Vasilyeva
, Juozas Budraitis
, Ivan Zhidkov
, Sergey Garmash
, Ekaterina Starshova
, Mikhail Efremov
, Dato Bakhtadze
, Igor Savochkin
, Sergey Legostaev
. Music by: Yuriy Poteenko
I was absolutely amazed by this movie.
It's spectacular, it's funny, it's exciting, it's extremely fast-paced, the main actors are cute and good-looking and they really can act, the special effects are excellent and the sound blows you out-off your chair.
And guess what...?! It's Russian!!!
Yip, I didn't even notice it at first when I bought the DVD. The title was in English and so was the story on the cover. It sounded like an average low-budget scifi that could be fun, so I didn't look any further. The first 5 minutes I even thought that they were speaking Russian to give it some authentic feel, and that the story soon would turn to the US or England. But when they kept on speaking Russian, I checked the cover once again and it dawned at last. It IS Russian! Wow, was I wrong with all my (unfounded) prejudices about Russian movies: that they were probably all bleak and boring and that the special effects would still date from the stone age and that Russian actors would probably all look plain and talk incomprehensible dribble.
I'm deeply ashamed and with this movie I stand terribly corrected: it's simply great on every account.
Okay, the premise may be far-fetched and a bit childish (a young student accidentally gets hold of a terribly old car that's dug up from a ditch, to find that it contains some extraordinary top-secret fuel that makes it fly like a star-fighter; the Very Bad Guy hunts him down to get hold of it, while the student decides to use his car as some superhero-device to rescue people). But isn't that the same with movies like Transformers or Percy Jackson? In movies like this the story is just the frame, it's the spectacular special effects that count. And in that department you will most certainly not be disappointed, the CGI is absolutely top-of-the-bill!
Considering the story, you would expect such a movie to be rather one-dimensional: just lots of action and maybe some humor to counter-balance. I know many movies where this is the case (like the afore-mentioned Percy Jackson - amazing how so much action could end up as such a tedious bore!), but here in Black Lightning there are actually more layers, albeit - thank god! - not rammed in our face, but nicely dispersed through the movie in a pleasantly subtle way. Like when our (anti-)hero Dima has to compete for the love of a girl and painfully learns that there are limits as to how far you can go. Or when he tries to accomplish a fortune by working so hard that he neglects his caring little family and has to pay for this with the knowledge that he was too late to save his dying father. Or the way he handles his suddenly becoming a hailed but anonymous superhero: should he come-out in the open to impress and win his beloved? There are many moments of insight and warmth, that give the movie something extra besides being a slick action-movie.
Grigoriy Dobrygin as Dima is perfect: he is cute and handsome in a boy-next-door kind of way, he's adorable as he stumbles through his infatuation with Nastya, he can be serious and funny, but he is equally convincing in his role as a vengeful superhero. Ekaterina Vilkova as Nastya is just adorable in every aspect, and radiantly beautiful to boot. Come to think of it: almost all the other supporting roles are played flawlessly: the parents, the cute little sister, the arrogant best friend and the Bad Guy, and the whole movie is filled with a fine sense of irony that makes you smile all of the time.
Well, just go and watch it and enjoy! And by the way: don't put the DVD on the English sound, which gives Dima an annoyingly high-pitched voice. Stick to the authentic Russian track, it only heightens the pleasure!
Review by johannes2000-1 from the Internet Movie Database.