Brat 2 (aka Brother 2, 2000) Movie Review

18 Comments

I’ve been told that “Brat 2″, a sequel to a successful movie, is one of the biggest box office champ in Russian history. The film is a major success and (I’m once again told) it has revitalized the Russian film industry and their stature in the action genre. If this is the case, then all I can say is: The Russians have a long way to go!

The star of our subdued opus is Sergei Bodrov, who plays Danila, a former military man with a knack for getting into trouble. Despite the fact that our lead doesn’t look old enough to have been in the Russian army a few years ago, writer/director Aleksei Balabanov asks us to accept that Danila is, in fact, a lethal killing machine. Okay, I guess I’ll play along. After all, if I can “buy” that Keanu Reeves is a kung fu master, why not Bodrov as the Russian equivalent of Rambo?

The thrust of “Brat 2″ (“brat”, I believe, means “brother” in Russia) is that the nationalistic ex-soldier Danila takes up the cause of an ex-compatriot murdered by shady businessmen in cahoots with the Russian mob. The murdered man has a twin brother who is a star hockey player in America, but because of a shady American businessman, the brother has been cheated out of his rich contract. Armed with a disarming appearance and what appears to be a short and very psychotic older brother (Viktor Sukhorukov), Danila sets off for Chicago to collect some payback.

Once in America, writer/director Aleksei Balabanov, by way of his leading man Danila, proves lacking in his understanding of the American landscape, and manages to insult pretty much everyone in America and the country in general. (What’s that all about, “comrade”?) This approach is somewhat understandable, since “Brat 2″ is wholly a Russian creation, and as any viewers of the “Rambo” franchise can attest, it’s inevitable that a foreigner’s interpretation of a foreign land will be not only skewed, but also downright cartoonish. Such is the case with “Brat 2″.

Although sold as an action film, “Brat 2″ is actually not that, well, exciting. Like the Swedish film “Executive Protection”, the action in “Brat 2″ is so subdued and understated that any action fan looking for a jolt will be disappointed. This, despite the presence of a couple of wholesale massacres. How is it possible that in a movie where a main character mows down about a half dozen people in a nightclub’s back room and I never once felt any sense of thrill or excitement? Talk about playing it on the down low.

The direction by Balabanov seems more concern with piling on the notion of “being Russian” than actually bothering with a coherent story. “Brat 2″ opens in Moscow, with Danila and his band of ex-soldier buddies trying to get a shady Russian businessman (Sergei Makovetsky) to do the right thing, but only ends up being chased by his murderous goons all over Moscow. But even though the businessman is clearly responsible for the murder of his army buddy, Danila simply loses interest in exacting revenge, and instead heads over to Chicago to take on the equally shady American businessman (Gary Houston).

So let me get this straight: Righting the wrong done to a cheated Russian who our hero has never met takes precedence over righting the cold-blooded murder of the hero’s close buddy? So, according to Balabanov, getting back at that dirty American scumbag for cheating a Russian means more than getting back at that dirty Russian scumbag for killing a Russian. Actually, Danila never gets back at the shady Russian. This is what it means to “be Russian”, da?

“Brat 2″ only takes off once the film transplants to its America locales. There, the film is definitely funnier and has a better flow, not to mention some energy. Although the film maintains a steady level of “off-kilter” vibe, the first half, set in Russia, is just not that good. Saying that nothing much happens is an understatement, although that doesn’t quite explain why the second half is so messy and unfocused. All of this leaves me to this question: Are Russians really this uncomfortable around black people? According to “Brat 2″, Russians and black people don’t mix, and when they do, violence results!

I’m not sure if I can tell you what is it about “Brat 2″ that has made it such a big sensation in its native land. It’s not the most thrilling movie I’ve ever seen, the action sequences are not entirely competent, and the film as a whole has the production values of a Straight-to-Video action B-movie. The screenplay, along with leading man Sergei Bodrov, seems like they’re just going through the motions of making a movie.

In closing, I’m still waiting for a decent action movie from Russia.

Aleksei Balabanov (director) / Aleksei Balabanov (screenplay)
CAST: Sergei Bodrov Jr. …. Danila
Viktor Sukhorukov …. Viktor
Alexander Diachenko …. Kostya/Mitya
Sergei Makovetsky …. Belkin


Buy Brat 2 on DVD

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • Hitokiri

    Well if ure looking for an hard action movie u shouldn’t watch i movie like that one. It’s actually not about action and Danila isn’t a pro killer. By the way the fact that Danila is an ex- soldier is quite believable. Russian youths were send to Chechnja even at the age of 17-18 (a very stupid fact indeed in that senseless war where many “kids” have died) I dunno if you
    can Russian language but I guess the translation you saw didt make you understand the movie. Danila messed up with the Afroamericans cause he doesn’t really know how to behave towards other nations. You can call him naive but he has a big heart, trying to help others (His brother in Part 1, the prostitute Merylin, his friends brother..) Danila is very patient and always stays cool thats maybe why he is that good in assasination- no panic. I think the movie is just showing like things really are…noone need’s a Ramboin that movie. i guess with Brat 2 you just saw the wrong genre…well I prefer such films more that cheap Hollywood action films…cause it’s about life. I mean the movie’s called Brat and Danila is best brother a man can have..he’s even a brother to his comerades.
    Danila doesn’t lose his interest in revenge…after he gets information about Gary Houston from that “russian businessman”, he’s planning to help the brother of his dead friend who is exploited by Gary Houston. He travells to America and only sees spoiled people, greedy about money, which he doesn’t understand. That’s what he’s trying to explain to Gary that money is nothing against the varity. Gary might have much money but at the end it doesn’t help him.
    Well of course u have your own opinion but I guess I can’t explain that movie to you (with my poor English)…(you need to be Russian to understant it ^^) I liked that movie cause it shows people how they really are, no exaggerations no super heroes.
    And Russians aren’t unconfortable about black people…I mean the blacks you saw in that movie were gangsters who are fault by themselves.

    Well thx, for your summary anyways! Peace cya

  • Hitokiri

    Well if ure looking for an hard action movie u shouldn’t watch i movie like that one. It’s actually not about action and Danila isn’t a pro killer. By the way the fact that Danila is an ex- soldier is quite believable. Russian youths were send to Chechnja even at the age of 17-18 (a very stupid fact indeed in that senseless war where many “kids” have died) I dunno if you
    can Russian language but I guess the translation you saw didt make you understand the movie. Danila messed up with the Afroamericans cause he doesn’t really know how to behave towards other nations. You can call him naive but he has a big heart, trying to help others (His brother in Part 1, the prostitute Merylin, his friends brother..) Danila is very patient and always stays cool thats maybe why he is that good in assasination- no panic. I think the movie is just showing like things really are…noone need’s a Ramboin that movie. i guess with Brat 2 you just saw the wrong genre…well I prefer such films more that cheap Hollywood action films…cause it’s about life. I mean the movie’s called Brat and Danila is best brother a man can have..he’s even a brother to his comerades.
    Danila doesn’t lose his interest in revenge…after he gets information about Gary Houston from that “russian businessman”, he’s planning to help the brother of his dead friend who is exploited by Gary Houston. He travells to America and only sees spoiled people, greedy about money, which he doesn’t understand. That’s what he’s trying to explain to Gary that money is nothing against the varity. Gary might have much money but at the end it doesn’t help him.
    Well of course u have your own opinion but I guess I can’t explain that movie to you (with my poor English)…(you need to be Russian to understant it ^^) I liked that movie cause it shows people how they really are, no exaggerations no super heroes.
    And Russians aren’t unconfortable about black people…I mean the blacks you saw in that movie were gangsters who are fault by themselves.

    Well thx, for your summary anyways! Peace cya

  • placiba

    Russians are bullshitters and warmongers.

    America is more diverse and exposed while russians hide like cowards.

    Fuck that stupid depraved selfish country.

    • Daniel

      dude, u REALLY need to go up to a russian and say that, selfish? dude, look how selfish america is, russians as cowards? man , how many things can u say about americans, u lil pussies, go up to a russian , and call him a coward, i dont think u will see another day light again, or end up in a freakin coma,

  • placiba

    Russians are bullshitters and warmongers.

    America is more diverse and exposed while russians hide like cowards.

    Fuck that stupid depraved selfish country.

  • Alex

    placiba you better watch what you say. We don’t hide. We’re sitting on 40 percent of the world’s oil reserve we aint goin nowhere. At least we don’t go pillaging everyone else telling them how to live. Bullshit? Isn’t CNN your main source of information? Argh annoying critter! >=D

  • Alex

    placiba you better watch what you say. We don’t hide. We’re sitting on 40 percent of the world’s oil reserve we aint goin nowhere. At least we don’t go pillaging everyone else telling them how to live. Bullshit? Isn’t CNN your main source of information? Argh annoying critter! >=D

  • mike

    “According to “Brat 2″, Russians and black people don’t mix, and when they do, violence results!”

    You’ve probably seen the russian version and did’nt understood…there is practically no black people in Russia, so the problem does not make sense. What Danila says, is that in Russia he can go in any part of any town, and he is surprised that in US, people are so “unmixable”. It is a pretty clear critic of the “american apartheid way of life”. He also emphasizes the fact that the way white people in US try to hide the problem of their racims is quite hypocrit: calling them “black” instead of “negro” (which is the right scientific term, whithout negative connotation) does not help them a lot…

    to conclude : it’s not really an action film…at least not in the americain sense. that is, there is some underlying story, which you apparently do not understood. too bad! Rambo is definitely better for you than russian films ;)

    • Basa2010

      Thank you man, really. Bealive me that you’re right. I’m Russian, I know

    • Basa2010

      Thank you man, really. Bealive me that you’re right. I’m Russian, I know

  • mike

    “According to “Brat 2″, Russians and black people don’t mix, and when they do, violence results!”

    You’ve probably seen the russian version and did’nt understood…there is practically no black people in Russia, so the problem does not make sense. What Danila says, is that in Russia he can go in any part of any town, and he is surprised that in US, people are so “unmixable”. It is a pretty clear critic of the “american apartheid way of life”. He also emphasizes the fact that the way white people in US try to hide the problem of their racims is quite hypocrit: calling them “black” instead of “negro” (which is the right scientific term, whithout negative connotation) does not help them a lot…

    to conclude : it’s not really an action film…at least not in the americain sense. that is, there is some underlying story, which you apparently do not understood. too bad! Rambo is definitely better for you than russian films ;)

  • http://cfdsdfs.com/ Eastside

    Placiba don’t make me laught…. u’re piece of s-h-i-t !!!!
    Russia with China wil fuck all your US sometime… GO F-U-C-K yourself now

  • http://cfdsdfs.com Eastside

    Placiba don’t make me laught…. u’re piece of s-h-i-t !!!!
    Russia with China wil fuck all your US sometime… GO F-U-C-K yourself now