Director: Aleksey Sidorov
Script: Aleksey Sidorov
Cast: Alexander Petrov, Vinzenz Kiefer, Irina Starshenbaum, Viktor Dobronravov, Yuriy Borisov, Anton Bogdanov, Artur Sopelnik
Running time: 108 minutes
After a thundering introduction set in 1941, which sees our hero, Nikolay (Petrov), being attacked by a German tank, whilst driving an old supply truck, the film then sees Nikolay taking charge of a tank unit of his own, and subsequently taking on several German tanks in a Russian village that he’s been tasked with defending at all costs. Unfortunately, he and his fellow soldiers are captured and turned over to a concentration camp.
Fast forward to 1944 and Nikolay is transferred, yet again, to another concentration camp, after trying to escape from his previous prison.
Meanwhile the German officer, who’d shot him back in 1941, is tasked with putting together a new Panzer division and needs a capable Russian tank crew to play war games with in order to hone his own crew’s abilities. He sees that his old nemesis is a prisoner and goes to see him, demanding that he put together an expendable crew for the German tanks to take pot-shots at. Nikolay very reluctantly agrees, and finds his old team. They repair a captured Russian T – 34 tank, which, rather fortuitously, still has some live rounds in, which the Germans failed to notice due to the dead bodies lying on top of them. So much for the ‘master race’!
The rest of the film follows this courageous group of Russian soldiers (plus a female interpreter, Anya (Irina Starshenbaum)) trying to escape from German captivity in this half-destroyed, but still dangerous T-34 tank.
Iron Fury, it has to be said, is a fun film from start to finish and features some heart-stopping tank combat and some energetic performances from its game Russian cast. Sadly, (I suspect in order to get a wider release), it’s been saddled with some dreadful dubbing, which detracted from my overall enjoyment of the movie. A great shame really as I think they should have just subtitled it all, and not just the German-speaking bits.
The film is stylishly filmed and puts the viewer in the thick of the action, with some truly brutal and realistic tank skirmishes. Sadly, some of the missile-firing CGI is a little below par, but most of it works pretty well. There’s also a blooming romance, between Nickolay and Anya, running throughout the second half of the film that feels a little bit too ‘shoe-horned-in’, as if just for the sake of any romantics in the audience. But, on the plus side, there’s a nice thread of jet-black humour running throughout the film that will cause individuals with a darker sense of humour to smile from time-to-time. And, there are cheesy lines aplenty, although I’m not sure if some of those has arisen because of the awful dubbing that I mentioned earlier!
A smash-hit in Russia, the film broke box office records there back in 2019, and I think director/writer Alexsey Sidorov can be justifiably proud of this gritty and exciting cinematic achievement. Definitely one to watch, especially if you’re a fan of ‘men-on-a-mission’ war movies told in a ‘boys own’ kind of way.
Altitude is distributing Iron Fury on Blu-Ray and DVD. Sadly there are no special features on the disc regarding the film itself, which is a shame as it would have been nice to have learned a bit about the making of the film. There are, however, a couple of trailers on the disc for some alternative Altitude releases, namely Horrible Histories: The Movie and Armstrong, a documentary about the astronaut of the same name.