Director: Oleg Pogodin
Screenplay: ?
Producers: ?
Starring: Aleksei Barabash, Semyon Belotserkovskiy, Dmitro Dyachuk
Year: 2009
Country: Russia
Duration: 102 mins

Four men – on opposing sides of a WW2 Russian re-enactment weekend – find themselves transported back to 1944, and into the battle they were about to re-enact. The promo material says that: They came from the present, to alter the past and save the future … Well at least the first part was true. They went back in time – unintentionally – and floundered around a bit until they managed to get home. They were lucky that one of them was a University lecturer who studied the period and knew what was ‘supposed’ to happen in the real history of the time.

Paradox Soldiers did have some interesting points, but on the whole was a mish-mash of styles and themes – existential love-story or thrash metal shoot-‘em up? I just wasn’t sure which. The good: when the four guys (two playing Germans in the re-enactment, and two Ukrainian) went back in time they each faced death by the opposing forces because of the uniforms they wore. Nice touch. The bad: IT MADE NO SENSE.

Time travel by its very nature is prone to paradox but this film made up its own rules – and then didn’t stick to them. Apparently all it takes to go back in time (to the precise moment you’re re-enacting) is getting caught in the explosion of a huge WW2 bomb. And they were. Without a scratch on them. Getting back takes the same device. There was also the fact that two of them had (apparently) gone back in time before (to 1942), but failed to mention this detail to the other guys or explain how that had happened. It seemed almost as if going back 50 or so years was like popping down to the shops: no big deal.

The DVD promotion material suggests that the time-travellers must alter the past to save the future, but none of this comes out in the film. There is a love-triangle element with one of the guys who’d previously gone back in time (?) who then back in 2009 meets the grand-daughter of the child that’s born in 1944 who looks exactly like the woman he was in love with. Phew, what are the chances of that?

The side-kick switches from being a bumbling idiot to gun-toting hero so many times I lost count and the characters of the other two time-travellers were so weak that I ended up not really caring whether they survived or not. Paradox Soldiers had all the hallmarks of being a crackingly good WW2 time travel flick but it just didn’t deliver.

Paradox Soldiers is released on DVD 21st February.

Review by Andy Goodman

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