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M. Wenzl "harlequin21"

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Halo 2
Halo 2

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Defining a Genre, 15 Dec 2004
This review is from: Halo 2 (Video Game)
When an exceptional, original game or film comes out, it's often very difficult to beat its brilliance with a sequel. What usually makes sequels fail is that they lack the substance which the original has. Furthermore, sequels are often highly anticipated but are an anti-climax to the eager fans. For some, Halo 2 is one of these cases. However, even if it is, it cannot be denied that Halo 2 is cinematically mind blowing, its gameplay is amazing, its graphics superb and the story in even greater depth than before.
I hold the two Halos in the same league; both are top notch. The first Halo was open-ended - you could man vehicles, use Marines, fly into the thick of battle in Pellicans . . . Halo 2 takes this to the extreme. Not only can you man vehicles, you can board enemy vehicles in the thick of battle and smoke them out. You'll be simply overwhelmed by it. You can pick up duel weapons now and the battles are just as intense, if not more intense than the original.
This time round you're still fighting the Covenant but closer to home. They've regrouped after the destruction of the first Halo ring and they're coming back in bigger mass than before. This isn't up to groups of Spec Ops anymore - it's up to brute force and tactics.
What is unique about this game is that all the levels are thrilling. More so even than the first one. But the advantage that Halo has over its sucessor is that it has much more replay quality. Halo 2 is adrenalin pumping the first time you play it, as you're holed up in a building and a massive Covenant Scarab grinds in and you have to jump on top of it. First time you play it, with the volume at maximum, the moment as you jump on board is priceless; next few times it starts to lose its replay quality which is a shame. Ultimately, Halo 2 does have better levels but the game is shorter. You will be thrilled when you have to defend earth, speeding through metropolitan tunnels on a warthog, pursuing a Covenant tank column or when you're slowly driving over a bridge which is like a modernised Golden Gate of San Francisco in a tank, annihalating Covenant land speeders with your heavy gun.
The same old characters are back; Master Chief, Cortana, Sergeant Johnson but theres the new addition of the daughter of the Captain in the original. Last but not least, your loyal band of Marines are still with you. The weapons have also been improved; the blaster rifle is louder and more accurate like an assault rifle, the shotguns, the bazooka and the legendary pistols are still there but now there's also a light SMG along with a whole arsenal of Covenant weapons to pick up along the way, including the old plasma rifle and Covenant carbine.
Halo 2 is not only from the point of view of the Master Chief now. It's also seen from the eyes of a disgraced Arbiter of the Covenant, the commander who could not stop the destruction of the first Halo ring. In the stunning cut sequences, you see him branded a Heretic but then pardoned but sent on suicidal missions with the elites, members of the Covenant who are slowly losing favour with their leaders, the Prophets. You will engage in dogfights against Covenant that are described to be "the real heretics". The cutscenes, seeing the comradeship between the Covenant, is one of those moments which will bring tears to your eyes. An added bonus . . . you can now use energy blades.
When you play Halo 2 you will be amazed by its sheer scale and it will leave panoramic images with you; the gritty action, the dying aliens, the one liners and the varied levels. The only problem is that, even though for a deep game, it's too short and you will have completed it within a few days of purchase. It's not a breakthrough in gaming like Halo and Half-Life were, but more of a game which defines the brilliance of its genre.
A game that's short but amazingly sweet . . . live the experience.


21 Grams [DVD] [2004]
21 Grams [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Sean Penn
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.74

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "How much does 21 grams weigh?", 11 Dec 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 21 Grams [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Bound together by one incident, three totally different people; Paul (Sean Penn), Cristina (Naomi Watts) and Jack (Benico Del Toro). Paul is a man who is slowly dying from heart failure; Cristina is a wife and mother of two; Jack is a religious ex-convict with a long criminal record. Incidentally, they are bound together by a car accident.The film is split into the past and present, telling the story from the start, but interspersing it with sequences which are to come.
Directed by Mexican Alejandro González Iñárritu, 21 Grams deals with the raw emotion of a person. It is a very human film, portraying passion and emotion at its most real with some superb acting and extreme camera close ups. As a film, it is immensely hard hitting and as the film approaches its final climax, everything, all the sequences that are shown earlier are tied together and it all makes sense. Unlike many films, 21 Grams shows killing to be heavy, a weight on the conscience. You will find that at the end of the film you will have a strange feeling of enlightenment. 21 Grams is a film that you should only really watch on your own to appreciate the power and emotion of it. The simple music and the way it is filmed with hand held cameras makes it so melancholic and powerful against dusty Mexican-type countrysides, suburban towns, congested motorways, intense clubs, dank, grim prisons, cheap motels and hospitals drenched in the irony of life.
One of the fascinating parts of the film is the title; 21 Grams. It is said, that when you die, you lose 21 grams of body weight which is believed to be the weight of ones soul.
21 Grams is easily one of, if not the best film of 2004. If you appreciate meangingful and powerful films, I highly recommend it. The story is superbly crafted and brought together with gripping, solemn imagery. This is one of the films you have to see before you die.


The Godfather Trilogy (5 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
The Godfather Trilogy (5 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Marlon Brando
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £29.79

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We don't discuss business at the table", 3 Dec 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Before you even think about buying Goodfellas or Casino, you must buy the Godfather. Mafia films such as these are brilliant, but do not match up to the beauty of the Godfather. Directed by Frances Ford-Coppola and based on the book by Mario Puzo, the Godfather is one of the best trilogys ever alongside Lord of the Rings and the original Star Wars. Set in three parts, each its own story, not a continuation, the Godfather is not just about the Mafia; the Mafia are the sub plot - family love and trust is the story.
Godfather Part I (1972) - Starring Marlon Brando as the old Mafia Don, Vito Corleone, the first of the three films, set in the late 40s to the mid 50s, is a study of the Cosa Nostra and how far family go for each other. This made Al Pacino who plays the reserved youngest son of the Don, Michael. Other co-starring actors are James Caan as the fiery oldest son, Robert Duvall as the adopted son, John Cazale as the innocent, warm hearted son, Taila Shire (Coppola's sister) as the whiny, annoying daughter, Diane Keaton as Michael's anxious and detached girlfriend and Richard Castellano as the fat, loyal henchman. This is the film that made crime a genre.
Godfather Part II (1974) - Following Part 1, the second artistic masterpiece of the Godfather trilogy illustrates how power can corrupt even the most innocent. Like the first part, it's sentimental and beautiful. It runs from the mid 50s to the 60s but there is an added bonus; a young Robert De Niro stars alongside Al Pacino as a young Vito Corleone who journeyed from the Mafia infested island of Sicily, his family murdered. It shows his rise to power (the epic scene of the rooftop stalk is a must see) and his return to Sicily for revenge.
Godfather Part III (1990) - An underrated film, the finale of the Godfathers shows the fall of Michael Corleone. Set in the late 70s, Michael Corleone is already an old man and has no son to pass his title onto until he stumbles across a lost nephew, played by a young Andy Garcia. Michael returns to Sicily where he wants to die. The film features Diane Keaton and Tailia Shire, as well as Eli Wallach but also Bridget Monoghan, Joe Montagna and Sofia Ford-Coppolla. The films climax is moving and abrupt. Although inferior to the other two, Part III is different yet maintains the same beauty as the rest of the trilogy.
The Godfather Trilogy gets better every time you watch it. The trilogy is not a gun-toting film like films such as Scarface, but the power is in the words and imagery. The music, composed by the late Nino Rota, is beautiful, featuring the infamous Godfather Waltz. The acting is superb and the film leaves the famous scenes in your head; the horse's head. The film is far superior to the book because it is less of a documentary. Watch the films before you read the book.
These are some of the best films ever made that you should definately see before you die. Films packed with power, emotion, brutality, love and sentimentality.


The Passion of the Christ [DVD] [2004]
The Passion of the Christ [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ James Caviezel|Maia Morgenstern|Monica Bellucci
Offered by Jasuli
Price: £9.95

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do", 13 Oct 2004
Whenever a historically challenging film or blockbuster comes out in cinemas there is always a lot of hype about it. With the Passion of the Christ (subtitles due to Aramaic and Latin script) there was an enormous amount of criticism about it being anti-semetic. The Passion of the Christ is not anti-semetic in any way at all. You have to consider that the Jewish Priests were the ones who wanted Jesus dead. That's history and even the bible says so. The Germans could easily complain when films are made about them in WW2 (Schindler's List) but the world has to be overly sensitive and complain when another religion is pinpointed in a film. I found the film was very loyal to the bible, beautifully portrayed and directed. People need to accept that it is only a film.
The film itself is a film which you can only really watch once. I found that the beginning, where Jesus (Jim Caviezel) is in the Garden of Gethsemane, dealing with his passion, is superbly made. The beginning gets a lot across. It says that Jesus is divine. You get a good grasp of society in Roman times and the actors who plays the High Priests are excellent in their roles. Judas' (Luca Lionello) madness is also very well done.
The crucifixion itself is quite draining to watch. People say that the film is violent but I didn't think that. It was just brutal and it gets you thinking why people can be so cruel to one another. Although it was roughly what happened, the march up the hill does get tedious but is superbly put together; it shows Jesus walking through crowds of jeering people, then has a brief clip of a week ago, when he was walking the same path and the people were welcoming him to Jerusalem warmly. It uses it as an opportunity to bring in characters such as the Virgin Mary (Maia Morgenstern) in more detail as she tries to help her son but is beaten away.
The crucifixion is gritty and gripping to watch. There's a sense of, having seen Jesus trudge up the hill, that you want his pain to end. The crucifixion takes a lot of artistic license (a robber crucified with Jesus jeers at him, but has his eye pecked out by a crow; the Temple collapses on itself when Jesus dies) and I thought that could have been left out.
The most interesting parts of the film, apart from the beginning), is how the Devil is interpreted. The Devil is portrayed as a bald being, whose sexuality you don't know, making it all the more chilling. It rarely speaks but in the Garden of Gethsemane but always looms. When Jesus is being flogged, you see the Devil in the crowd, stroking a demonic baby that has the appearance of an old man, suggesting that he is the son of the Devil and that the child could be as powerful as Jesus and that dark is as powerful as light (heaven and hell).
The scenes with Pontius Pilate (Hristo Shopov) are very well acted and it shows Pilate to be relucant but at the same time the pressures he faces from the potentially rebellious Jews wanting Jesus dead and from Rome. You see the relationship with his wife, Claudia (Claudia Gerini), something I never knew of.
The buildup to Jesus' crucifixtion is certainly the best part of the film to watch. How he is put on trial by the High Priests, Judas' madness, Peter's denial, flashbacks, Pilate's sequence and King Herod's trial. You see everyone to be very narrow minded and unaware, a reflection of society today.
This is a film which is hard to rate. It's powerful, gripping and epic, but you can't really give it a number of stars. I don't think the film is meant to be entertaining but to show us what Jesus suffered.
This film is definately worth watching, but only if you're going to appreciate it and not be biased. It is a nasterpiece of modern filming, superbly directed, cast and acted. Some of the cinematography is amazing. See for yourself.
Fair and true to the bible. One of the films that has to be seen.


Heat: MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE
Heat: MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE
Price: £7.41

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fits the film like a glove, 3 Sep 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Heat is a very modernistic and retro feeling film, with the music to match. The soundtrack, by Elliot Gouldenthal, blends in with Michael Mann's crime saga superbly.
There is a broad range of music on the CD, ranging from U2 to the vocals of Lisa Gerrard to the Kronos Quartet. The music is such that you is best to listen to on your own, rather in the company of other people. It's a relatively relaxing soundtrack and the music is all good. You might notice though, in the film, some of the tracks that you hear are not featured or are used for a few seconds so some of the tracks may be unfamiliar ground.
My own personal favorite tracks are:
Heat - the main theme, a sort of calm leading to the storm soundtrack, which builds up to a great, suspenseful climax in music that is used when the characters do their heists.
New Dawn Fades - Moby are looked down upon, but this track is really good with a mix of electric guitar and vocals. It's used in the scene where Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) is tailing Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro) up the motorway.
Force Marker - three and a half minutes of heist music from when they rob the bank in the film. All more or less the same for the duration of the track, but is addictive and should make your toes tap.
Gloradin - Lisa Gerrard's (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down) queue to chime in with sentimental vocals that sound really good and works well with the film.
God Moving Over The Face Of Waters - the finale to the film. Performed by Moby, the final track on the CD is a group of pianos and string instruments that feels very refreshing when you listen to it.
On the whole, this soundtrack is very enjoyable and I'd recommend to most people, although I find this sort of soundtrack easier to appreiciate if you've seen the film - which you should, of course.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2011 3:42 PM GMT


True Romance : Special Edition [DVD] [1993]
True Romance : Special Edition [DVD] [1993]
Dvd ~ Christian Slater
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £7.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Mister Majestyk?", 28 Aug 2004
The great virtue of Quentin Tarantino's films are that he gets a massive cast together. Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, the Kill Bill Duo; True Romance wasn't directed by Tarantino by he wrote the script and this film, directed by Tony Scott (Top Gun), has slipped through the Tarantino net.
This complete film is Tarantino except the way it's filmed. There's a different style in the filming, but the amazing cast get together, the long scenes and the story is very Quentin Tarantino style.
True Romance focuses around a young man, Clarence (Christian Slater), who works in a record shop. One night he meets a woman, Alabama (Patricia Arquette) who turns out to be a rookie call girl but the couple fall in love. There's just one problem; Alabama's crazy pimp, Drexyl (Gary Oldman), a white man who's basically turned black. Clarence, eager to get Alabama away from prostitution, kills Drexyl and, thinking he has Alabama's suitcase, they find out that contains cocaine so they flee down towards L.A. The cocaine, however, belongs to a Mafia Don, Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken) and he's determined to take his revenge by whatever means necessary. Eventually, when the LAPD catch onto the gist of what's happening, they involve themselves in dealing with the matter.
The cast is amazing. It includes Dennis Hopper (Clarence's Father), Val Kilmer (Clarence's Mentor in an image of Elvis), Samuel L. Jackson (Big Don, a friend of Drexyl), Chris Penn and Tom Sizemore (the two cops in charge of investigation), James Gandolfini (a Mafia henchman) and Brad Pitt (a laid back room mate). Ultimately, they all play short roles but all pave the way in the story.
There are many classic scenes as well. The gunfight at the end, Dennis Hopper's confrontation with Don Coccotti, James Gandolfini on a Mafia beat-up call and Brad Pitt's cameo.
The film, like any Tarantino involved film, is blessed with wit. Brad Pitt is comical as the couch potato room mate who spends his entire day indoors. Elliott, a later friend of Clarence's, is nervous and stupid yet thinks he's an amazing actor.
Ultimately, the aftermath of the gunfight is quite sad and is spawned by the fury of a film producer who lashes out at Elliott who has set him up. You see some likeable characters die in those last chaotic five minutes.
What makes the film so good, and Quentin Tarantino is skilled in making this work, the characters are not paper thin. Though the talented actors have minor roles, the characters are strong and charismatic. It's great to have a hero you can like in the fim. True Romance is Christian Slater's best performance.
This is a film that you must buy because of its complete fairytale charisma and wit.


Call of Duty: Game of the Year Edition (PC)
Call of Duty: Game of the Year Edition (PC)

80 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Type Of Gaming, 22 Aug 2004
This is a game that should set targets for developers. Forget that Americanised turd of Medal of Honor, this is what you should splash out on.

Call of Duty introduces a new kind of war gaming. Compared to the lone wanderer of other first-person shooters, you are just one (admittedly very skilled) member of squad. This approach immerses you in what really feel like full-scale battles. But what you have to love about this game is that it borrows so heavily from the films all war buffs love. The final battle in Saving Private Ryan is similar to an earlier level in the game. Other levels could be lifted right out of Band Of Brothers and, later on in the game, when you play as the Russians and British, there are missions which loudly pay tribute to films like Enemy at the Gates and The Longest Day.

I think this is a breakthrough in gaming to have. For once we don't just have to play as an American in Normandy. Sure, the paratrooper operations in Normandy are compelling enough to play but have sadly become cliched through Medal Of Honor. But Call of Duty introduces a mother load of variety: you will defend Pegasus Bridge with a company of British paratroopers - this was a real battle and is the same as the location in Normandy. You'll have a dramatic opening to the Russian campaign in a steamer crossing the Volga river as in Enemy At The Gates. Wicked. Then, later on, you have the chance to defend the legendary "Pavlov's House", another real occurance that took place in Stalingrad.

The weapons are actually good in this game. You don't just use a Thompson and M1 Garand all the time. You see a wider selection: the British Sten and Bren guns, the Russian PPsH S.M.G, the German Panzerfaust and you'll see plenty of anti-tank rifles scattered around on some levels. It's one of those games where you can only have two guns with you at once which makes it so much more real and gives some suspense when you, say, have to leg it for some more ammo stashed by your quartermaster in a ruined house.

Admittedly, there are some Medal Of Honor-esque levels. In one particular mission you have to blow up a damn and kill Germans by the hundred. Sadly, these missions just aren't as fun as the others. But when you are engaged in an epic battle, it's refreshingly immersive and there's a novelty fighting alongside your comrades.

The Germans are for once not immaculately uniformed. They're as scruffy as your own men so you're not fighting the stereotypical soldiers with the jackboots. However, it would be nice to see a game be made where for once you are a German fighting in Stalingrad or Normandy because it's more original and I think would attract quite an audience. Some of what I've heard happen in war to German troops is as interesting as any other record of war experiences.

Anyway, a game with fantastic atmosphere and environments, as well as missions that borrow from films. What more could you want? If you're a WW2 lover or even general war buff, this should be bought because of the originality and historical atmosphere.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 9, 2010 10:12 AM BST


Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (PS2)
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (PS2)
Offered by multimedia-online
Price: £9.49

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a waste, 22 Aug 2004
I was never a massive fan of the Medal of Honor games because they were unreal and too easy. I own Allied Assault on PC and have played Frontline, but I decided, when bored one day, to rent Rising Sun.
The graphics are extremely avergage, the guns are dull and the levels are so horribly linear the developers should shame themselves. Pearl Harbour was hyped up to be great but you're only shooting down planes with a BAR for 2 minutes before being blown away into the water.
I completed the game in a night and I'm a very average game player. It was easy but at the same time as boring as hell. The AI is awful. For example, a Japanese soldier would charge at you, bayonet fixed, not stopping. Sometimes when it seems more logical to shoot they just dart at you mindlessly.
This game is unrealistic and, apart from the D-Day landings in the original two games, I don't see why there should be so much hype about these games. Sure, they capture the atmosphere of WW2 all right, but they're just plain silly. You have no choices to make apart from whether to throw a grenade over the crest of a hill or charge up heroically. There is just one designated path to go by on each level. It's these sorts of games where you get lost in the scenery because there is no choice in what route you should take.
Don't waste good money on a game that will last a day and leave you with no satisfaction. If you want to play proper war games, have a go at Call Of Duty (you actually have team mates in that) or Operation Flashpoint for the sheer choice (if you're willing to tolerate foolish comrades).
Do yourself a favour; don't buy this game. It's the worst war game I've played in some time.


A Bridge Too Far (2 Disc Special Edition) [1977] [DVD]
A Bridge Too Far (2 Disc Special Edition) [1977] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £8.43

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We haven't the proper facilities to take you all prisoner!", 15 Aug 2004
Operation Market Garden was the biggest airborne operation of all time. It was one of the biggest operations of the war, because victory meant that the war could be over by Christmas, four months after the Operation ended, as General Browning (Dirk Bogarde) explains at the beginning of the film.
Based on the book of the same name by Cornelius Ryan, A Bridge Too Far tells the story of the soldiers who embarked on the operation - which ended in disaster.
Three Airborne divisions, two American (101st and 82nd) and the 1st British Airborne would drop into Dutch three towns. The 10st in the southern town of Eindhoven, the 82nd in the mid town of Njimegen and the 1st Airborne into the northern town of Arnhem. They had to capture and hold the bridges in the towns and await relief by the motorised XXX corps, commanded by Lt. General Brian Horrocks (Edward Fox) and headed by Lt. Colonel J.O.E Vandaloe (Michael Caine) and his brother, Giles Vandaloe (Michael Byrne in cameo as usual).
The film is graced by an unusually brilliant cast. Sean Connery (General Roy Urqhuat, commander of 1st Airborne), Anthony Hopkins (Johnny Frost), Lawrence Olivier (Dutch Doctor), Maximillian Schell (SS Division commander, Bittrich), Hardy Kruger (SS division commander), Stephen Moore (Urquaht's aide-camp), Alun Armstrong (Airborne trooper), Gene Hackman (General of Polish brigade), James Caan (Gruff American Sergeant), Robert Redford (American paratrooper Major) and Liv Ullman (Dutch resistance).
The film's problems are that, unlike in films like Gettysburg and the Longest Day, you don't see an enormous coverage of the battles. For example, you see hardly anything of the 101st in Eindhoven or how they fought. You only see James Caan saving his wounded Captain and a Colonel seeing the construction of a bailey bridge. There are other similar occurrances in the film, so you think that the great director, Richard Attenborough, should have made the film perhaps 30 minutes longer.
When the film shows detail, it takes it to the fullest. The defence of Arnhem bridge is amazing as a British battalion, commanded by Lt. Colonel Johnny Frost (Anthony Hopkins), fights the persistent German attacks doggedly. You see the area around the bridge be torn apart, from an urban neighbourhood to an utter fortress in a warzone. Splendid.
There is also the crossing of the Rhine River by an American Major (Robert Redford), where his companies of men struggle across the river under intense shelling and continuous machine gun fire. Suspense builds up, especially as the Germans lay charges on Njimegen bridge to prevent the arriving XXX corps from crossing.
The film is moving as well in most aspects, especially as the British paratroopers, being ground down bit by bit, are treated by a Dutch Doctor (Lawrence Olivier) and recently made widow in her home (Liv Ullman). Eventually, when the wounded British prisoners await capture, they sing a hymn.
This film has it all in terms of action, from bombardment of the German Siegfried line by XXX corps at the start, to sneaking around an Arnhem suburb, to dense street fighting against German Panzers, to river crossings, to insane massacre of unsuspecting Polish paratroopers.
Perhaps scaled down by the realism of today's war films, A Bridge Too Far still remains a classic that should have pride of place on your DVD rack.


Enemy at the Gates [2001] [DVD]
Enemy at the Gates [2001] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jude Law
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £3.84

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "In the forest, the wolf lives 3 years, the donkey lives 9", 9 Aug 2004
Stalingrad is a topic in history that is rarely portrayed. It was the most decisive and important battle of WW2 but, until now, was widely overlooked by people.
Enemy At The Gates is the mix of the historical book of accounts that come together to describe the battle, by William Craig and the War of the Rats, a novel about the sniper duel between a Russian sniper and a German super sniper by David L. Robbins.
Enemy At The Gates is a very visual film. It's a type film that has never been tried before which is what makes it interesting.
It tells the story of Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law), a hunter from the Ural Mountains in Eastern Russia, near Siberia, who, having taken down five members of German staff in close to a minute, is taken on to be a hero by Commissar Danilov (Joseph Fiennes). Zaitsev, becoming head of the small Russian sniper division, begins taking out high ranking German officers across the city. Aggravated by this Russian menace, the Germans call in a specialist super sniper from Berlin, Major Koenig (Ed Harris) to kill Zaitsev. A duel, lasting many days as both men learn the other's technique. Recruiting herself into Zaitsev's sniper unit, Tania Chernova (Rachel Weisz) ends up being Zaitsev's lover, but is also admired by Commissar Danilov, who persistently tries to make her work in Stalingrad HQ as an interpreter because she speaks German. Because of her intense dedication to Zaitsev, Tania never hesitates to be at his side to the end . . .
Other cast members are Ron Perlman as a fellow sniper, Nikolai Kulikov (who in real life helped Zaitsev track Koenig), Gabriel Thompson as Sacha, a young Russian boy, like a brother to Tania, who is involved in espionage and spying on the German, in particular, Major Koenig. Bob Hoskins makes a strong role of playing deputy head political officer, Nikita Kruschev (the eventual successor of Stalin when he died).
Enemy At The Gates is a very powerful film. You see many of the horrors of Stalingrad and what lengths soldiers had to go to in order to stay alive. After all, Stalingrad, in the end was a fight for survival, not victory. A scene at the beginning of film when Zaitsev and his fellow soldiers land on the Volga river shores after having experienced heavy Stuka bombing on their steamers and boats. They rally to fight, half of which have no rifles and, being told by their officers "not a step backwards", the motto of Stalingrad, they charge into certain death. Those who retreat are shot dead by fellow machine gunners for cowardice. That portrays how the Russian soldiers, as Commissar Danilov informs Kruschev, that their only choice is between the bullets of the Germans and of the Russians.
Joseph Fiennes and Ed Harris have the most powerful roles in the film. Fiennes' ambition and increasing attraction to Tania is what makes his character just a dever and passionate, making him a perfect commissar. Ed Harris shows Koenig to be a quiet, patient man who is only in Stalingrad to kill one man for his one mission. He is cold, callous and cunning. Jude Law is a good choice for Zaitsev because he has a cool, composed appearence but he is a little to innocently warm hearted to be the actor who takes the film.
This film's disadvantages are that it does not try to be major. You feel that it should have 3 to 4 stars because it is not ambitious, despite the cast. It is a very simple, basic plot and by the end, you don't feel you've learnt much about Stalingrad.
Nonetheless, it is definately worth watching and potentially having. A good cast, a good story and a compelling location.


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