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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1612 mixes history with mystical and legendary elements
1612 takes place during a time of trouble in Russia and is loosely based on history. It could be called the "time of trouble" because a foreign army is occupying the country but also because there isn't clear leadership to bring them out of the mess. The film doesn't try to be a strict historical film but an adventure that will capture the hearts of the audience. The...
Published on 13 Sep 2009 by Richard J. Brzostek

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81 of 85 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an Epic
This is OK and worth watching.
However it not the battle strewn epic the marketing suggests.
"Let Battle Commence" it says on the front of the DVD with a suitably impressive armoured knight front and centre - this is the only place he appears.
There is one skirmish early on and a micro battle seiging a walled town , a strange mix of bloody action and comic...
Published on 2 Aug 2011 by Far Away


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81 of 85 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an Epic, 2 Aug 2011
By 
Far Away (Phu Wiang.Thailand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 1612 [DVD] (DVD)
This is OK and worth watching.
However it not the battle strewn epic the marketing suggests.
"Let Battle Commence" it says on the front of the DVD with a suitably impressive armoured knight front and centre - this is the only place he appears.
There is one skirmish early on and a micro battle seiging a walled town , a strange mix of bloody action and comic whimsy and that is it for the "brutal and gory battle scenes" proclaimed on the reverse of the box with 3 stirring action shots.
It is a sort of an unrequited love story/sort of "a mans got to do what a mans got to do" based loosely on historical fact.The female lead - Tsarina Kseniya Godunova did really exist, but suffered a far worse fate and was never involved with the invading Poles,the other main characters similarily have been "adapted".
The upcoming battle of Moscow which I was expecting as the centre piece of the film is shown as at best a 5 minute cavalry charge,a majour letdown.
This a Fantasy film ,the character storylines not very credible, with a bit of a low budget feel to it, set in an interesting period in history but could have been a lot better, which is a shame..
If you enjoy historical films I would wait for the price to drop a bit more then it would be decent buy.But beware it does not do what it says on the tin (box).
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1612 mixes history with mystical and legendary elements, 13 Sep 2009
By 
Richard J. Brzostek (New England, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1612 [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
1612 takes place during a time of trouble in Russia and is loosely based on history. It could be called the "time of trouble" because a foreign army is occupying the country but also because there isn't clear leadership to bring them out of the mess. The film doesn't try to be a strict historical film but an adventure that will capture the hearts of the audience. The movie mixes history with mystical and legendary elements; namely, one reoccurring subject is that of unicorns. Even with that said, I could say with a straight face that it doesn't go too far with this into fairly tale land as most parts with unicorns are in dreams or visions.

Polish invaders murdered the royal family but the Polish Hetman (Michal Zebrowski) spared the life of Princess Kseniya, whom he loves and sees as a way to become Czar himself. Andrei (Pyotr Kislov), who also loves Kseniya, ends up as a servant and then mercenary of the Polish Hetman, witnessed the murders and makes it his goal to overthrow the invaders and free the Princess. The love triangle between the three is the crux of much of the conflict.

The villains of this story are the Poles, who wear armor with wings giving them the look of angels, but they strike with fierceness that is more demonic than angelic. Interestingly enough, the Polish Hetman is actually a famous Polish actor, which adds a bit to the realism to the film. To some degree this film is anti-Polish in nature and is not entirely historically accurate but we are reminded that this movie isn't a documentary from time to time by the unicorns. Even with that said, I still think the movie is a lot of fun.

1612 rivals the best historical films in both story and special effects. The action doesn't slow down between the duels, skirmishes, and sieges. I think 1612 particularly excels in showing cannon warfare, in which there is quite a bit of in this movie. I would say 1612 would get an "R" rating by American standards for showing some nudity and quite a bit of violence that doesn't spare us the goriness of war.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Russian Historical Epic, 29 July 2011
By 
Tommy Dooley "Tom" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1612 [DVD] (DVD)
This film is set at the beginning of the 17th century when Russia had a severe crisis over who was to inherit the throne after the Tsar died. There are many contenders but none too genuine. This was called the time of `chaos' as the people are leaderless, and the Poles had invaded Russia. Their Hetman (Michel Zebrowski) has captured the Tsarina Kseniya Godunova. He has fallen in infatuation with her and sees marriage to her as a way to legitimise his false claim to the throne. Throw into the mix a lowly serf Andrei played by Pyotr Kislov, he really does love the Tsarina and through guile and cunning sets about saving her and in the long run, Russia too.

The opening sequences start in 1605 and we get a pocket `history' lesson to take us up to date. This is not a true history lesson though and quite happily mixes up faith, mysticism and myth with all the action. We have a holy man who won't come down from his tree until the chaos has ended, lots of iconography (very Russ indeed) and a recurring theme of Unicorns. Whilst we are thrown into the current plight of the characters, the missing detail is told in vivid flashback, so by about half way through you get to understand the real histories of those involved and the attraction Andrei has for the Tsarina.

This has been criticised for being anti -Polish, well of course it is, this is a Russian film and the Poles are the enemy. They do get the best costumes though, they are all armoured up and wear wings to give them the look of avenging angels. That is one of the many strengths of this film, the costumes are stunning. Add to that the overall excellent cinematography and attention to detail and this makes for a real visual feast.

There is buckets of action too and it is done really well, the CGI that had to be used in places is so good that you really don't notice and as good special effects should do, it actually adds to the emotional upsurge that was intended. Look out for the siege sequences, they are brilliant. My only complaint is around the subtitles, not everything is translated especially the Italian parts; and on occasion the Russian translation is over the English translation, making it virtually impossible to read.

That aside, this is a rollercoaster of a film, with action, intrigue, romance and a ruddy great story with excellent performances all round quite like 'Iron Lord' Iron Lord [DVD]. Vladimir Khotinenko has done a masterful job in the direction of this film, and at 143 minutes has done superbly to keep the momentum up throughout. If you like action films based on historical events, then you will not be disappointed. If you want a history lesson this is not for you, but I thought it was just excellent and intend to watch again very soon.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smuta, 11 Dec 2011
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1612 [DVD] (DVD)
This is a shamelessly nationalistic tale of Muscovy in its Time Of Troubles. Opening with a splendidly nasty episode on the False Dmitri it views Russia through a group of travelling mercenaries and their slave, a plucky serf in love with a daughter of the last tsar. The villains are the Polish forces then in Moscow and their signature warriors the Husaria (armoured cavalry with splendid eagle wing frames on their backs). [The Polish hetman is especially good]. However, although the history is broadly Braveheart level it is also trying to tell a complex tale simply. The result is the siege of a town, lots of sword play, plenty of gore and an amusing take on how tsars are chosen. A lot of care has gone into uniforms and effects, there is a good romantic sub-story and even a magical element.

I enjoyed it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars just OKAY!, 18 April 2012
By 
Tan "PhilipTan's comment" (NL (EUR) & CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1612 [DVD] (DVD)
This movie could have been better if the director knew how to make a good movie. It has an interesting story, with a real historical background.i have finished watching this movie, and yet I did not quite get a good impression. I think because of the acting of some key figures and also the lack of dramatization in the story and in the acting itself. It could have been better, but I can only give it a three star and an OK.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars revieuw dvd 1612, 27 Mar 2012
By 
F. A. B. Jeursen "max immelmann" (Amsterdam Europe) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1612 [DVD] (DVD)
A nicely exaggerated and hysterical movie, very typically Russian
I was surprised to hear the musketeers that besieged the city speak DUTCH,
all in all with good battle scenes and a bashful maiden of which there were
precious few in Russia at the times methinks. Fortunately no happy end with much (arghh) love and ogling, nice entertainment when you have just been watching a political program on television and are in a mood to smash in the heads of a few
treacherous ministers and corrupt party politicians.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Russian historical epic, 30 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. P. Johnson "Pete Johnson" (Norfolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1612 [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This film is rare to DVD and seems to be available on R1 only. It covers a period when Russia had no ruling dynasty in place, and goes into some detail about the different factions that were trying to gain control of the country, from the Polish invaders, to the Russian pretenders to the throne. If that sounds dull, don't worry. Excellent battle scenes make it a very worthwhile purchase. Historical period detail is first class, though the leading actors are very much in the Russian style, that is somewhat stilted and old-school.The locations reek of authenticity, as does the portrayal of everyday life in a country torn by war.This is a period rarely covered in historical drama (The Last Valley is in a similar period, though some years later)so it is worth the purchase for this aspect alone. If you are a fan of historical war films such as 'Cromwell', 'Barry Lyndon' or 'Mongol', then I have no doubt you will enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A shocker, 7 Aug 2012
By 
Michael Raw (Cumbria, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1612 [DVD] (DVD)
A shocker, I'm afraid. The film lacks dramatic tension and, indeed, the paper-thin plot is hard to follow through inadequate sub-titles. All the participants over-act and the production values, as mentioned by another reviewer, are poor. The assault by cannonade on a walled town is laughably badly-staged and hammily unconvincing. I didn't know quite what to expect, but I was disappointed in this melodramatic con-trick.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quasi Mystical Crunch, 25 April 2012
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1612 [DVD] (DVD)
A film that streamlines a very complicated era of Russian history, by making it pizzazz... very simple.

During this epoch; Russians, Swedes, Poles and Lithuanians were just some of the numerous nationalities jostling for power, within a political vacuum and a geographical space. The political backdrop to the film, connects to the modern era, through providing legitimacy for the Romanov regime. It lasted 300 years, from 1612 until 1917. In between, this romp is portrayed as a semi mystical film, slightly overplayed, about the coming of stability and the need for a Tsar.

Quite why the Russians needed a Tsar to keep them in serfdom is never really explained, unless the bottom line is; they liked being whipped. We see plenty of that in the film. A dutiful platform is created to beam the Romanov's as a truly appointed ethereal deity. A view somewhat belied as the local comittee of Tsarmakers invent geneologies for their would be kings to provide them with some legitimacy.

As a film it is nowhere near as powerful as "Mongols" but it does have some good Johhny Depp moments, as the lead character swashbuckles his way throughout the film, and if you are not imbued in Russian monarchy fever, this is probably the best way to watch it. It has a Pirates of the Caribbean Errol Flynn element mixed in with some graphic carnage, as heads role and he arteries spurt.

War in Russian films is eau naturale, as entrails splurge, arms are severed and bodies rot on spikes. Trying to work out who is who and what side they are on, is all part of the fun, just as it was in real life (read wiki about the time of the troubles). There is however a sense of angst missing in this film, as the tension recedes throughout. Then it becomes easy to second guess the plot. It is after all a love story, but a russian one, so put your american pre-occupations to one side; this is what saves it.

It loses stars because although entertaining with a connection to history, it drifts. The characters however are more than two dimensional, a big plus. The baddie has a heart somewhere under his iron fisted armour as he tries to woo the princess. Meanwhile she suffers him, after being raped, but ideally falls for another man the hero who is besotted with her....Plot done.

For those interested in war, there is a graphic siege and a cavalry charge but these are not the main events. A type of Errol Flynn/Johhny Depp caper is the primary focus and his connection to a former master who appears as a ghost, despite the fact they only knew each other for a month at the most, is the fulcrum. If you want to sit back and enjoy a film that does not entail a great deal of work, still laying beyond the mainstream and you have a large 40 inch TV to read subtitles then this is for you.

Otherwise save your money.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1612, 18 Aug 2011
By 
Jack Eason (Beccles, Suffolk, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 1612 [DVD] (DVD)
Its only fitting that a bloody period in old Russia's history should be told by the Russians themselves. Thank god Hollywood was not involved.

1612 is a violent and bloody movie told in Russian with English subtitles about an equally blood period in Russia's history, the "Time of Chaos", when Russia was leaderless. Her last Tsar had just been murdered and the throne was the prize.

This film covers those chaotic years when a Polish prince sought to become the next Tsar through his marriage to the dead Tsar's sister. But his ambition is thwarted by a serf in love with his wife.

Only the Russian's could come up with a tale like this - part fantasy, part folklore, part truth.

It starts slowly as we meet the main characters, the serf Andrei, his master a Spanish mercenary, a Tatar, the Tsarina Kseniya Godunova, the last of her line, and her husband the Polish pretender. But before you know it you are in the middle of bloody fighting, scenes where a holy-man stands on a platform in a forest seeing and knowing all, and the frequent appearance of a unicorn. Yes, you heard me right - a unicorn.

Needless to say the pretender fails, and as I have come to expect in any Russian tale, Andrei the serf despite winning the day for mother Russia in the battle for Moscow outside the walls of the Kremlin, still remains a serf. And the love of his life Kseniya escapes the hangman's noose by being sent to become a nun.

I give it four stars for the action sequences, particularly the siege of the walled town.
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1612 [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
1612 [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] by Vladimir Khotinenko (DVD - 2009)
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