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Burnt By the Sun 3
on 16 July 2013
Citadel is being billed as `Burnt by the Sun 2' but is actually the final part in Nikita Mikhalkov's trilogy that started with the original Oscar winning `Burnt by the sun' way back in 1994. Then it returned with `Exodus - Burnt by the Sun 2' (2010) yes it is called number two too and to be honest it was a right load of plop so describing that one as a `number two' is the most accurate. But still irritating numerology aside this one is actually miles better - still not as good as the first one but follow ups rarely are.
This time we see Mikhalkov playing the beleaguered Commander Kotov who has been imprisoned, fallen from grace and is now in a penal battalion being forced to take a German stronghold called The Citadel in what is a suicide charge. Stalin's Order 227 `Not a step back' is used to great effect and the use of anti retreat units which all actually happened. Kotov's daughter who famously got out her breasts in the last one for a dying soldiers last wish, has returned and this time, thankfully, manages to keep her kit on. She has lost her voice though due to trauma, and I am guessing that was a result of the terrible script from the last film.
She is a nurse and a pioneer and still gets into numerous scrapes but everything is believable this time. We have more or less the same actors as before and there are flash backs to part 1and this time Kotov, as part of his rehabilitation, gets to meet Stalin. This is played with delicious malevolence by Maksim Sukhanov who played him in the last one too. He also finally makes it home but then finds he has to fight to get back his good name and reputation which ultimately leads back to the Citadel of the title.
There is some CGI of the planes etc and some good action scenes but this is more thoughtful and reflective similar to the original and has been heavily edited for the foreign market as in Russia this is to be a TV mini series, it still runs to 150 minutes though. It is in Russian with good sub titles and is generally well acted, directed and good production values. This production does stand up in its own right and is a better tribute to Mikhalkov's abilities and I think it is a fine end to the story so am going for 4 stars but I am feeling generous today.