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3.1 out of 5 stars
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3.1 out of 5 stars
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on 20 April 2017
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I really enjoyed this film I watched a few Russian films lately and this was the better one so far set in the 12th century.
When young prince Alexanders father is killed in mysterious circumstances he finds the reins of power thrown into his hands and the weight of a nation resting upon his shoulders. Sensing the nations weakness, the ferocious neighbouring countries on each side of the princedom raise armies and march on the capital, while traitors within his own empire attempt to poison and dethrone Alexander at his wedding feast. Trapped with no choice other than to fight or meekly surrender and face annihilation, Alexander launches into one of the most desperate and bloodthirsty military campaigns in history.
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This is a Russian take on part of the life of Alexander Yaroslavich Prince of all Novgorod set in the 1240's and played by Anton Pampushny. He faces evil enemies on all sides he has Eric King of Sweden with his Crusader Knights wanting to force the Church of Rome onto the Orthodox Novgoroddians, the Germans who want a land grab and some religious conversion would be nice, and the Tartars who apart from selling their sauce also want tribute in return for not being enslaved.

Problem is he also has some scheming Boyars in his own midst who for their own selfish gain are willing to sell out their Prince. His best friend Ratmir (Igor Botvin) is making eyes at the new princess and he increasingly feels isolated. But according to the blurb `his power was that of Samson and his wisdom that of Solomon'. Well we are going to have to take their word for that as he doesn't get to push over a temple of threaten a baby with dissection, but he is rather handy in a scuffle and he knows how to play a player and so the fun begins.

This is a really good story and is not half bad, but the problem seems to be down to cash or rather the lack of it, some of the scenes could have done with some judicious editing and the extras could have been more plentiful especially in the battle scenes where some clever camera angles are often used to make up for lack of background animation, but not here.

The acting is all above average though no-one was writing an award acceptance speech during post production and there was a fair amount of character development and some on screen chemistry but it is all not developed enough, we just sort of are asked to accept the situation is as portrayed on screen. The music sounded almost 1950's B movie at one point but sort of pulls it back and we have a host of supporting characters from bad hair minstrels, dwarves who fight over a chicken, a village idiot related to God and some severely bad mullets.

This still ain't a bad effort and kept me entertained for the most part, only a couple of scenes were annoying and it was just 110 minutes and we all know some Russian films tend to stretch the point a bit and out stay their welcome, this for the most part did not. Director Igor Kalynov has made the most out of what he had to work with and if you like an historical tale with a couple of fights thrown in then this may for you.
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VINE VOICEon 15 March 2013
Russians can make such good films, so it is simply annoying that they also make some as bad as this. The early years of Alexander Nevsky may have been a turmoil of internal politics, and threats from Swedes, Germans, and Mongols alike: but do they have to be so dull? Most of the film plays like an episode of 'Cadfael', with about as much historical accuracy and tension. The action scenes resemble the old 'Robin Hood' TV series, with constant jump cuts, slo-mo effects, and anything thrown in, all to detract from the lack of extras, and the restricted budget.
The usual Russian acting style of hamming it up, wide-eyed and shouting, is done to death here, with a ridiculous soundtrack not helping matters, as it 'tells' you when to be excited, or to expect dramatic events.
The lead actor as Alexander, and the one playing his best friend, resemble the Gibb brothers from the Bee Gees, all bouffant hair, and neat designer beards, giving the whole thing a 1980's feel, rather than 13th Century gravitas. Even as a comedy , it just doesn't work. Despite the current small asking price, I am afraid that it is still £2.43 too much.
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Very much in the same school as "1612" this is patriotic Russian cinema at its fullest. Well shot in the yellow light of a Russian summer with lots of trees and lots of wooden buildings; there has been plenty spent on kit and on extras. The goodies and baddies are clearly identified (it's the Swedes this time) and there's lots of court intrigue, a Sir Lancelot figure, and a big fight at the end. The plot is pretty simple but with lots of side sub-plots to keep you busy. Somewhere between A Game Of Thrones and Braveheart.
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on 2 March 2012
Russian historical action movie focussing on the struggle of a young Prince Alexander desperately defending his homeland. Following the death of his father, Alexander (Anton Pampushny) finds himself facing serious challenges to his rule. His kingdom (Novgorod) is coveted by the Swedes and the Germans so with little choice but to fight or surrender Alexander embarks on a military campaign to consolidate his power. Worth sticking with if you enjoy medieval genre battle field movies. But beware this movie has subtitles and has an abrupt ending.
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VINE VOICEon 1 August 2012
This is a workmanlike retelling of the early life of Alexander Nevsky as we now know him and how he came to get his surname. There's plenty of sword-play and behind the scenes skullduggery featuring Germans and Swedes and dodgy boyers at home in Novgorod. I thought that the battle scenes were quite well done although the final battle is a little drawn out but perhaps it's meant to be.

Not too many special effects as far as I could see. I've noticed that quite a few of these Russian movies rely on compuetr graphics to generate scenes of Moscow/Kiev/Warsaw wherever with thousands of warriors gazing upon it in quite an obvious way.

Alexander is very much the good guy, dispensing justice in an equal handed way and giving the Mongol envoy fairly short shrift as he does in Eisenstein's film. He does seem a little one dimensional at times but after all he does end up a saint.

The little blurb at the end seems to hint that there may be a second film in the offing, this time fighting the Germans, so possibly a remake of Alexander Nevsky. If that turns out to be true, I'll certainly get a copy of it based on this one.
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on 3 July 2013
Its not a bad movie, it just lacks big budget ambition and good acting. It is good story telling though and ticks all of the boxes which recount the history and all of the myths surrounding the younger Alexander Nevsky. It basically justifies how the Swedes and Teutonic Knights tried to enforce Roman Catholicism on Mother Russia and Orthodoxy via a crusade which was planned with the underhand help of the Boyars. The battle scenes are OK but not very spectacular and many of the main characters are wooden with the better actors playing the Boyars, Swedes and Germans. If you wish to know how Alexander was named, how Mother Russia was saved and how life may have been in 13th century Russia, then this movie is good propaganda.
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on 18 June 2015
Yet another film about the evil Roman Catholic empire trying to destroy Russian Orthodoxy.

Prince Alexander controls the only significant free province in Russia at this time. The Northern province of Novograd. The other provinces either being under the control of the Catholic powers or the Mongols. The main threats are the Crusading Teutonic kngihts, The Swedes and Internal russian enemies, who are happy to convert to Catholicism for personal gain. In this story the Germans act as spies, and it is the Swedes who launch an invasion. The Mongols see the Catholics as a shared enemy so only ask for tribute from Novograd.

Normally Russian period heroes are brutish. Alexandar, is more of an Erol Flynn, type character; handsome, charismatic and sly. He is of course great in combat, but he doesn't enjoy killing. His compassion made him popular with the masses , but was unpopular with the aristocrats of Russia. Alexander was also notable for being very young. He was only 19 at the time of the Swedish landing.

Rome petitioned Alexander repeatedly to convert, expecting him to comply given his very weak position. However he did not. In the film he held out for religious reasons, but there is also a slight admittance that another reason was that he and his supporters simply did not trust his enemies not to grab his territory even if he did convert. The Crusaders had a very long history of stealing land.

The script is romantic and yet vulgar. The opening scene is pure Robin Hood. A wandering knight is being attacked by bandits and who comes along, but Prince Alexander and a few of his merry men to dive in and show their fighting prowess. From then on there is a lot of political intrigue. Finally there is a battle, the outcome of which belongs to history.

Alexander's new bride is lusted after by his best friend. This causes some friction, but don't expect an Arthurian romance.

The fight scenes are not well staged, and quite confusing because of it. I suspect the budget for the film was very modest and that limited what could be done. In truth the battle against the Swede was small in military terms. Alexander's groundbreaking victory again the heavily armoured German Knights using only an army of peasant foot soldiers, is not covered by this film.

The film isn't great entertainment, but what saves it from a negative rating is the historical interest value. Alexander's acheivements had a huge impact on European history and amongst ordinary Russian's he remains their most popular hero. It is a shame that he is so unfamiliar to the west.

Eisenstein's "Alexander Nevsky" is a good alternative to this film if you don't mind watching in black and white.
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on 25 February 2016
The title indicates a story about Alexander the Great. That is misleading as it covers a short period of an attempted Swedish invasion which Alexander's forces decisively repelled. Generally, I care little for a historical story being distracted with a romance angle as this movie has been, Overall, it is an engaging movie in terms of court intrigue, traitorous boyars and begs for a sequel to depict the story of the later Teutonic Knights of the Black Cross who occupied Livonia.

Whilst Alexander is portrayed as shrewd warrior he certainly was not portrayed as any saint. Perhaps the film attempted to depict Alexander as a defender of the Orthodox faith being assailed by Western forces which for many centuries include Livonian Teutons, Poles,the subsequent Polish/Lithuanian Commonwealth and Swedes. However, how Alexander's city and subjects escaped a Tatar attack which the rest of Russia suffered is not fully explained. But, overall the movie is worth watching for a slight insight into Russian history, realistic battle scenes and a good plot.
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