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“SECRET WEAPON” a Mission of No Return

 

Review By John Delia

An interesting view of WWII the movie Secret Weapon involves a mission of no return. The true story comprises a little known mission that, because of its goal, saved many Russian lives from the German invasion. The locations, costumes/wardrobe, firearms, German trucks and much more adds to the storyline giving it a measure of realism. The film does give the feel of the movie The Dirty Dozen, but considering the low budget production, does not come up to that level. Just as a suggestion, the film is best seen played in Russian with English subtitles to get better expression from the character roles and more realism. It does however, have an option of English dubbing that actually isn’t very convincing playing it that way.

Timofey Tribuntsev as State Security Captain Ermakov in SECRET WEAPON from 4 Digital Media

Held in a Russian prison for derelict of duty, State Security Captain Ermakov (Timofey Tribuntsev) gets called to the Russian commandant’s office of a local military post and given orders to take ten men and two women on a mission. Their objective is to parachute behind German enemy lines and locate a vehicle with an attached BM-13 rocket launcher. If they cannot bring the vehicle out of its location, they are to blow it up so the Germans do not get it to use against the Russian villages on which they are baring down on. Whether they achieve their assignment or not, they are to stay in that area and await further orders.

The unit drops into enemy territory in the middle of the night and sets up the plan. Director and writer Konstantin Statskiy takes his film into some very good locations that emulate an old countryside farming town and loads it up with a large number of uniformed German soldiers. He salts in some villagers wearing period farm wear and then adds in the German trucks, guns and other war equipment. The layout is very good and up to par with most WWII films. He then brings in the Russian squad dressed like the local partisans and plays out his story.

A scene from SECRET WEAPON from 4 Digital Media

While the mission is one that actually happened, there certainly is a lot of Hollywood added in with side stories of gallantry, disturbing violence by the Germans, a little romance and some touching backstories. Statskiv does have all his ducks in a row when it comes to setting up his story, but when he lets it all play out, the film lacks the real feel of war. The dubbing voices have American accents for both sides, the timing is off in some key scenes and no matter how gallant the Russian soldiers, in some cases it looks too easy. Adding a fleeing Jewish young lady and twelve year old boy to show Russian empathy was not a good ploy either. Especially with the Russian Partisans taking advantage of the woman and not protecting the boy.

A scene from SECRET WEAPON from 4 Digital Media

Secret Weapon has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains war violence, attempted rape, brutality, and language. The film is played out in the Russian language with options on the presentation. I recommend you watch the film using the subtitles and the Russian language as it gives a better feel of the characters and their mission impossible.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Very interesting, but not the best war story out there for home entertainment. (2 out of 5 Stars)

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Timofey Tribuntsev, Polina Polyakova, Aleksandr Ustyugov, Anatoly Gushin
Directed and Written by: Konstantin Statskiy
Genre: Historical, Action, War, Drama, Foreign
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, violence, brutality
Running Time: 1 hr. 37 min.
Video Release Date: July 21, 2020
Language: Russian with English Subtitles (Changeable to English Dubbed Language)
Reviewed Format: DVD
Audio: Dolby Surround Sound 5.1 or Stereo 2.0
Video: 16×9, Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Number of Disc. 1 disc
Distributed by: 4 Digital Media
Released on: DVD

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