GUARDIANS [Edinburgh International Film Festival]

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Marshall

Just so we’re clear: yes, this is that Russian superhero movie with the utterly mental trailer you thought looked like the greatest thing ever. And we’re sure you’ll be delighted to learn that the film is just as bonkers as said trailer made it appear.

 

During the 1940s a secret and illegal series of government experiments took place to genetically engineer superhumans. The results of these were Ler, who has psychokinetic power over stone; Ksenia, who can turn invisible; Khan, a swordsman with super speed; and Arsus, who can transform into a bear. Decades later Kuratov, the mad scientist who created them, re-emerges and enacts a diabolical and somewhat nebulous scheme for megalomaniacal power, and the team must assemble and unite to stop him.

 

Or to put it another way, we have Rock Magneto, the Invisible Woman, a hybrid of the Flash and the Winter Soldier, and a wearbear, all going up against a ‘roid-rage Michael Berryman cosplaying as Whiplash. And we’re just getting started. You might be surprised to learn that Guardians isn’t based on an obscure comic series, but is actually an original creation (well, as far as you can realistically refer to its shamelessly derivative inspirations as ‘original’), and takes its basic concept and just runs with it.

 

The film is laden with the kind of comic book histrionics for which films such as these used to be renowned before Marvel came along and made everyone start taking them seriously. The regular action scenes are ridiculously extravagant affairs where the laws of physics are treated as polite suggestions, seeing the Guardians face off with Kuratov’s ‘clone army’ of expendable mooks, and their various abilities realised in a cascade of CG overkill. The team is overseen by possibly the youngest major in military history, an absurdly gorgeous blonde who looks like she just stepped off a fashion runway; the military instillation (*cough*S.H.I.E.L.D.*cough*) that acts as their base of operations is staffed entirely by impossibly attractive twentysomethings; and later on in the film when the team get costume upgrades, Ksenia is given a cleavage-sporting catsuit, the camera lovingly lingering on her slender curves.

 

It seems that the experiments to which the team were subjected also afforded them immortality, as none of them appear to have aged in the decades since, and it’s in this that there are a few faint concessions to characterisation peppered amidst the insanity. The cast must be given credit for delivering ridiculous dialogue with completely straight faces, seeming to understand the need to take everything completely seriously in spite of how demented the entire film is quite clearly intended to be.

 

In all honesty, Guardians is an utterly ridiculous affair completely devoid of anything resembling tact or subtlety, but in spite of this (or, perhaps, because of it) it’s an utter riot of guiltily entertaining big-budget nonsense. And it has a bear with a Gatling gun. What more could you want?

 

GUARDIANS / CERT: TBA / DIRECTOR: SARIK ANDREASYAN / SCREENPLAY: ANDREI GAVRILOV / STARRING: SEBASTIEN SISAK, ANTON PAMPUSHNYY, ALINA LANINA, SANJAR MADI,  VALERIYA SHKIRANDO, STANISLAV SHIRIN / RELEASE DATE: TBA

 

Expected Rating: 8/10

Actual Rating:



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