Russian wartime blockbuster T-34 was a hit in its native land.  And while it’s receiving a softer release in North America, it deserves to be sought out and seen by movie goers looking for a good action movie.

The film tells a story of a delegated Russian army crew who are practically slaughtered on their mission, with the survivors being captured and taken to a German concentration camp.  As years pass, a tight-knit crew experienced with war vessels (which includes the original Russian survivors) are assembled to fix up a Soviet tank – a T-34.  The workers are under strict watch, but that doesn’t persuade them to not use this opportunity to escape.

The characters in T-34 are not very convincing – they’ve been conceived as two-dimensional personalities.  However, I did believe the chemistry on-screen that fleshes out the brotherhood among the captured Russians.  The audience truly feels like a strong bond is grounding this ensemble.  The action sequences, however, are practically flawless.  Director Aleksey Sidorov over-stylizes tank warfare with tacky slow-motion and dated uses of The Matrix’s “bullet time” tricks, but these details help build towards the meticulous manoeuvres these gargantuan machines have to calculate in order to get the perfect shot.

Don’t go thinking that Sidorov’s film is a deep study of war though.  The more spectacular flare-ups, including the physics within the film’s environments, confirm that T-34 has the heart and soul of a straight-up entertaining action flick.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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