Screened as part of NZIFF 2001
Babyfaced killer Danila heads stateside in the sequel to Alexei Balabanov’s hit Russian gangster thriller, Brother. An altogether pulpier follow-up, Brother 2 once again showcases the easygoing charisma of Sergei Bodrov as the laconic anti-hero. Reunited with his Chechen war buddies on a Moscow television chat show, Danila comes to the aid of Kostya, whose twin brother, a pro-hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks, is being held to ransom by Chicago mobsters. When Kostya ends up dead, Danila and his impulsive older brother make a trans-Atlantic journey for vengeance.
With its vicious nationalistic streak, Balabanov’s film comes across as a riposte to American cultural imperialism – and one that has been extremely well received in Russia. His amusingly wrongheaded vision of the US is seemingly gleaned from the gangster and pimp-ridden streets of B-grade 70s action movies. It’s no wonder Danila can barely wait to head home. Balabanov again scores his film with a moody soundtrack of his hero’s beloved Russian heavy metal. He counterpoints this with the droll business of Danila bedding a real-life Russian pop princess whose teeny-bop hits he openly holds in contempt. — MM
While more of a conventional revenge movie than the earlier film, this is a highly accomplished genre work, in which the humour takes on both Russian and American obsessions… Sergei Astakhov’s photography contributes compelling shots of the US roadscapes and images of Chicago… The film not only suggests collusion between the criminal world and business but parallels Russian structures with those in the USA – ‘much more powerful’, says Viktor, ‘because that is where the money is’. — Peter Hames, London International Film Festival 2000