Sunday 31 May 2009

9th Company

The final movie in my war movie marathon was the Russian film 9th Company, telling the (historically based) story of the 9th Company, 345th Guards Airborne Regiment during the final year of the Russian War in Afghanistan. 9th Company is basically a Russian version of Full Metal Jacket being spilt into two main parts, the conscripts training in the Soviet Union then their service in Afghanistan. Similarities between the two movies are such that the first half is somewhat tedious - I mean how many screaming sergeant majors and troops on long runs and obstacle courses do you want to see?

It is when the film gets to Afghanistan that it really comes into its own, landing at Bagram air base the film moves up a number of notches and is made all the more impressive by the use of large quantities of real Soviet equipment especially the predatory Hinds. The 39 man company's mission is to station themselves on Hill 3234 and protect Soviet convoys, though it must be said with limited success. The final battle as 250 mujahadeen attack rounds things off impressively enough, though the film maker's throw history out of the window by wiping out most of the Soviet garrison for dramatic purposes (in real life 6 were killed and 28 wounded out of the 39).

Overall I enjoyed the second half of the movie a lot. The first half wasn't bad, it was just too familiar. The second half was very impressive if only for the chance to see Hind's in action along with BMP2's and BM-21's. If you have any interest in Soviet forces the movie is a must buy and even if you haven't it is a worthwhile addition to any war film collection.

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