This movie holds a special place for me, if for the simple reason that it included a clip of one of the hockey players doing a nutmeg - not once but at least four times in a row - on an opposing professional player. The guy just kept hitting the puck back and forth between the opponent's legs, non-stop, as he made his move. I've never seen anything like it before, nor will I probably witness that feat again. For that, Red Army is worth the Redbox rental fee. However, as it turns out, it is an outstanding movie.
They are considered the greatest starting five in the history of hockey and they just happened to belong to the Red Army and the Soviet Union. They not only cleaned up on the international scene for years but after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Detroit Red Wings had the foresight to reunite them, even though they were all past their prime, and they brought Detroit a Stanley Cup Victory.
While their game was built on finesse, the behind-the-scenes politics involving the Soviet hierarchy was much more cumbersome. This movie focuses on the team's Captain, Fetisov, who at one point clashed with authorities to his own detriment. However, it is also a look into how the players viewed the world both then and now, with I might add, some surprising results.
The training these players went through makes one cringe. Their personalities help define comradeship. I'm not a hockey fan but one can't help marvel at the level of play these people performed while at the same moment realizing the leadership skills involved. Let's put it this way, in the opening scene, Fetisov - being interviewed just a couple years ago - purposely holds up the questioning, and when the filmmaker tries to restart the questioning, Fetisov simply flips him off. Immediately, you realize, these are no ordinary personalities being explored.
One other feature of this film that I enjoyed. Normally, one doesn't take note of the graphics on more than a subconscious level, but with this movie, the graphic work was top-notch. I had to mention it as it made an impression all on its own.
I can't stress enough what a delight this film was. It captures an important piece of geopolitical history. It also reveals the inside story of the greatest hockey team ever to take to the ice. The fact they belonged to the Red Army only makes the story more intriguing. Hockey fan or no, rent Red Army today. A high 5 of 5 on the rating scale.