Monsoon-A-Day ‘Red Mob’ (1993)

Welcome to Monsoon-a-day.

Where I watch and review a movie a day. Or whenever I fucking feel like it.

Day 94

 

I believe it was Carlos Mencia who said “America is a giant game of tag, someone is always it.” I say believe because although I’ve heard him say it, I highly doubt he said it first, if you catch my drift. Because of the joke thievery. Regardless of whether he said it first or not, it’s right on the money. America is in the enemy making business and for awhile, there was no bigger bad guy than Russia.

After nazis but before zombies, Russian terrorists were the villain du jour for most of the 80’s and early 90’s. It’s a unwritten rule of action films that the more people the main character kills, the more badass he’ll seem but you can’t have the audience thinking he’s a psychopath. Action films today sidestep any political controversy by having their heroes fight hordes of flying space bugs or robots but the 80’s was a decade built on cocaine and not giving a fuck.

If you were an actor working during that decade that wasn’t American and you didn’t look French, you were given a striped shirt and a AK-47. Because as long as the villains are over the top caricatures, audience members won’t see them as people. A bad guy wearing a turban and brandishing a rocket launcher is no different than a ninja throwing shurikens. It’s all just stereotypes.

They’ll accept anyone or anything as a bad guy as long as the hero was a warm blooded American. Which is ironic considering most of the major action stars of the era were all played by foreign actors. I believe they were immediately accepted because they never made any films where they fought an enemy from their homeland.

Schwarzenegger never had to fight a single Austrian and I don’t even know where the fuck Van Damme is from but I know for a goddamn fact that he’s the only person that’s ever come out of that country. The films would almost bend themselves in half trying to explain away their accents because the hero has to at least appear to be American.

Red Mob strips away that artifice by having everyone in the film be over the top caricatures. It’s impossible to accuse the film of including slightly racist Russian archetypes when everyone in the cast is not only Russian but written as over the top as humanly possible.

To boil down the films overly convoluted plot down to the essential beats would be: the Russian mob wants an Afghan War veteran to lead a a drug smuggling caravan through the desert and when he refuses, they kidnap his friends son. So the veteran and the father have to team up to rescue the boy and kill everyone else in the process.

The first half of this film is nothing but cutting back and forth between the A plot and the B plot. The A plot is easy to follow. Oleg and his son are vacationing at a survival camp together. The son hates it and Oleg doesn’t care. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. The B plot however, is anything but easy to follow. It’s nothing but long ass sequences involving Russian bad guy politics and the occasional explosion. It’s boring as hell.

It’s not till they capture Oleg’s son that you realize what this film is. It’s trying desperately to be Cliffhanger in the desert. Replace the snowy peaks with sandy hills and it’s the same film.

For about five minutes.

They go out of there way to build up this caravan storyline and then they discard it immediately the moment someone mentioned to the director that there this movie called Commando and that it rocks ass.

So then the film becomes Commando. In the desert. With less squibs and more explosions. Seriously, they must have spent 90% of the films budget on explosives. If you see a vehicle in this film, chances are, it’s going to blow up at some point. And that’s including multiple helicopters.

Red Mob may not be the greatest action film in existence but it at least tried to counter balance the ridiculously stereotypical cliches of the time by having the main characters be played by Russians based on American action stars that come from Austria.

Oh and Carlos Mencia is a joke thief. I don’t think I mentioned that earlier.

 

  • Sailor Monsoon

    That was literally the only clip i could find.
    Which does not do the film justice.

  • Lol great review. That action scene made me laugh, also. I was waiting for the vehicles to blow up in that clip!

  • Sailor Monsoon

    I actually bought this on blu ray, so i had subtitles.
    I still couldn’t understand what the fuck was happening but they were at least there.
    I believe it was shot in Russia but all deserts look the same to me.
    This might be the most obscure film I’ve reviewed so far.
    Even the magic lizard had a trailer and a Wikipedia page

  • William Dhalgren

    LOL

  • Sailor Monsoon

    Fake news

  • Poppity 🎀

    “He’s hairy … like animal!!”

  • Poppity 🎀

    I’m happy for you, Sailor, because you didn’t need dubbing or translated subtitles for this one. It must have felt like home. 😉

    This film looks like it had zero budget. Look at that poor guy’s sandals for goodness sake. It is striking to see how much the landscape resembles the SoCal desert. Any idea where this was filmed?

  • William Dhalgren

    ложный

  • Sailor Monsoon

    This film is a billion times better than Red Scorpion

  • William Dhalgren

    Is the film trying to play against cliche or is it just emulating 80s American action cinema? The way Russian pop culture has gone since the curtain fell, I have a feeling it might be the former.

    I think I’ll just watch Red Scorpion – an American film (that totally isn’t propaganda) where a Swede plays a stereotypical Russian soldier who falls out of favor with his commanding officers after failing to assassinate an anti-commie African rebel leader, sees the error of his commie ways, and switches sides to lead an attack on the evil Russkies who are defeated and driven out of Africa. Because commies are evil.