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Summary / Analysis
Times of India
‘The Crew 3D’ is the first Russian film to be released in India. Inspired by the 1979 Soviet film ‘Air Crew’, the English dubbed version of ‘Ekipazh’ revolves around a flight crew and their personal lives, as they set off on a dangerous rescue mission.
Being Russia’s highest-grossing film in 2016, ‘The Crew’ comes with great expectations. In an attempt to get the audience invested in its characters, the first half works towards building interpersonal relationships between three pilots. The male leads Danila and Vladmir, have both starred in Hollywood movies and their expertise shows. Danila plays his character Alex McCoy with sincere effervescence as the rookie pilot with a conscience who dares to defy seniority. However, his romance with Agne Grudtye’s Sandra is a damp squib, owing largely to Agne’s wooden and stereotypical turn as a career-driven pilot. Causing friction with Alex, Vladmir plays a steadfast yet weathered senior pilot who prefers to stick to the rulebook. The strained relationship with his wife and precocious son lends some comic relief to an otherwise somber film.
The dynamic between these three provides some emotional footing before the action takes off, though the time taken to get there is long drawn. There’s ample empathy for the lead players, but a host of secondary characters introduced during the catastrophe have an erratic impact on the proceedings; some of them hit home while others fail to register. Although, this is when the film’s ‘blockbuster’ status begins to make sense as it is dedicated to the crew’s rescue mission. Shot in IMAX, the stunt choreography is relentless, albeit unrealistic, though that’s in tune with most Hollywood disaster-action flicks so it’s not entirely indigestible. As the two male leads begin to shine, they create some nail-biting sequences helped along by excellent CGI work.
‘The Crew’ lands somewhat short of hitting the emotional mark as some of the beats are lost in translation (read ‘dubbing’), yet top-notch effects and an uncompromising second half puts it on par with some of the best action-adventure flicks Hollywood has to offer. Hopefully, this signals the infusion of more Russian cinema to Indian screens, something that film aficionados, and even casual moviegoers should look forward to.
Being Russia's highest-grossing film in 2016, The Crew comes with great expectations. In an attempt to get the audience invested in its characters, the first half works towards building interpersonal relationships between three pilots.
The male leads Danila and Vladmir, have both starred in Hollywood movies and their expertise shows. Danila plays his character Alex McCoy with sincere effervescence as the rookie pilot with a conscience who dares to defy seniority. However, his romance with Agne Grudtye's Sandra is a damp squib, owing largely to Agne's wooden and stereotypical turn as a career-driven pilot.
Causing friction with Alex, Vladmir plays a steadfast yet weathered senior pilot who prefers to stick to the rulebook. The strained relationship with his wife and precocious son lends some comic relief to an otherwise somber film.
The dynamic between these three provides some emotional footing before the action takes off, though the time taken to get there is long drawn.
There's ample empathy for the lead players, but a host of secondary characters introduced during the catastrophe have an erratic impact on the proceedings; some of them hit home while others fail to register. Although, this is when the film's 'blockbuster' status begins to make sense as it is dedicated to the crew's rescue mission.
Shot in IMAX, the stunt choreography is relentless, albeit unrealistic, though that's in tune with most Hollywood disaster-action flicks so it's not entirely indigestible. As the two male leads begin to shine, they create some nail-biting sequences helped along by excellent CGI work.
The Crew lands somewhat short of hitting the emotional mark as some of the beats are lost in translation (read 'dubbing'), yet top-notch effects and an uncompromising second half puts it on par with some of the best action-adventure flicks Hollywood has to offer.
Hopefully, this signals the infusion of more Russian cinema to Indian screens, something that film aficionados and even casual moviegoers should look forward to.
The Crew is the first Russian film to be released in India.
This move comes as a result of the pact signed between Indian PM Mr. Narendra Modi and his Russian counterpart Mr. Vladimir Putin.
The film was shot in IMAX 3D and became the second Russian film shot using this equipment.
Alex McCoy is sitting on a cargo trunk in an Air Force commando uniform at an airport hangar. A woman asks him to deliver her cargo as it has gifts and books for orphan children. A general comes in his SUV with two more driving behind him. He asks Alex to load the SUVs, Alex tells the general that they are too heavy, but the general orders him to load them anyway. Itâs a stormy night and the plane faces heavy turbulence in the air. Alex and his crew try to control the plane but they are carrying too much weight. The general asks him to release all the cargo on the plane, other than the SUVs. Alex releases the SUVs instead. Fired for not following instructions, Alex goes to Moscow to ask for his father's help, as he has a good reputation in the aviation industry. His father scolds him as he was expelled from Border security, then the Air Force and now the Air Force transport facility. He then fixes an appointment for Alex in an airline company.
At the academy gate a trainee is arguing with Leonid Zinchenko because he gave a bad assessment to the trainee. Leonid and two other officials take Alex to an aircraft simulator where Leonid asks them to make the simulation tough for Alex, yet he manages to land the aircraft. Leonid then asks them to give him an extremely difficult situation. Alex tries very hard but fails the test. The officials try to convince Leonid that Alex is a good pilot and the condition given to him was impossible; even Leonid wouldnât be able to pass the test. Leonid attempts the simulator under the same conditions but fails as well. At the exit of the academy, Alex finds Sandra kicking a car that someone has parked, blocking hers. Alex steps forward to help Sandra. He drives her car in reverse on to a garden and plucks a flower from there. He gives her the keys and flower and asks her to give him a ride in return. While driving, Alex tells Sandra about his past before getting a call from the academy saying that he has been selected.
On the first day at work, Leonid tells Alex that he must follow his instructions and any violation of the rules would lead to his expulsion. Alex bumps into Sandra dressed in a pilot uniform. He asks her to go to dinner with her to celebrate his first flight but she refuses. Leonid introduces Alex to the flying crew. Alex in excitement, takes off with a steep climb. Andrey, an attendant, tells them that the passengers are complaining about the uncomfortable take-off but Alex makes fun of him and asks him to bring a cup of coffee. After landing, Leonid scolds Alex telling him that heâs flying a passenger aircraft, not soldiers. He also tells him to respect his crew mates.
After dinner at home, Leonid and his wife are washing dishes as he tells her about the cocky new pilot. Leonid suddenly hears a noise from outside the building. Itâs his son Valera who enters the room through the balcony. Mother asks not to enter the house through the balcony as they live on the third floor. Valera doesnât pay any attention and starts exercising. Leonid loses his cool and shouts, but Valera ignores him. At the airport, Leonid encounters a lady he knows and asks her to give tuitions to his son. Meanwhile Alex searches for Sandra who is boarding some other plane. He tries to catch her attention by pulling funny faces, she smiles and leaves.
Days later, Alex and Leonid are flying through foggy weather. Everything appears normal but as they are about to land the plane, Alex realizes thereâs something in the fog and takes control of the wheel, to suddenly steer the aircraft for another go-around. Leonid scolds him for the sudden move. After landing, one of the pilots approaches Leonid, congratulates him and asks him how he did it. When Leonid admits he has no clue what he is talking about, the pilot tells him that a Turkish Boeing was flying straight towards them. Leonid gets amazed by Alexâs skills.
Leonid goes home to find Lenoeka giving English tuitions to Valera. Even while studying heâs doing push-ups. Alex and Sandra are sitting in a restaurant when Alex tells her how he got expelled from the army. As they connect emotionally, he gets up and kisses her. Later in bed, Alex tells her how difficult it is to become a pilot. Sandra replies that it is more difficult to become a female pilot.
On one of their flights to Africa, the crew is informed that only foreign passengers will be allowed to board the flight and domestic passengers would be detained as they are now prisoners of the military. A crowd of foreign passengers rush to the plane to escape being imprisoned. Leonid tells Alex to take off. Alex says it is not right for them to leave the passengers behind, but Leonid tells him itâs not their governmentâs rule, and that they must follow the rules of the country they are in. As they fly away, the remaining passengers run towards the flying plane but get shot by the military.
Alex meets Sandra over dinner and starts telling her about the incident. Sandra tells him he would have stopped the plane if he wanted to help. They argue and leave on a bad note. The next day, Alex and Leonid are waiting for a VIP passenger. As soon as the VIP settles down, he demands alcohol. Later he starts smoking a cigarette, Andrey asks him not to but the VIPâs assistant breaks his nose. Alex intervenes and the three of them end up fighting. Leonid reaches home and finds his son and the tutor in a compromising position, as he reaches his witsâ end with his son. Alex waits at the airport to meet Sandra. He tells her that he is sorry about what happened between her but she walks away saying that she is too mature for him.
Leonid is at the airport when he is stopped by the airline director who asks him to fire Alex for his behaviour but he refuses saying that he has never seen someone fly a plane like him. The director leaves thinking that thereâs no point in arguing with him. Leonid discovers that some businessmen have charted a plane, and his crew have been assigned to a one monthâs contract of flying that aircraft. Leonid decides to take his son on the tour. Leonid and Alex are sitting in the cockpit when Sandra enters. Leonid asks Alex to leave the pilot seat for her, as she is the co-pilot.
The plane is heading towards Kanwoo island when Leonid gets information from the control centre that the island has had an earthquake and they need to rescue people stuck there. They proceed towards the runway of the airport, Alex proposes to take the control of the plane for the landing as it is very windy and foggy, but Leonid refuses and asks Sandra to land the plane as she has more experience. Sandra lands the plane normally.
The situation on the island is far worse than expected. Viktor, a pilot at Kanwoo airport updates the crew on the status. Leonid immediately asks his crew to check the condition of the people at the airport and to rescue them. Alex goes to the control tower, when another powerful earthquake hits the island causing more destruction. Leonid orders his crew to take everyone aboard their plane, but a woman starts crying that her children and sister are stuck in the mountains and asks them for their help. Leonid refuses because it is too risky but Alex agrees to go looking for them. Valera and Andrey also join him in the rescue.
As they reach this location, a volcano erupts spewing lava. A lady is shouting for help; Alex runs towards her when she tells him that a little boy is stuck inside the van. Valera quickly climbs inside the van and rescues the boy. They all take off in their cars but Andreyâs car gets stuck in the molten lava. Alex asks all passengers to leave his car and smashes it into Andrey's car to make a bridge, as all passengers are rescued. Their road gets completely engulfed in lava, so theyâre forced to take a longer route to the airport.
At the airport, the longer runaway gets destroyed completely by debris and falling rock, so Leonid and Viktor decide to take a cargo plane and try to take off on a shorter runway. As the volcano eruptions continue, the lava flows towards the airport, making it increasingly difficult for them to stay longer. Fearing the worst for Alex and Valera, Leonid asks the crew to start boarding the passengers into the cargo plane.
Alex and the others reach the airport only to find Leonid and team have left. Alex is worried about the lava all over the runway. He asks everyone to board the remaining plane. He starts the plane and stops it at the runway, taking a close look at a water tank. When the lava melts the stand of the tank, it will spill the water over the lava giving them a few moments to take off. As soon as the tank collapses, Alex takes off, but one of the engine catches fire. He turns it off, but the second engine catches fire. This time instead of switching it off, he waits for the engine to cool down by itself.
Alexâs father gets a call and he runs to the control tower where all the officials are sitting together. Leonid updates the control room; their fuel tank is leaking fast and theyâll soon be out of fuel. Alex hears Leonidâs voice, and they both are happy that the other is alive. Valera tells Alex that during a similar situation, acrobats were transferred mid-air from one plane to the other and that this could be one way to rescue the passengers on the other plane. Alex shares this information with the control room but they refuse saying itâs too risky. Alex says this decision should be taken by the passengers on the plane, and asks them to vote by raising their hands. Everyone aboard the plane votes in favour. Andrey tries to open the main door of the plane but they are not able to, Alex asks the officials in the tower how to open the door. Alexâs father tells them about a door through the cargo bay that they can use.
Alex asks Leonid to start the evacuation. The passengers from Leonidâs plane send a metal hook attached to a cable which Andrey grabs and ties a knot to one of the seats. The first set of passengers slowly begins to move from one plane to the other in mid-air. They manage to reach across safely, to everyoneâs happiness. However, during the second transfer, one of the wires breaks and few passengers fall. Everyone is shaken up, but now only the crew is left. Leonid looks at the fuel tank which is almost empty; Viktor begin to climb as Leonidâs plane starts to fall. Leonid somehow manages to reach the plane but with a few injuries. Viktor doesnât make it. Sandra, Leonid and Alex are reunited.
Alex asks the control room to prepare the runway as they prepare to land the plane. Alex is nervous; his hands are shaking as there are too many lives on the plane. Leonid tells him to believe in himself and that he managed to land the plane during his assessment. During touchdown, one of the landing gears gets stuck, but Alex somehow manages to land. Everyone gets off the plane cheering, happy to be alive.
Leonidâs wife wakes up at home, amazed too see both father and son eating breakfast together happily. Alex waits for his father in front of his house; his father comes and sits beside him in silence. Alex, Sandra and Leonid are informed that despite their courage and exceptional performance, the company must fire them because of their violation of the rules. However, they get reassigned to basic training. The movie ends with an instructor taking attendance, as Alex and Leonid begin climbing ropes during their training.