(Review originally written at 2 May 2009)

This movie might had been something and original at its time but this movie just isn't exactly my idea of a great or hilarious comedy. It's not like I hated it, I actually still quite enjoyed it but that doesn't prevent this movie from being an overrated one.

Most of the movie its comedy comes from the character looking and talking into the camera and comical sequences that are being played fast-forward, "Benny Hill"-style. It just doesn't work out as being THAT funny. The movie of course has a couple of nice moments but overall the comedy is really lacking, which is a disappointing aspect of the movie.

The story however is quite original, at least for its time it was. It involves time traveling and mistaken identities, when Ivan The Terrible find himself in 'modern' Russia, while another man from the modern Russia and Czar Ivan look-alike takes over his place in return, in the 16th century. This concept of course provides the movie with plenty of comical situations but still I feel that this movie didn't exploited all of its potential. The movie and its comedy mostly remain very simplistic and therefore also somewhat predictable.

Aside from its horrible bleak '70's Moscow look, this movie is a quite good looking one, with professional looking sets and costumes. No doubt that this was quite a cheap movie to make but for most of the time this doesn't show on screen.

Directing-wise the movie is quite flawed, as some of the sequences don't flow in well with each other and the movie features some little mistakes, such as a boom-mike hanging in frame. Leonid Gaidai was a director who felled comfortable within the comedy genre and worked with a lot of famous Soviet comedians during his career. This movie is perhaps his best known- and most popular one.

The actors also didn't convinced much within this movie but luckily saying your lines convincingly isn't the most needed required for a comical movie.

Nothing too horrible but also far from the best that the genre has to offer.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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