Looking for a movie review of the Hollywood biopic about the AK-47 Kalashnikov? Look no further – our review will tell you everything you need to know!
Hollywood has produced countless biopics on famous singers, politicians, activists, and innovators. However, examples from the second group involving gunmakers are, to put it mildly, scarce. In reality, there haven’t been many biographies of American gunmakers outside the 1952 film Carbine Williams, which starred Jimmy Stewart as the bootlegger/murderer turned gun inventor.
The only major biography of a gun manufacturer in the United States is the one about Samuel Colt that aired on the American Genius series on the National Geographic Channel. Although the History Channel has aired numerous films about American inventors and corporate moguls, nearly none have focused on the men responsible for creating the firearms that helped civilize the West and ultimately led to our foes’ defeat.
While we wait (probably in vain) for biopics about gun pioneers like John Browning, John Thompson, John Garand, and Eugene Stoner, Russian filmmakers released a feature-length film on AK-47 designer Mikhail Kalashnikov last year. Finally, The AK-47 Kalashnikov has come.
The film, aptly titled Kalashnikov and released this year in the United States as AK-47 Kalashnikov, provides a concise snapshot of how the uneducated Russian peasant created the most infamous firearm in history while recovering from injuries he sustained as a tank driver during World War II. Even yet, the movie falls short of a full biopic. Little is revealed about the man beyond the fact that he was a tinkerer when he was younger (as depicted in flashbacks). It’s more like a propaganda film about the history of the Kalashnikov instead.
Creating the AK-47 Kalashnikov
This film is pretty much the numbers retelling of the “official story” of Mikhail Kalashnikov, which is that he had little formal training, dropped out of school at a young age, was drafted into the Red Army, and was injured in the Battle of Bryansk, which led to the attention of Soviet officials and the development of a crude submachine gun.
Mainly, the video follows him as he works on the genesis of the AK-47 during his tenure at the Red Army’s Central Scientific-Developmental Firing Range for Rifle Firearms under the Chief Artillery Directorate. The AK-47 Kalashnikov film is not as complex as many American biopics, and its protagonist doesn’t face any significant obstacles.
This movie is the official version of events, and it is not meant as a criticism. As a result, perhaps that’s the film’s worst flaw.
The video suggests that Kalashnikov didn’t have all that much to overcome, despite growing up in the Soviet Union, where one wrong move could mean death. There is never a time when the NKVD or his superiors pose a real threat to him. Even if his early work wasn’t very ground-breaking, the state saw that he was headed for greatness.
If there is one, the problem is that the story doesn’t offer anything new or different beyond the commonly held belief that a recuperating unskilled peasant created a remarkable weapon. The film does a tremendous job of humanizing Mikhail Kalashnikov by showing how he met the love of his life during the war and even included some of her contributions along with those of Alexandr Zaitsev. Still, it also ignores the role that Hugo Schmeisser, the German inventor of the StG44, played in developing the AK47.
An alternative Russian submachine gun design, Mikhail Kalashnikov’s PPK, improved upon earlier efforts. The PPS-43, designed by Alexey Ivanovich Sudayev, was instead adopted by the Red Army.
The movie also ignores that Schmeisser was forced to work for the Soviets for seven years and that the USSR got technical information from Nazi Germany on the invention of the AK-47. Not highlighted at all is the fact that the designs share many similarities. The film portrays the AK-47 as innovative, yet most experts in the field of weapons history would argue that it actually represents a more evolutionary design.
Furthermore, the video doesn’t seem to question how an uneducated, illiterate person could study manuals while healing, which is odd given that the NKVD (the KGB’s predecessor) was known to arrest people for far less. In recent years, this topic has been called into question, and the genuine Mikhail Kalashnikov revealed hints that the official story wasn’t quite so precise even in his old age.
Naturally, the picture is faithful to the myth in every detail. However, many biographies make significant changes to the truth. Those curious about the AK-47’s past will likely find the result to be an enjoyable read.
Problematically, this book focuses more on the history of the weapon than the guy. The fact that Kalashnikov was a hero of the Soviet Union and yet was relegated to a meager lifestyle for most of his life belies belief. We don’t see him working hard to improve his designs or reaping the rewards of his invention until much later in life. Uninformed people would have assumed he had just manufactured one famous rifle and vanished.
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The AK-47 Kalashnikov film’s strength is in its meticulous attention to detail. Russian filmmakers have lifted the bar regarding depicting authentic weapons and costumes in modern war movies. This writer was a collector and researcher on the topic.
Thus he had a unique perspective and was astonished by how accurate the outfits were. The uniforms, small guns, tanks, and other vehicles were all meticulously accurate down to the smallest detail. Russia took tremendous pains to acquire several wartime T-34s for use in films.
Though it’s not a war movie—at least not in the traditional sense—the few instances of fighting are stunning to look at.
Since the video is about the evolution of Soviet weapons like the PPS-43 and SKS, it’s great to watch them in their infancy of manufacture alongside the AK-47. It is fascinating to observe the development of Soviet small guns during and immediately following World War II, even though the scenario plays too close to the myth.
Which AK-47 Kalashnikov Movie Version to Watch?
The AK-47 Kalashnikov film has been officially released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States, and it can also be rented or purchased through Amazon Video. Getting your hands on a foreign film these days isn’t very difficult. Unfortunately, this worldwide release is only accessible with a dubbed audio track, although it maintains the same length and has no extra or deleted scenes.
Subtitle haters may not perceive this as a problem.
The dubbing, however, is unlistenable. The dialogue is so lifeless and unconvincing that the film is challenging to sit through even when it syncs with the performers’ lips. It also drowns out the rest of the soundtrack, ruining the experience. More aggravating is the fact that the dialogue appears to have been altered, at least based on the original Russian version that isn’t included in the international DVD/Blu-ray release.
You can watch this movie also on: Showtime
Thankfully, a Russian-language version with English subtitles may be purchased online. The problem is that your DVD or Blu-ray player might not be compatible with the region coding used on some of these versions. Aside from that, all other versions, including the one this reporter has, are region-free and may be played on any DVD player or computer drive. However, the chapters kept freezing up on the first copy I bought, but subsequent copies worked adequately. It’s essential to bring this up, although most viewers shouldn’t have any playback problems.
The reporter who likes both movies and history favors those with subtitles. However, this is purely a question of choice. Although the tale isn’t heavily dependent on dialogue, some viewers may find the dubbing satisfactory. However, I found that reading the subtitles added nothing to the experience.
Final Verdict AK-47 Kalashnikov
The AK-47 Kalashnikov movie could be considered a “war flick,” but that label is subjective. While there is action here and there, the movie is essentially about an inventor who is only genuinely well-known among gun fans. The account doesn’t precisely explain what motivated Kalashnikov, but it spreads the idea of the uneducated tinkerer who made the most creative weapon ever in just two hours.