Alexander Nevsky stars and directs new thriller ‘Black Rose‘ (alongside some familiar co-stars) as it finally gets a western release…
When a deranged serial killer starts a murder spree in the Russian immigrant community in Los Angeles, the LAPD find themselves powerless to stop the killings… and the lack of trust between them and the immigrant community makes it impossible for them to have run any kind of investigation without help. They get that help in the shape of Moscow Cop Vladimir Kazatov (Alexander Nevsky) who is teamed with the LAPD’s Emily Smith (Kristanna Loken) to help crack the case…
Russia’s premier action hero Alexander Nevsky returns in Black Rose– which blends elements of Black Rain and Red Heat – as Nevsky gets to bring his own brand of justice to the mean streets of LA. Nevsky wears multiple hats on the movie as leading man, producer and director, working from a script by former action hero Brent Huff (9 Deaths of the Ninja, Gwendoline) and George Saunders (Perfect Target). Bryan Goeres, Alexander Izotov, Sheldon Lettich, and Nevsky’s longtime associate Robert Madrid( who also served as second unit director) produced the film.
We’ve come a long way from the pre-Glasnost days of Red Heat when Arnold Schwarzenegger was the butt of James Belushi’s endless jokes as Arnold played the quiet straight man. Nevsky’s Moscow cop is still a tough guy, but he’s somewhat more talkative this time round. (In fact while its great to see Nevsky doing a lot more talking this time… it could have done with a bit more action!) Although I would like to see Nevsky getting to play a lighter role at some point, he has a charisma that hasn’t really been showcased yet – the films have shown glimpses of it but there’s a lot more to the man than the movies have shown. Nevsky has the ‘look’ and the presence, and each movie sees him progressing as both an actor and a film-maker and here he comes across well in both the action and dramatic beats.
She may still be best known from her debut in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, but Kristanna Loken has come a long way as an actress since then. She’s still a stunning beauty and handles the action and the drama well, and I liked the way her and Nevsky worked together. Former Bond villain turned B-movie journeyman Robert Davi pops up briefly as an LAPD chief while TV’s Highlander Adrian Paul (who had previously worked with Nevsky on Moscow Heat) plays a US detective. Dark Angel and Ultimate Justice star Matthias Hues makes a cool cameo as the leader of a group of bank robbers in an opening sequence in Russia,. It’s always great to see Hues in action but – as with Showdown – u an epic confrontation between Nevsky and Hues unfortunately isn’t played out as well it could be. (They are two man mountains… it could be King Kong Vs Godzilla, two muscular figures smashing each other through their surroundings!)
Black Rose is a dark thriller more than a full-on action movie. It could have benefited from a bit more of the latter both in terms of the potential gunplay and hand to hand combat. That being said, it’s an enjoyable film and Nevsky adds to his IMDB list while waiting for just-the-right project to help him step up to the big leagues. As a first time director, Nevsky keeps the movie going but I just found myself wishing they’d found more for he and the cast to do. When the action does kick in, the direction becomes more solid and Nevsky’s performance also gets stronger: he should play to his strengths more… Arnold delivered the action first to become a legend and built the performances around his strengths.
Black Rose was released in Russia as far back as 2014, but it’s taken until this year to see the film finally hitting the screens in North America – now with a limited theatrical release followed by hitting DVD, VOD, and Netflix from May.
In the near future Nevsky will soon be reunited on screen with Mark Dacascos and Matthias Hues in Maximum Impact, directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, a big budget action thriller with US & Russian forces working together to prevent an international crisis.
In the meantime Black Rose opens in the UK and Ireland on 27th February…