on December 12, 2009
I felt that the 9th Company was a very good film and it portrays a none western view of the Soviet Afghan War. The film follows the service of several Soviet VDV(Airborne)troopers from their enlistment up to the end of the films final battle.The film covers events in 1987-88 which was during the final stages of the Soviet Afghan War. The first half of the movie focus on the at times very brutal training that the VDV troopers go through the instructor Warrant Officer Dygalo often resorts to brutal punishment of the men for making mistakes and the actor portraying Dygalo has an outstanding scene where he goes into a rage at the men when he learns that he will not be allowed to return to Afghanistan.Another very interesting scene is at the end of the basic training a VDV commander asks the men if any of them wish not to serve in Afghanistan that they should step forward and they will be assigned elsewhere this scene is notable as many westerners may not know that serving in Afghanistan was voluntary and every Soviet solider asked to serve there.
There are several good scenes when the new troopers arrive in Afghanistan and met the much more experienced men in the unit the 9th company which they have been assigned to.The rest of the movie develops well and you see how the young fresh naive men come to see the chaos of warfare.The battle scenes are very confusing and violent and you rarely see much of the enemy for very long which does a great job keeping you on the edge of your set and feeling out of control of what is happening.
The last 20 or so minutes of the film is the climatic final battle which occurs in early January 1988 and lasts almost three days.The film does take some creative license in this part and portrays the unit as having been forgotten about and not receiving any fire support until the last day.In reality the real 9th Company was not forgotten and had full fire support during the battle.Though the battle and situation shown in the film is a bit different than fact I feel that the director did this to portray the general feelings of the men who severed in the war that they where forgotten and whats worse the nation and ideas that these men where fighting for the Soviet Union no longer existed just a few short years after the Soviets left Afghanistan. Overall a very good film and beyond a doubt far better than any western film about the Soviet Afghan War such as Charlie Wilson's War which is highly idealized far more so than the 9th Company is.
on September 9, 2010
I liked this movie and there are other reviews of the story so I will confine my comments to the English track on the bluray version:
I tried to listen to the English version on the bluray and gave up after about 10 minutes. The English voice actors sound like they are sitting in a pub, reading each line between swigs of beer without any emphasis or inflection that would indicate that they are even aware of the context of that line in the movie. Only slightly better than the dubbing for Bruce Lee's movies, where a single voice actor played all characters.
Fortunately, you can listen to the Russian track and turn on the subtitles.
on September 9, 2010
It seems like yesterday when Russia invaded Afghanistan, with the so-called mission of "fulfilling our international duty, by assisting the brotherly people of Afghanistan in repulsing imperialist aggression." Well, we already know that this enterprise was a failure, and "9th Company" is a film that we really need in current times, when history seems to be forgotten very, very fast and repeated in an incredibly stupid manner. It is brutal and honest, a truly penetrating and unforgettable film.
The movie begins in 1988, when a group of Siberians which volunteered to join the army and fight in Afghanistan are about to depart for boot camp. We meet the young men whose life we will follow throughout the film. From Siberia they are transported to Ferghana, Uzbekistan, where they will spend three months of training before going to the front. The men in charge of breaking them in is drill sergeant Dygalo (Mikhail Porechenkov, in a superb performance) and Captain Bystov (Aleksey Kravchenko, in another amazing performance), who informs them that "the most important thing to remember is that Islam is not just another religion. It is another world, with its own laws, a different view of life and death. A true Muslim is not afraid to die in battle - killing an infidel is a heroic deed, a stairway to heaven." And off they go to Baghram, Afghanistan, where they are divided into two companies: 4th and 9th. As the name of the picture implies, we follow the 9th Company until the very end, and gradually witness their evolution in the war. This was one of the last companies to leave Afghanistan during the Russian final withdrawal on February 9, 1989, after almost ten years of engagement.
Under the direction of Fyodor Bondarchuk, this film has a lot in common with Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket (1987), in which its two hours are basically divided into two parts. The first hour is about the training and the second one is about the actual war. However, "9th Company" feels more real and visceral - with some very funny moments, too --, and we get a clear picture of why the Russians could not defeat the Mujahideen resistance. Not in vain, Captain Bystov also told his men: "In the entire history, no one ever managed to conquer Afghanistan. No one... Never..." Funny enough, the line that keeps popping up all along the movie is, "Your motherland won't forget this." This film was based on real events which took place on January 8, 1989, on Height 3234, in the Khost Province, Afghanistan. Perhaps our men in Washington could leave the comfort in their lives and take a look at this movie. The Blu-Ray edition of the movie includes trailers and English language and subtitles. (Finland, Russia, Ukraine; 2005; color; 140 min plus additional materials).
Reviewed exclusively by Eric Gonzalez for [...] on September 9, 2010.
on February 6, 2011
This was an excellent war movie and should be on every war buff's collector's list. There is no pollitical message, no hidden love story, and best of all: no fake looking CGI crap that seems to be puked out of every high budget movie nowadays. The only way that this movie is flawed, is the Russian to English subtitle translation. Some of the humor and subtleties are lost unless you can speak or are familliar with the language. Otherwise this is a great war movie about the Soviet/Afghan war. It is unbiased and shows you the war from the Soviet soldier's perspective.
on January 25, 2011
I don't know guys...it looked pretty damn authentic to me, but I'll defer to combat vets on that.
OK. This movie has been made many times before and will be made many times again. Green recruits, tough drill sarge, scared kids, hardened vets, horrible battle, band of brothers. It's an old formula. So what? So is war itself. Nonetheless this movie is of particular relevance; for all you and I know right now there's a company of our guys dug in the old Russian camp on that ridge fighting off another onslaught. Someday when this is over, maybe we'll make our own Afghanistan movie. Until then 9th Company is our story too.
Well, hopefully the aftermath won't be our story as well, but that's just one of the many things this movie gives us to ponder. And, yeah, I ended up rooting for the Russians. Sue me.
The only reason I can't give it 5-stars is because there are inherent language and cultural barriers for a non-Russian. The subtitles sounded stiff in places. The names were hard to remember. A short piece in the "extras" menu that gave an brief overview of the military situation for the Russians would have been helpful.
on October 10, 2013
To begin with, go read a book about this battle. If you're too lazy, go to Wikipedia. Six out of thirty-nine of the Soviet paratroopers died. Despite the comparatively low fatalities, twenty-eight were wounded. This was an intense battle that spanned eleven assaults. This was a battle where radio communication was kept throughout the entirety of the battle, artillery was called in, and hope was present. The Soviet paratroopers fought daunting numbers with superior discipline, good ol' piss and vigor, and the advantage of Soviet artillery. These paratroopers beat the odds... Unfortunately, this movie uses every major movie war cliche, laughable military tactics, and distorted history to turn this heroic conflict into buttery, salty popcorn. All fluff and seasoning, no substance. If you have any knowledge of military tactics or even basic common sense, this movie will frustrate you.
Spoiler alert/warning: When an assaulting force walks across a football field sized area in a leisurely pace, AK-47's and artillery would in reality dismember, disembowel, and destroy them in a matter of half a minute. Still, these strolling Mujahideen over-run disciplined Soviet paratroopers... Yeah right. As much as this movie made Soviet paratroopers look like undisciplined buffoons, they also in no way accurately portrayed the terror and effectiveness of guerrilla warfare.
Watching this movie will leave you mildly entertained and massively disappointed, having gained little to no historical understanding of the events. There will be no deep thoughts provoked. You will have wasted two hours of your life. Sound good? Go right on ahead and watch it. After watching the beautiful realism of "Stalingrad," this movie proves that the Russians are just as capable of botching history with terrible B movies.
on November 14, 2011
For myself, writing movie reviews are few and far between. I must say that as an Iraq Veteran in the infantry, I came upon this movie and was AMAZED at how well every aspect was filmed. For a non-American/non-Hollywood movie they did what foreign movies do all too well: Make up for it in every OTHER way. The actors are incredible at capturing the emotion of the film, the combat scenes and aftermath tear at you and fully capture the TERROR and gripping fear of a uniformed military superpower fighting insurgent warfare. Even though Russians and Americans have always been on shaky terms, you can't help but feel sorry for their young men. They are a mirror reflection of us 20+ yrs ago, they were THE military superpower at that time and they STILL turned tail, which was a very smart move but too late. Hats off to the men of the 9th...
on May 28, 2011
The film is loosely based on the 9th Company/345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment. After training, arrival in Afghanistan, etc. they are assigned the mission to hold Hill 3234 during Operation Magistral, largest effort of the Soviet Afghan War. This is a Russian film, and American audiences often have trouble with them. What helped me is the historical importance of the fight for Hill 3234, which I have been to (a plaque is now there for 9th Company), a longterm interest in the Soviet Airborne Forces and Spetsnaz, and having some close Ukrainian friends - all of them former VDV or Spetz - who love this film.
I don't care in the least that the lip sync is not great, or that the plot is a little sappy from time to time, or that no one from the Hollywood A list is in it. To me it's worth the price.
on February 27, 2011
Not going to go in depth for a movie review here, just please watch it from beginning to end yourself. Take it with a grain of salt though, the voice-overs aren't the greatest for such a film. I would have preferred subtitles instead. You really don't get the full taste of the characters when all you hear is voice-overs. That being said the imagery of the movie is pretty good, as well as the scenery and combat/action footage. Almost all of which is real explosions that they used in the making of this film.
Now for the "realistic" portrayal of the "9th Company" which in fact was a real company that did fight in Afghanistan. It shows an accurate portrayal of Soviet military training during that time, most of this film is on spot in terms of historical accuracy, EXCEPT. The most glaring falsified part of this film is the final battle on the hill, which did take place in real life. But the extent to which this movie portrays it is vastly over-exaggerated. 9th Company did take some casualties, but it was never like how this movie makes it seem... Otherwise I would have given this movie a rating of 5 stars, but I'm pretty big on historical accuracy. Even with the crummy voice overs which I can deal with, but misrepresentation of historical facts is something I dislike. So all in all, 4 out of 5 from me.
on November 24, 2012
History unfortunately tends to repeat itself, and so, we find ourselves in Afghanistan. The movie basically follows a bunch of Soviet airborne volunteers from boot camp to their all out fight for their lives on a hilltop that is about to be over-run by the mujhadeen.The movie uses for the most part all authentic Soviet era equipment e.g. Hind attack choppers, BMPs, rpgs, Ak-47s (might be later successor), etc. As for historical accuracy, it is somewhat off- the firefight wasn't just part of one day.... it was actually closer to 2 days involving about 48 airborne troopers of which about half were killed, and the rest quite badly wounded. They also in reality had Hind gunship support for the two days- not just at the end of the firefight. The Soviet colonel did make a faux statement about Afghanistan never being conquered- Genghis Khan did, but of course, he just killed any villagers who got in the way- no illusions of nation building!
What I liked about this movie is that it was made about 2 years after the Soviet Union collapsed, and the movie was quite brutally honest about the Soviet experience there. They spent about 10 years there, and were initially winning in the early days until when we started supplying stingers to the mujhadeen. Our exit from that country hopefully will not replicate our exit from Nam... too much in lives and money has been invested there.