The Russian Five (2018)


“Back when Detroit was truly the Motor City in, you know, the 40’s… We were jammin’ cars out of here. That’s gone. You’re living in a part of the country that everybody thinks is worthless. And the Red Wings have always been a salve for the city of Detroit.” – Jeff Daniels

Number of Times Seen – 1 (10 Nov 2019)

Brief Synopsis – Documentary about how the Detroit Red Wing hockey team built a star team in order to bring back a championship team to the city after more than 40 years.

My Take on it – As a kid growing up in the Detroit area, I was always aware of the competitive nature of the local sports franchises, but not being the biggest fan of sports, I didn’t follow things on a regular basis.

During my teen years, the baseball, basketball and hockey franchises were able to create winning teams and the football franchise came close.

This film does a wonderful job explaining how a new General Manager and a new Owner of the local hockey team The Red Wings were able to go against common thought and find a way to create a winning team while thinking outside of the box.

They took some daring risks and this movie depicts the road of both successes and failures that they traveled based on those decisions.

This movie is able to utilize interviews with key people in the story who even after nearly 30 years explain how each part of the puzzle came together.

In addition, they were also able to use animation to show us scenarios of what happened based on the recollections of these key individuals which gives us a more comprehensive idea of how things played out.

This innovative way that they chose to change the look and feel of the team inadvertently also changed the way people look at the sport and how the game is played now.

They do an excellent job of telling the story as it was and don;t try to hide or sugarcoat any parts of the story since we get to see the good and bad that came of this kind of work.

Bottom Line – Great story about how a General Manager and Owner of a hockey team decided to take risks in order to make a winning team.  The film utilizes both interviews and animation to lay out the whole story of how it al happened.  They were able to get interviews with many of the key people in this story who even after 30 years could help explain how such an innovative way to look at a sports franchise could change the way that the game is played and how people now view the sport.   Liked the way that this film doesn’t try to sugarcoat any of the story and tell things as they were warts and all. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The Russian Five, also known as the Red Army and “The Wizards of Ov”, was a lineup for the Detroit Red Wings during the 1990s. The Russian Five — all hockey legends in their own right in their native Russia — emulated the style of the Soviet Red Army teams that dominated world and Olympic competition during the 1970s, 80s and early 90s with a combination of speed and puck control. (From Wikipedia)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)

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