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Category:    Home > Reviews > Biography > Biopic > Drama > Romance > Circus > Russia > The Iron Ivan (2014/VMI/Synergetic/MVD DVD)

The Iron Ivan (2014/VMI/Synergetic/MVD DVD)

Picture: C Sound: B- Extras: D Film: B

Nicely shot and produced, the 2014 Russian sports film Iron Ivan (also known as Poddubnyy) is a biopic telling the story of a wrestling champion named Ivan Poddubnyy (Mikhail Porechenkov). Getting his start as a laborer and in a circus, wrestling superstardom came for Ivan and soon he was picked as a representative for the country in the world championships. Also a love story, the film is a fun watch and has many fine performances to match its production value.

The film also stars Katerina Shpitsa, Yuri Kolokolnikov, and Vladimir Ilyin. What's most interesting is the '20s time period in which the film takes place and the great attention to costume and set design to sell the feel of the period. This is definitely not an indie film and is very cinematic (a shame it's not in an HD presentation).

Presented in standard definition with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Russian 2.1 Dolby Digital stereo track, the transfer is less than impressive with compressed colors and blocky logos and text that really look bad for some reason. Detail on subjects and background is barely evident and scenes with lots of moving camerawork highly affected. If you're watching this on an older tube television, I'm sure it would look fine, but not so much on this reviewer's HD display (and highly likely yours too). As mentioned, the cinematography is very high budget and cinematic and I think could really benefit from a nicer transfer.

No extras. The only menu options are to play the film with or without subtitles.

If you're a sports fan and are looking for something a bit more offbeat and period set, Iron Ivan may be up your alley.

- James Lockhart



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