Whilst most people in the West might not be aware of it, over the past couple of decades Russian cinema has set its sights on rivalling Hollywood. This has resulted in a number of blockbusters, which are often heavy on the CGI and light on the writing. However, the likes of Stalingrad, Viy, Day Watch, Viking and Night Watch have all struck gold in the domestic box office, with Timur Bekmambetov’s films in particular travelling well. We’re beginning to see more make their way into the UK. The latest is The Blackout: Invasion Earth.
When the end of civilisation finally comes, it’s not a nuclear war, environmental catastrophe or an asteroid. ‘The Blackout’, an unexplained phenomenon, wiped out power across the entire globe, apart from a small section of Eastern Europe. Communications between cities and countries are severed. When the military goes to investigate, they find streets and buildings littered with corpses. An elite squadron of troops ventures into no man’s land to investigate.
The strength of The Blackout: Invasion Earth is its determination to avoid cliché and not to merely follow well-worn paths. Indeed, Egor Baranov’s film keeps you guessing until the very end. Constantly defying expectations and taking the plot in unusual and unexpected directions. However, its ambition is not always matched by the execution, but this doesn’t detract from the entertainment value. The Blackout: Invasion Earth is a fascinating and innovative sci-fi.