Major Grom: Plague Doctor Parent Guide
It tries to be a gritty, crime-focused superhero thriller but winds up just being long and tedious. Very, very long.
Parent Movie Review
Saint Petersburg has a new problem. A maniac calling himself the “Plague Doctor” has taken to kidnapping and murdering members of the local wealthy elite with flamethrowers, drawing attention to the flagrant crimes of the Russian oligarchy in the process. Public opinion is divided on whether or not the costumed vigilante is a crime-fighter speaking truth to power or just another homicidal lunatic with body armor. For police Major Igor Grom (Tikhon Zhiznevsky), the answer is simple: The man is a killer and must be brought to justice. But Grom has a mixed record, and his boss, Colonel General Fedor Prokopenko (Aleksei Maklakov) has saddled him with a partner to try and get him under control, new recruit Dmitry Dubin (Aleksander Seteykin). Not that Grom is going to let some tag-along trainee get in the way of his investigation…
I was just getting ready to write this review and be done with this movie. Unfortunately, I decided to check the remaining runtime and discovered to my horror that I was only half an hour in to a two-and-a-quarter hour movie. Now, instead of giving in to my initial temptation to smash my laptop and find work that didn’t involve watching this, I sat through it. For you. You’re welcome.
Now, I’m not sure if my lack of appreciation for Major Grom is based in cultural differences. It’s definitely happened before. Some films have a very localized sensibility that, for whatever reason, doesn’t translate that well between cultures. I’m willing to admit that this may be the case here. If you’re Russian, this might be the Citizen Kane of comic book adaptations. If so, please tell me what I missed.
Major Grom is trying, as near as I can tell, to be one of those gritty, crime-focused superhero thrillers. It could also be a comedy, which I do wonder about since it sticks to bad tropes like the smell of tuna in an office microwave. Since the film is neither thrilling nor comedic, however, I’m left with the assumption that the best way to describe this particular offering is as a mistake.
If that was not enough to deter you from watching this, I’m not sure any amount of negative content is going to change your mind. If you’re curious, however, I can tell you that this is pretty much Marvel standard for violence, sex, profanity, and drinking. The violence is a little bit more intense, since it tends to involve hostage executions and one scene of animal abuse, but the main body of the film is just the usual punching and explosions. You can get your comic thriller fix in so many other films – and not have to read subtitles into the bargain. Trust me on this one. You’ll be begging for the flamethrower by the time you’re halfway in.Directed by Oleg Trofim. Starring Tikhon Zhiznevskiy, Alexander Seteykin, Lyubov Askyonova. Running time: 136 minutes. Theatrical release July 7, 2021. Updated July 7, 2021
Watch the trailer for Major Grom: Plague Doctor
Major Grom: Plague Doctor
Rating & Content Info
Why is Major Grom: Plague Doctor rated TV-14? Major Grom: Plague Doctor is rated TV-14 by the MPAA
Violence: People are shot, beaten, burned, and blown up. A man is knocked out in a training fight. Children are shown chasing and abusing a dog.
Sexual Content: There are a few incidents of mild sexual language. There is a scene depicting what appears to be attempted sexual assault, although this turns out to be staged.
Profanity: There are 13 uses of scatological profanity and occasional uses of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco.
Page last updated July 7, 2021
Major Grom: Plague Doctor Parents' Guide
What is this film trying to say about Russia? What messages come across? Are these messages supportive of the status quo? What kinds of influences does the Russian government have on film production?
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This is remarkably similar to the (also bad) Spanish comic book/crime thriller Unknown Origins. Other crime-focused superhero films include Joker, Punisher, The Dark Knight, and the inexpressibly terrible Split. Other Russian films we’ve reviewed include horror flick Sputnik and kids’ sci-fi action flick Cosmoball.