Black Lightning – flying justice comes to Russia

“Black Lightning” – the latest film to hit the big screen in Moscow – has been dubbed Russia’s answer to Batman and Transformers. Some also see it as the beginning for the revival of the Russian film industry.

The film revolves around a Moscow University student who discovers that his trusty Volga saloon is a lot more than it seems. Flying over Moscow, the student and his car become Black Lightning.

The film is producted by film maker Timur Bekmambetov – known in the West for directing the film “Wanted”, starring Angelina Jolie. And it seems with “Black Lightning”, he is trying to bring a bit of Hollywood back to Russia.

Dmitry Tokoyakov from the movie team says they used about 700 visual effects, which is a record number for Russia.

“We have set a few records with this production,” he added. “Most of the visual effects were done in only four months.”

It might have topped the scales in effects, but the film was made on a tight budget of $8 million.

“This movie is on level of Hollywood,” says co-director Dmitry Kiselev. “It is [our] first try in [the] genre and it’s a start and the followers will come.”

The team behind “Black Lightning” are also hoping the film can revive the Russian film industry. The number of feature films produced in 2009 fell by more than 50 per cent, from just over a hundred in 2008 to just 40, largely because of the economic downturn. Some film critics are skeptical of “Black Lightning’s” attempt to bring Hollywood to Russia, but others are optimistic.

“Bekmambetov has applied the best practices of the Hollywood film-making industry to make this movie in Russia. The film has been purchased for international distribution and there are plans to show it not only in Russia, but also in Eastern European countries and maybe elsewhere too,” says Aleksandr Golubchikov, chief editor of the on-line magazine Filmz.ru.

So with the release date in time for the New Year holidays, the Russian film industry will be hoping for a flying start to 2010.

Check out the review on Black Lightning in RT’s blogs.