Posts Tagged ‘Red Army’


Viacheslav Fetisov (center) and teammates bring the Stanley Cup to Moscow

“RED ARMY”  My rating: B 

76 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

You needn’t be a hockey fan or even a sports enthusiast to appreciate “Red Army,” Gabe Polsky’s documentary about the heyday of Soviet ice hockey.

It’s got plenty of hockey action, sure, but it’s also about history, politics, the Cold War, and a whole lot of other stuff.

From the 1970s until the fall of the Soviet Union in the late ’80s, a winning national hockey team — run by the Red Army — was viewed as proof to the world not only of the USSR’s athletic excellence but also of the irrefutable superiority of the Soviet system.

This doc gives a fine overview, from the days when head coach Anatoli Tarasov designed the system, studying the training programs of the Bolshoi Ballet and Soviet chess masters to create an intricate passing game in which a collective approach trumped individual ego, in which teamwork was paramount.

Indeed, watching footage of Tarasov’s squad in action is like witnessing some high speed modern dance of astounding grace and sublime coordination.

Tarasov was beloved of his players, a fat, grandfatherly figure to pre-teen boys who joined the team after national tryouts and thereafter pretty much lived and breathed hockey.

Unfortunately, Tarasov ran afoul of the leadership and was replaced by Viktor Tikhonov, a KGB operative who took Tarasov’s design and ran with it, in the process turning the Red Army team into a sort of gulag.


Read Full Post »